A couple of months ago, Harmon released the JBL On Tour iBT Bluetooth Speaker which is marketed towards iOS users, but can be used with any Bluetooth device including Android phones and tablets. It’s a UFO-shaped speaker that’s perfect for small places or carrying with you. The shape is designed to “fill” the room, but it’s not only great for music, it’s also perfect for phone calls, especially conference calls.
In the box, you get the speaker and an adjustable kickstand (pictured below) for your device. The kickstand adjusts to various angles and it really makes navigation of music easy. The kickstand also connects under the speaker for traveling so you won’t lose it. I did find for certain devices the two lips in the front part of the cradle would get in the way of navigation hardware keys for certain devices like the Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0.
The speaker itself has a power button and volume buttons. It can be plugged in to the wall for power or you can use 4 AA batteries for up to 5 hours of continuous play. It also has a USB connection if you want to charge your device at the same time. Last but not least, it has a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting a non Bluetooth device. The only thing missing in the box is a carry pouch. It would’ve been nice to include one for those who travel often.
It supports the AVRCP profile, which means that it can pause your music while you take a call and when the call is finished, your music will resume right where it left off. The UFO-like design makes it perfect for conference type calls or for boardrooms where there are a few people in the same room.
The On Tour features JBL Odyssey full-range neodymium transducers with computer-optimized DSP equalization that delivers a frequency response of 100Hz – 20kHz. For my tests, I mainly used the On Tour in the kitchen which is a really nice place. It fits perfecting on the counter. I was also thinking it would be cool to mount it under a cabinet, but it would take away from the 360 degree listening that is the highlight of this speaker.
My wife and I immediately took a liking to the sound. We currently have an Altec Lansing with an iPod dock which sounds okay, but this blew it away. Whether you listen to soft music or something loud and heavy, the JBL On Tour sounds perfect with no distortion. With speakers such as these, bass is usually lacking, but I found it to be adequate.
Now, I’m not big on portable speakers myself. For me, listening to music should be on a stereo system or in a car. I also have a hard time throwing down a lot of money for something portable even if it sounds amazing. The JBL On Tour iBT was going for $149 when it first came out, which I think is still too high, but it has been available on Amazon for as low as $104, which is more palatable. Yesterday it was available for this price, but unfortunately today, it’s back up to $142.99. It’s worth watching because I’m sure the price will be back down again in no time. I know many consumers like portable speakers for areas like the kitchen or for traveling, and the JBL On Tour iBT is probably one of the best deals out there.
For more information, please visit the product page website below or you can hit the Amazon link to order one.