Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Product Review: XBoom Speaker

XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule Speaker

Brandy mentioned this speaker on her post of gifts for the Classical Charlotte Mason Mama and I was immediately intrigued. Kansas Dad had often said we needed a speaker and I had always demurred, imagining big bulky speakers and wires all over the kitchen.

We do most of our homeschooling in the kitchen. That's where the table is and when we're reading aloud or listening, it's usually around the table (with some food involved). In the past few years, we have turned to the laptop to:
My laptop speakers are rather disappointing, so a few things were unworkable. We tried listening to audiobooks on Librivox, but my speakers just couldn't compete with the background noise of life in the house. Sometimes I would try to listen to a podcast, but that really only worked if I used headphones. I thought...maybe this speaker would be useful. It's small and easy to put away when we're not listening, but is a better speaker than I have now.

Kansas Dad's parents bought it for me for Christmas and oh-my-goodness, is it ever useful! Nearly every single day, this speaker is plugged into someone's laptop or Kindle. The quality is excellent for such a small thing. Often, I have to turn the sound down.

We listened to the sequel to Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, on Librivox without any problems even while doing morning chores (unloading and loading the dishwasher). I had been reading the free version of this off my Kindle because our library didn't have a copy, but Librivox came to the rescue when I had a sore throat. As a bonus, the reader has an actual British accent.

I also discovered just before Christmas that I could download Audible files on the Kindle keyboard. My Kindle is one of these old ones (so old Amazon doesn't even allow an affiliate link) and we were gifted with Grammy's old one as well. If you pay attention, often you can add the Audible version of Kindle books for a discount. Before our drive to visit my parents, I "purchased" Heidi and Treasure Island for free for the Kindle and added the Audible versions for $0.99 each. My six- and four-year-olds have been listening happily for weeks. The little speaker works perfectly with the Kindles, too, so we could listen to an Audible recording on one of the old Kindles in the van or out and about easily. (The battery lasts a long time. As I said, we use it every day sometimes for hours and I've had to charge it about once every ten days.)

I've also successfully used it to listen to podcasts, though I've discovered I can only concentrate enough on a podcast when there are no children in the room. If they come in and talk to me or each other, I have to pause it.

Thanks, Brandy! This speaker is everything I'd hoped and just perfect for me. I still think bookshelves should have made your list, but I guess I'll let it slide this year.

I highly recommend signing up for one of the paid subscriptions to Spotify rather than the free service. The commercials were often highly inappropriate for children (and sometimes even made me blush). I don't receive anything if you sign up.

As an affiliate with Amazon, I receive a small commission if you follow one of my links, add something to your cart, and complete the purchase (in that order). This review is my objective opinion. I received the speaker as a gift.

6 comments:

  1. I have been debating a purchase like this for awhile now, there are sooooo many options and that has kind of paralyzed me. Can you Bluetooth to it or do you have to plug the actual device in (thinking my iPhone). I know we listen to way less music etc around here than we should and I blame it almost fully on inconvenience and my aversion to clutter (IE more CDs). That and the choices (spotify, pandora, iTunes, etc are so overwhelming sometimes I just don't know where to start). But anyways, I am intrigued...

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    1. Monica, this is not a Bluetooth speaker; you have actually plug it in. It should work with an iPhone, though. The longer we have Spotify, the more I like it, and this speaker makes it even better.

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  2. Well the price is right for the speaker and your review is pretty persuading...

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    1. Isn't the price great? If it hadn't been so close to Christmas, I probably would have just purchased it myself.

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  3. I'm glad you liked it! :)

    My latest use is to take mine with me on longer car drives so I can listen to podcasts. The whole thing sits neatly on my center console, and I can totally hear it over the sound of my {loud} engine. :)

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    1. We haven't tried it in the car yet. I've just downloaded the Librivox app on our ipad and am going to try the speaker with downloaded books.

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