When I was in high school (right about the time video was killing the radio star) a portable speaker meant one thing: boombox. Today we have many more portable audio options, but most of them sound tinny, thin or muddy, or all of the above.
The Soundmatters foxL is tiny, even for a portable speaker, but has a well-muscled sound that beats out squawk boxes twice its size. The foxL sounds best from 2 to 5 feet away but it’s loud enough to fill a living room, and produces surprisingly deep sound quality with bass response that seems to defy physics. Music with heavy guitar riffs and low-end beats will occasionally overwhelm the foxL, but more often we were amazed by the dynamic range with vivid mids and highs produced by this pint-sized boomer.
The protective grill around back doubles as a foldout speaker stand, and at less than 6 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall, it’s easy to grab and set up anywhere you go; handy for plugging into a laptop for Youtube videos or music streaming, or listening to an iPod on the patio. Battery life is about 5 hours, depending on how high you crank the volume, and the output wattage is about twice as strong when it’s plugged in.
With (A2DP) Bluetooth support and a built-in microphone, the foxL can also be a hands-free speakerphone, or to stream music from a phone or computer. We easily set up a Macbook Pro to stream files from iTunes to the foxL, but the sound quality was poor compared to using a minijack cable from the same source. But taking phone calls either sitting at home or cruising in the car is good fun, and the quality is similar to what you’d find in your average office speakerphone.
Word of warning: the supplied lanyard allows you to wear the speaker around your neck. You will not look or sound like Radio Raheem by doing so.