30 December 2016

REVIEW: Polk Audio Boom Bit

Itty Bitty.

Continuing our look into kit to get you moving and active during January, we're thinking about music. Having some “banging tunes” on the go while out exercising can help to keep you going for farther and longer, but often headphones can be a massive distraction, not to mention uncomfortable. Until scientists discover a way to wirelessly beam sounds directly into your skull, you might have to settle for a Bluetooth speaker. Such as the eeny teeny itty bitty Polk Audio Boom Bit.

This is the smallest Bluetooth speaker we've ever reviewed. Seriously, the size is pretty astounding, and the promo images you might see on Polk Audio's website really don't do it justice. This thing is smaller than your finger (if you're a normal adult), yet pumps out an impressive and surprisingly amount of oomph.

The Polk Audio Bit has been designed to be worn. It features a built-in clip so it can attach easily to your clothing, and then connect via Bluetooth to your phone. Inside the water resistant rubberised body is a battery capable of providing three hours of music playback, as well as a microphone so it can act like a speaker-phone. Pop off the top and you'll find a conventional full-sized USB connector to charge it up, so you can either whack it into the side of your laptop, or plug it into a phone AC charger.

The speaker itself is merely 1.5 watts, which doesn't sound like much at all. And, well... it isn't. Connect your phone, press play, and listen to it like you would an ordinary speaker and you might be slightly disappointed. Clearly Polk have designed this to be listened to while clipped onto your clothing, ideally as high up as possible. When positioned near to your ears (and mouth, to take advantage of the speaker-phone) it sounds much better and is far more enjoyable to listen to.

For runners, this is great: no headphones to block out the sounds of the world around you, and nothing in or over your ears to feel uncomfortable. Also, as the sound is quite focussed on a small area around the Bit, we're quite sure it won't cause much of a disturbance to people you pass by – something we were conscious of while testing. Nobody wants to be 'that person' with a speaker blaring dance music as they stagger by a bunch of people at the bus stop. Fortunately it is underpowered enough to make it a very personal device.

So sure, the sound isn't amazing, but it is clear and crisp. The bass reproduction is strong enough to reverberate slightly through your body, which helps make it feel a little more powerful than it actually is. But right now, there isn't really anything like this out there, as other so-called wearable speakers are much bulkier and nowhere near as light and convenient. For those of us looking for motivation as we tackle the icy streets of January, this is great.


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