We've reviewed a few acoustic amplifying products for iOS devices, mainly for the iPhone. We've covered the en&is Megaphone in 2011 and the Kubxlab Ampjacket case for the iPhone earlier this year. Today we have an eco-friendly acoustic amplifying product which is made entirely from bamboo, it's called the SpeakaBoo and we've been testing this marvel over the past month.
Upon first impressions of seeing the SpeakaBoo in the raw it makes a striking impression. Its simplistic and organic rounded handcrafted bamboo shape is utterly charming. A bamboo triangle situated on the rear of the body keeps the SpeakaBoo's cylindrical shape steady on a flat surface. Its construction is rigid yet very light. Three different bamboo grains are available, natural panda, speckled leopard and flamed dragon; the variant we have. Flamed dragon has a silky brown exterior body which suits being placed in a living room/office environment.
The SpeakaBoo is available for the iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5. We've been using the iPhone 5 version and have found the iPhone very easy to dock into the SpeakaBoo. The cutout is very precise and there is little give back and fourth, securing the iPhone sturdily into place. This makes interacting with the iPhone screen precise, however accessing the home button is a tad fiddly despite the cutout for this. And the home button is essential for quick access to skip tracks, via a double tap of the button to reveal media controls on the lock screen. However, for this reason only an iPhone without a case can be docked. Thin skins attached may just possibly fit. Those cases with removable bottoms for docking purposes were found to be the most convenient with constant usage, where as cases which require total removal when docking definitely discourage the usage of the SpeakaBoo.
An Apple Lightning cable or 30 pin cable for the iPhones 4/4S SpeakaBoo can be inserted and fed along the inside of the bamboo speaker tube. We rarely found ourselves using the dock in such a manner but it's nice knowing the ability is possible.
So how well does it work and how does it work? To answer the latter, audio from the bottom iPhone speaker is encapsulated and forced to travel through the bamboo tube. Bamboo apparently has the ability to resonate sound within its walls. It's successful in amplifying sound. We measured the volume output of our iPhone in and out of the SpeakaBoo and generally the SpeakaBoo increases volume by around 60%, it slumps below the Kubxlab Ampjacket case due it being able to double the volume output. This increase in volume is substantial and provides a package which is loud enough for intimate listening. What's quite remarkable about this is the fact that audio quality doesn't sound like it suffers from the amplification, which is an aspect we found to be a downfall of the Ampjacket case. However the SpeakaBoo's perforamnce isn't adequate to replace a portable speaker.
We don't usually harp on about carry bags and the like bundled with products, but the one included with the SpeakaBoo is truly memorable. It's constructed from newspapers and has two rustic string handles for carrying. Also included with our SpeakaBoo was a little bamboo stand to prop up things like cards.
Overall the SpeakaBoo is quite impressive. It's an appealing natural handcrafted concept that genuinely serves its purpose of being an acoustic amplifier for the iPhone 5. And one of the true beauties of this product is that it requires no batteries or power supply, meaning it can be used anywhere. Also it's neatly priced, our Flame Dragon SpeakaBoo is available for £23.99 and the others are priced at £26.99 on Amazon within the USA they're $34.99-$39.99) via our below links.