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GadgeTell Review: Soundboard Portable Speaker with SoundFlow

Sections: Accessories, Audio, Portable Audio, Reviews

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soundflowwoodAlthough there are people who say ‘there’s nothing better than a plan coming together,’ I’d like to challenge that expression. Though it may happen quite rarely, at times a plan plays itself out better than expected. And with the help of some innovative tech, our regular social experiences, i.e., a friendly backyard chess game or a few hours drinking coffee, can be far more fun and memorable than ever before.

For example, when an old friend was in New York from the west coast last week. She had some time and took a train down to visit Philly for a few nights. Though it was sporadic, I was obviously excited to meet her at the station, even after a long Friday of work. Coincidentally that day, TechnologyTell so graciously received an early review-model of the Soundboard mobile speaker from Voxx. It looks a lot like a skateboard deck to me, so I was pretty excited to check it out that weekend.soundflowwhite

Upon meeting up, my friend and I grabbed some coffee at a cool place that has outdoor seating. While reminiscing on some bands we both enjoy, I remembered the speaker in my book bag. Even while it’s in the packaging, the Soundboard travels like an average sized novel. I slipped it out to remind us how well caffeine and cool jazz go together.

Just turning it on, we were impressed with how loud it was, and a bit startled, hearing it blare instantly after putting smartphone speaker down onto it. Luckily for both us and a few patrons sitting nearby, it has volume control on the side near a lighted power button. At a proper level, the Soundboard provided a pleasant ambiance beneath us chatting and to no bother of strangers at the tables around us.

Using sound induction, a technology recently brought to market, the Soundboard presents one of the most uncomplicated and efficient means of traveling with your audio. As long as your device has a speaker that could sit flat on the induction area, just place it down and hear it amplified immediately. No plugging-in or any wires involved, no pairing like Bluetooth speakers; the Soundboard “flows” your sound through it’s dual speakers, located on each end.

soundflow3As the evening progressed, we walked to my house for a meal. Pretty quickly while preparing food and cooking, the Soundboard made it’s second appearance. I left it on the living room table, where it played loudly and clear enough to enjoy a few podcasts from the kitchen, even above the sounds of boiling water, a burning stove and chopping vegetables.

We noticed that talk radio and similar type audio recordings: podcasts, YouTube videos, field recordings and Ebooks sounded the most outstanding through induction-style speakers. Their sound appears obviously louder, but also with more clarity — especially files with a lower fidelity; words become less-staticky and clearer versus listening with a smartphone speaker alone. Also, I noticed that at maximum volume, the Soundboard doesn’t buzz across the table, a feature often telling of a well-designed personal speaker.

While using the Soundboard at home, the DC plug came in handy. This let us save some life in the three AA batteries that are unfortunately required to use it on the go. Though to include a built-in battery, I’d imagine that the Soundboard would lose it’s $29.99 price-point. So, changing a few batteries every once and a while seems reasonable. It’s also worth noting that a 3.5mm cable is included to use with a built-in stereo input if you choose to.

soundflowblackEventually my friend and I went to hang out in my small backyard, relaxing over a quiet chess game. As you may have already guessed, with us came the Soundboard. Using it first to ‘conference call’ a mutual buddy out of state — a really great use of the speaker — we afterwards relaxed with a little piano music and craft brews. It was a wonderful way to to close out a really enjoyable day.

Though this was a special experience for many reasons, as I mentioned earlier, overall it was a day when things went better than ‘according to plan.’ There was no plan. It just so happens that frequently moments in our everyday lives can be augmented through the use of a cool gadget or two. I’m all for using our mobile devices as much as possible — we keep them on us at all times anyway, right? So this time, I got lucky with the Soundboard.

Voxx Accessories Corp. debuted the Soundboard portable speaker with SoundFlow at CE Week in New York City on Tuesday, June 25. For more on the annual industry-exclusive consumer electronics conference, check out our preview feature in the June issue of Tell magazine (free e-subscriptions here.) For more on the Soundboard, ordering and spec information like color options, check out www.soundflow.com.

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