By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 07/11/2012
I was a little skeptical of the HMDX Audio JAM when I first saw it, at CE Week in New York City a couple of weeks ago. The packaging was very slick and I wondered if the makers paid too much attention to making it look good in the box and not enough on the product itself. You see, playing off the 'jam' name, the device ships in a clear plastic jar, with a metal top, to make it look like a glass of jelly. The stickers even play off this theme, with JAM Facts like a Nutrition Facts label. The color choices help as well, as the unit is made in an array of colors including red (like strawberry), purple (as in grape) as well as gold, green, blue, or grey!
Fortunately, the design of the actual speaker is as good as if not better than the packaging. Here are some of the examples of attention to detail that I appreciate.
First, the HMDX JAM has nice heft to it. Combined with the rubber bottom, the JAM will stay put unlike many junky competitors. It uses a microUSB port for charging, which is becoming the standard. I have a competing speaker that uses miniUSB and I can rarely find the cable.
The top of the speaker has an attractive perforated grill and metallic disc in the center. Not only does this look nice, but it helps protect the internals. That competing speaker I have was quickly broken by my daughter, as the tweeter is exposed and, I guess it was irresistible to her! I would feel comfortable leaving the HMDX JAM in her hands.
It pairs easily, using 0000 as the Bluetooth code, and you can also plug in an external audio source using the aux jack, although you'll need to provide the cable. The power switch is recessed, on the bottom, so you're not likely to turn it on or off by accident. That leaves just the play/pause and volume buttons on the base of the unit. I would like to see a volume indicator, but in reality, you will probably adjust volume from your Bluetooth source and leave the speaker alone.
Ultimately, with any speaker, the most important characteristic is the sound quality. The HMDX JAM does not disappoint, as from the moment you turn it on, and you hear the audible confirmation, you know this is going to produce some deceptively supersized sound.
Indeed, I found that I needed to turn down the volume on my iPad when sending audio to the speaker, as it was dramatically louder than the iPad's built-in speaker.
I highly recommend the HMDX JAM but the difficult decision will be which of the beautiful colors to choose!