Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ion Job Rocker Review

So I've always liked the idea of connecting my phone to battery-powered, Bluetooth, speakers, but always feared the (anticipated) sparse battery life, weak output, etc. I've had two of these devices and while they weren't terrible, they were just barely better than the built-in phone speakers*. My wife had one, too, and it was similarly better than music straight from the phone, it didn't really provide the incentive to charge regularly, find, and connect for most daily uses.

Cue the music from the Job Rocker Plus from Ion -- honestly, I like Groupon's description better and the ratings speak for themselves. Considering I'm no audiophile but appreciate full-range sound (for reasonable cost)*2, this thing is a delight. I got one for myself that I've used extensively and one for my brother-in-law, who is much more used to high-priced things than I am. We both love them! We got the refurbished models from Groupon, but I think they are available for about the same on Amazon (probably refurbished) for $75 or so*3. The look and feel calls to mind the amp that you (or a friend) had with the first electric guitar you played terribly. It isn't quite as hefty, but not so small that you really worry about the output. The sound is good. When the volume is too high in bass-heavy music, I did wish for a separate bass-adjustment dial, but everything else really works well on this thing. It has a spot to charge your phone -- it connects (to charge) via a standard PC cable (included), and it works with auxiliary 1/8" input in addition to the Bluetooth I've used so far.

The Job Rocker + just survived a 40th birthday bash for my brother-in-law. His brother is a real DJ (who offered to bring his gear) and, while I'm sure the sound wasn't on par with what he could have provided, I was VERY impressed with how little the 10 to 15 adults bodies soaked up the was still easily loud enough for the "into the wee hours of the morning morning" gathering with music blaring the entire time and everyone there fighting to play the next song.

While the Job Rocker Plus can't fit in your pocket or even backpack, it would be great for a trip the the beach or family picnic. I use mine in my kitchen all the time and in my back yard while the kids are playing often. I'll be surprised if my wife isn't using this all Summer.

The Takeaway

If you want a (heavy and loud) Bluetooth speaker and can find this thing for $100 or under, get it. This is not for you if you want something to fit in your hoodie pocket or backpack. Tailgating, yes. Shoulder, to replicate the feel of a boombox a-la the '80s or '90s, yes. Speaker for your phone or laptop to connect to with the option to carry elsewhere when the need arises, yes. For a stationary speaker, of course, you'd be a little better off getting a true 2.1 system.

Astericks and such. Apparently, that is the plural.

* Subjective...and in hindsight after using the much more powerful Job Rocker from Ion. I never really minded using them at the time, but the appeal seemed to quickly fade. The previous devices were much more portable and $15-$30 devices with much less battery life / lower wattage / more comparison isn't really fair.

*2 I don't know the best way to describe my ear sensitivity...but I really miss my Klipsch Pro-Media 2.1 system. The subwoofer died and I've salvaged the satellites to use with my home theater, but the $50 Logitech 2.1 system I've replaced them with is notably less impressive.

*3 They are $200 on the Ion site...but I'd not have taken the plunge at that price. Maybe I'd pay $100 or $125 now that I know how well they perform.

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