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Gadget Review: Travel Speaker from Brookstone

Brookstone_ultra_thin_travel_speaker
The actual name of the speaker reviewed here is the "Ultra-Thin Travel Speaker"... I don't think I would call it "ultra-thin", but at just 3/4 of an inch at it's wides point this is a pretty thin speaker.  Actual size is 5x6x.75 inches, not much bigger than a paperback book and perfect for the traveler.

I tried several travel several speakers and finally settled on this one.  They are powered.  This can be a pain because they require 3 AAA batteries.  But this is really the only way to go, powered speakers.  Others that plug into your devices output jack try and use the power intended for small ear-buds or headphones to fill a room with sound.

You also need to be realistic.  If you want great sound you are not going to find it in a package this small, or if you want loud you won't find it here.  But what you will find is a small compact unit that you can easily take with you when you travel. 

Brookstone_ultra_thin_travel_speaker_2I've been reviewing it mostly with MP3 files and Pandora on my Motorola Droid phone and my Thinkpad x40 laptop.  So far I've tried it here in my office, a cruise ship cabin, and a large hotel room in SFO.  In all the spaces it performed very well.  It sounds pretty good for their size.  It has better bass response than the other units I tried but it is still week.  With my Droid phone at about 90% the audio can be painful at 2ft and easily fills the 14x14ft room with music loud enough to rise well above spoken conversation.  At %100 I get distortion depending on the recorded material.  Most times I need to run the phone at %40 or my Wife complains about the volume from down the hall.

Issues: No speaker separation due to compact one piece design.  You need to turn it off when you are done listening or you will run down the batteries.  Auto shutoff would be nice.  Brookstone items are usually designed pretty well, on this unit the base/stand covers the delicate speaker surface when closed, but they didn't' provide for the short audio cable that is required for this unit.  The travel speaker folds up into a great package but you end up with a loose cable.  Bluetooth would be a great feature, but that would push up the $40 price and use power.

Tip: placing the speaker on a wooden / resonate surface improves bass response.  The speaker also sends a large amount of sound energy out the back.  Placing it in front of a reflective surface increase audio levels if needed.

This compact speaker is based on NXT Sound flat panel speaker technology.  Top Photo is Copyright Brookstone.com.  Lower photo is Copyright TravelBlogger.com.  This unit was purchased by me...The Travel Blogger.  This is not an paid advertisement.

This speaker can be purchased directly from Brookstone, online or at their stores, or you can purchase it using the ad below and help support TravelBlogger.com site. Thanks!