If you thought that great sound couldn't come from a small package, let alone through Bluetooth, the FoxL Personal Audiophile Loudspeaker from Sound Matters will make you think again. For $199, the company delivers what we believe to be a portable iPod speaker that's as close to perfect as you can get.
Central to the kit is a pair of surprisingly loud and responsive stereo speakers mounted about four inches apart in a rugged, black metal enclosure. In addition to high-fidelity Bluetooth, the FoxL accepts audio from USB and 3.5mm jack, which of course delivers the best sound with the least distortion. The unit operates on a built-in Lithium Ion battery that's rechargeable via USB or the provided 5-volt AC/DC power adapter.
Battery life is rated about five hours on a single charge, but will vary depending on volume level, input type and other factors. When hanging the FoxL from your neck using the included lanyard, it thumps like the heart of a lovestruck teenager thanks to a mini-radiator on its backside. This doubles as a fold-out stand that lets FoxL tilt back slightly so the speakers are facing upward. It also can stand upright or lay flat on its back using the rubberized mat that's included.
The secret behind FoxL's amazing bass response is its patented "Twoofer." No, it's not what you get at the local pub on ladies night. Twoofers, or "tweeters that also woof," are 25-mm Linear Magnetic Drive speakers which employ dual voice coils to push a lot of air. Regardless of the lingo, these things rock. Also helpful to FoxL's fidelity that it uses A2DP, Bluetooth's advanced audio distribution profile, which specifies how high-quality audio can be streamed from one device to another.
The kit also comes with a USB to mini-USB cable, 3.5-mm gold-plated audio cable, a wrist strap, carry pouch and outlet adapters for North America, Australia, Europe, Great Brittan and elsewhere. The unit itself has a hard power switch (and no auto-shutoff), dedicated buttons for volume up and down, and an output for connecting to Sound Matters' optional subwoofer. A side LED indicates battery charge status and a front-mounted light tells you when Bluetooth is active.
The company, which is headquartered in Reno, Nevada, was founded literally by a rocket scientist. If you plan to offer just one solution for mobile audio or many, the CRN Test Center recommends it be the FoxL Personal Audiophile Loudspeaker by Sound Matters; your customers will not be disappointed. The $199-list Bluetooth edition also works as a headset/speakerphone thanks to a built-in microphone. There's also a non-Bluetooth version that lists for $169.