Product: bēm Outlet Speaker
Rating: Weak Recommend*
Oakland rapper Too Short once professed to "get in where you fit in", an appropriate sentiment for bēm Wireless' Outlet Speaker, a juice box sized wireless audio speaker designed to bring music or speakerphone capabilities anywhere there's an outlet to plug into. Under a couch, at your desk, in the kitchen, and anywhere you can find a free outlet to plug in, the speaker joins an ever growing category of secondary portable wireless audio devices aiming to complement smartphones and tablets...
- Up to 25ft of working wireless range
- Power adapter built-in
- USB port
- Aux in and out
- Auto pair capable
- Soft-touch finish
- Approximate size 3" x 5.25" x 2"
We love devices which take you from the moment of unboxing to using it in under one minute. Setting up the bēm Wireless' Outlet Speaker is as easy as counting "1-2-3", from plugging it in, pressing the "On/Bluetooth connection" button at the top, then enjoying music once paired with your Bluetooth enabled device. The speaker is encased in a handsome and sturdy matte finish rubberized finish only marred by a logo a few sizes too large for the modest sized device (I would have preferred the branding to be placed at the top, for a neutral front facade).
The speaker straddles the line between small and a bit cumbersome. Subjectively, it's a small speaker compared to other wireless audio devices like the Jambox. But when plugged into an outlet, at least when placed in a visible spot like my kitchen wall outlet, the device can be a bit of an eyesore. Let me say this could be because the review unit I was sent was all black, and the all-white version might play nicer with white walled spaces, while this black unit could disappear in darker corners.
And most importantly, "how does it sound?"
Well to be honest, just as good as I expected from a 3" x 5.25" x 2" mono audio speaker. Don't expect audio as encompassing of even the cheapest 2 speaker setup. The speakers put out a sound that just keeps its head above the noticeably tinny department, best suited for pop tunes and amplifying speakerphone capabilities. There's only so much sound a small device like this can push out, and for this reason I found the $100 price tag a bit steep for what is marketed as a small space solution. Drop the price, reduce/move the logo, and put the bēm Wireless' Outlet Speaker on a diet for version 2.0 and you've got something to talk about. For now, bēm's plug-in wireless speaker's capabilities and limitations negate each other.
Pros: 10 seconds setup from unboxing to pairing to listening; sturdy protective form factor; acceptable sound as secondary audio device.
Cons: Portable, but bulky and can hog up an outlet due to size; Bluetooth only; logo could be a bit more discrete; audio capabilities are compromised by small size and mono output.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by manufacturer for testing and review purposes.