Jam Transit is not the first name that comes to mind when most consumers think of “portable speakers” however the company is doing a lot of awesome work, and it should soon start making its way into the minds of consumers. In this review we will cover the Jam Trance Mini, a portable speaker system that has some unique features designed to set itself apart from the competition.
Design, Look, & Feel:
The Jam Trance Mini has a jet black body. The unit is covered on all sides (aside from the front and the back) by a rubberized exterior that is meant to protect it from falls. On the left side there is a small flap that when lifted reveals the Micro-USB charging port, 3.5mm aux input, and a small pinhole for changing languages (more on this later). To the right the word “Jam” is etched into the rubber. On top there are 7 buttons in a line with a small hole for the mic placed below the centermost button. From left to right those buttons are: Power, Change LED Color, Change Light Show, Adjust Brightness, Play / Pause, and Raise / Lower volume.The back of the speaker is just a hard plastic casing with an exquisite design. The speaker is located on the front of the unit. It is covered by a black metal grill. Overall the unit feels satisfying to the touch. It’s certainly robust enough to withstand a few falls.
The audio quality was less than stellar. Audiophiles – sorry, these are not the speakers for you. The speakers did go loud when I needed them to, and they even packed a surprising amount of bass for something so small. But that’s when I tested them indoors at night with no one around. Tracks such as “Davai Davai” by Skazi did not come out across as cleanly as I would have hoped. Similarly the song “We Are The People” by Empire Of The Sun came out sounding a bit watered down in terms of overall quality. Outdoors, they tend to perform a bit weaker, but this is forgivable because of noise pollution. The bass is certainly not noticeable when outside. So again, the speakers do get loud, they sound OK, and for the most part reproduce audio decently enough when not being used at full volume. Thanks to the built in mic, the unit can also act as a speakerphone when tethered over bluetooth. This feature works well enough, but unless you happen to be within a meter of the speakers, don’t expect whomever you are calling to hear you very well.
LED Light Show:
This is the main reason to buy these speakers. The speakers contain six different color LED’s behind the front grill. When playing music, users can choose between a variety of different playing modes for the LED’s. The light shows do not automatically match the music, but it’s a really nice touch. The brightness can also be adjusted, and users can decide whether or not they even want a light show running in the first place. The truth is the light shows are quite pleasurable to view while lounging around and having a good time with friends. The only thing I found to be lacking was an easy way of determining the best light show for the music being played, as well as the lack of a “Random Mode” that automatically changes the light show every few minutes. Jam could probably resolve this issue with the next generation of these speakers by providing an accompanying app that would allow users to change the settings from their phone.
The battery life is nothing to write home about. Jam claims the battery will run for 10 hours depending on usage scenario. In reality the battery last for around 3 – 5 hours. In my max rundown test, the battery lasted all of 3 hours. That test involved using bluetooth while running the speakers at full volume and with a light show going at full brightness. This is a realistic scenario that is likely to be replicated at many events. In our optimal usage test, we achieved a full 5 hours by running the speakers at 50 % volume while connected via 3.5 mm aux cable to a smartphone and with no light show running. At the lowest volume setting, with no LED’s and an 3.5 mm aux cable connected, it’s possible to get 7 ½ hours of run time. You won’t get enough battery out of this to last a whole working day, but you will have enough battery if you choose to go the beach and want to get some good tunes going. Jam claims that when charged for 3 hours, the speakers will provide at least 5 hours of battery life. This claim proved to be accurate.
As mentioned above, the device has a small hole for changing languages, located on the left hand side under the rubber flap. Included with the JTM is a small pin that can be inserted into the hole while the unit is powered on. By doing this you can switch between English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, or a simple tone which will indicate the operation being performed. The spoken audio cues are nice, but they get annoying after a while. As a bonus, the “Language Selector Tool” can be used to eject a SIM card tray from an iPhone. The speakers were a lot of fun to use and take to parties, the beach, and even for just simple use around the house. Now one of the most interesting features here is the included instruction booklet for this device, which is just so much fun to read – nice job Jam!
I really liked these speakers for the LED light show. Depending on the usage scenario, those LED’s can go from romantic evening to trippy dance party. While I cannot commend the battery life or audio quality, at $39 USD, you cannot go wrong with these speakers.
In one sentence:
“Brilliant little speakers that add flair to any event in life no matter the time or place.”
Size: 3.46” x 1.65” x 3.54”
Input: 3.5 mm / Micro-USB charging. Micro-USB cable included.
Language Selector Pin
About Benny Sabghir: Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Benny enjoys all aspects of consumer electronics - especially writing about it. He also enjoys hitting the gym, running and discussing the history of his three favorite wars - The American Revolution, The Six-Day War, and the Star Wars Trilogy. Currently in Jerusalem, Israel. Follow him on twitter @Sabghir_Benny Find him on Google+ View author profile.