Review: Bem Wireless Boom Box

Fact: Bluetooth was never designed to be an audio-streaming protocol. Sure, it’s getting better thanks to higher bitrate ceilings and codecs like aptX. But the 30-foot wireless signal is still more suited for copying contacts from your phone and syncing a headset to an iPhone. When it comes to critical listening and streaming lossless music files, you’ll almost always do better with a Wi-Fi-based protocol.

That said, the $250 Bēm Boom Box has quite a bit going for it. Sure, it kinda looks like a space-age toaster with a handle. And, yeah, it definitely can’t compete with Sonos gear or any of the bigger speakers from Logitech UE. But the Boom Box does have plenty of bass, a lush sonic quality with distinct EQ, and a reliably steady Bluetooth stream for all your mobile tunage. It also lasts 10 hours on a charge, is made of a durable plastic with metal accents, and even has a 3.5mm audio out port for direct music connects.

Setup is remarkably easy. The Boom Box automatically goes into a Bluetooth discovery mode when turned on. After that, it’s simply a matter of going into your phone’s settings and pairing. If you decide to pair a second device, you can — but the Boom Box only lets you stream from one connected connected source at a time. (Unlike on some newer Bluetooth headsets, you can’t press a button and switch between Bluetooth sources.)

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