So as I said, hello! I wanted to make an entrance, since it has been 7 weeks since I wrote an article!
I also wanted to show off how brilliant WordPress 4.0 is, by adding a YouTube video. I literally just added the URL to the post and voilà, the video appears then and there in WordPress as I am writing this article. No need to preview the post or wait for it to go live, I add the URL and the video is there straight away!
Why that video though? Well I am back, and WordPress has just been given a bit of rejig with the release of 4.0 – named Benny.
A week or so ago, a company approached Technology Bloggers and asked if I would be willing to review some of their products. I thought that this could be some fun, so I emailed them back saying: why not! They then send me a Pocket Boom to test and then review – this article is that review.
Please note, the opinions in this article are mine, and are completely honest – I am not being paid to write a review for them.
What is the Pocket Boom?
The Pocket Boom is a device that can turn pretty much any surface into a speaker. You just plug in your music – be it from your iPod, computer, tablet, stereo or whatever (anything that has a 3.5mm headphone jack) and place the vibrating speaker onto a surface, and it will vibrate the surface to turn it into a speaker.
The Pocket Boom with its vibrator head and headphone jack out
What Surfaces Does the Pocket Boom Work on?
The clever technology in the vibrating head on the device is able to vibrate any surface and turn it into a speaker. However, on some surfaces, it vibrates it so little that the vibrating head is louder than the surface. Surfaces that I have found to be bad speakers include:
Solid wood – some thin wood works well
Clothing – some clothing does work, but not very well
Other solid objects with little capacity to vibrate
Surfaces that I have found to work really well include:
Cardboard – and other paper products
Thin wood – notice boards, some tables and chairs all work well
Metal – due to its ability to vibrate, metal is one of the best materials I have tried, filing cabinets, kitchen hood extractor fans, hole punches, beds, and much more!
Thin plastic – tubs, especially DVD (and Blu-Ray, Wii, PS3, Xbox etc.) cases and even washing baskets!
Does it Actually Work?
You may be wondering if it actually works, it seems too good to be true. Can the Pocket Boom really: turn anything into a speaker, turn anything into an amplifier; and turn anything into an equaliser?
My answer is simple. Yes.
You can be sceptical, but I have one and it does. As I mentioned above, some surfaces it really surprises you by how well it actually transforms that object into a speaker, whilst with others you can be left somewhat disappoint with the sound level – but never the less it does turn it into a speaker.
The Pocket Boom with all leads stowed away (Compact)
From my personal use of the speaker, I would say that I think it works amazingly well on around 15% of objects, well on 70% of objects, and rather disappointingly on the other 15% of objects. So around 85% of objects to hand should be able to be converted into a good speaker pretty easily!
Check out this video to see it in action 🙂
Is it Easy to Use?
Clearly a lot of work has gone into designing the Pocket Boom, it has some great ideas behind it. The ergonomics need some tweaking before the product is 100% perfect.
The 3.5mm headphone jack lead that comes out to plug into your device is way too short to be practically used with most devices. That is a major flaw, but this has been fixed, as included in the box is an extender lead, so you can get an extra 40cm (ish) of reach.
The items that come with the Pocket Boom
Inserting the batteries is really easy, literally slide back a cover, put them in and slide the cover back on. Dead simple.
The enclosed instructions do tell you how to pull out the speaker wire, so that you can place the vibrating speaker head on a surface, however I found them very hard to follow. I found a video on YouTube about how to do it though, and that cleared things right up, just pull the wire out whilst rotating it round at the same time – effectively pulling and unwinding.
The instructions that come with the Pocket Boom
One thing that I am still a bit puzzled about is the suction pad system. The speaker head has an adhesive suction pad on it so that you can stick it to surfaces easily. It does get dirty, and I have found that covering it with sellotape and then slowly removing the tape cleans it up and it becomes sticky again. In the pack some extra adhesive are provided, however I can’t seem to find any instructions as to how to change the pad. Hopefully when I need to it will be pretty easy.
What is the Battery Life Like?
I have so far been very pleasantly surprised by the life of the battery. Considering this is a device that is designed to effectively replace most speakers, it uses very little power. Normal speakers can be power hungry, however the Pocket Boom takes just two AAA batteries.
I have had my Pocket Boom vibrating and turning objects into speakers for around three hours now, and despite it being powered by just two AAA batteries, it is still working just as well now as it was when I started using it. The Pocket Boom would appear to be a great saver of energy, considering that two speakers would be unlikely to last that long, producing the kind of sound levels that the Pocket Boom can.
How Good is the Sound Quality?
Okay, so it is portable, can turn almost anything into a good speaker, uses less power, therefore its weakness must be in its sound quality right? Wrong.
Personally I am very impressed with the quality of the sound the Pocket Boom can produce. I have used it on many surfaces, and found that everyone produces a slightly different quality, pitch and intensity of sound. Some produce music with much deeper bass levels, whilst others just produce really loud music! Some substances I would like it to go louder, but the volume level is always reasonable.
Depending on the song you are playing, the sound produced will vary. Sometimes you need to turn the volume down slightly, as the speaker head vibrates too much and doesn’t sound that great, but turning down the volume easily fixes this.
One thing I have noticed about the Pocket Boom is that it works better in quieter environments. Also, the size of the room seems to affect how well it produces sound, as it can really affect the acoustics. I have personally found that it works far better in small rooms than it does in bigger ones. If there is also a lot of noise, it doesn’t work as well, but for most environments it works really well.
I currently have it plugged into my PC, using the machine (metal) as the speaker, and it works really well. The environment is relatively quiet, and the volume of my PC is only on 20%, yet the sound is much louder than if it were through headphones!
Is the Pocket Boom Value for Money?
When I reviewed the Kymera Magic Wand I bought, I concluded that it was a great novelty product, but not really value for money at £50.
I think the Pocket Boom also has some novelty element to it, which you get when you first use it. I ran around testing it on everything I could! That has slightly worn off now, but the product is very practical and does work. As I said, I am using it as a speaker for my PC, and it is working very well.
The Pocket Boom retails at £20 (£19.99) which I think is a very reasonable price. I think that the novelty factor of the boom is probably worth £5 to £10, but after that you have an extremely practical product, which you find uses for in your every day life.
If you prefer to listen to high quality music, amplifiers and professional loudspeakers are probably for you, the Pocket Boom is not the best of speakers, but it is a bit of fun.
If however you are someone who just likes to casually listen to music, and the occasional bit of fun (as you find a new surface to try out!) then the Pocket Boom is a must have gadget!
The Pocket Boom in its packaging
As I said at the beginning of the article, this product has been sent to us to review. This company is called GearZap. Our thanks to GapZear for providing us with the pocket boom 🙂
In the run up to Christmas, I thought we were due a fun, quirky post, so this post is about the most watched videos 2011 on YouTube in the United Kingdom 🙂
In 10th place is a video called Diary of a bad man 5. With 16,026 likes and just 839 dislikes many people seem to like the humour that HumzaProductions (the videos makers) created. It’s an odd one, you either like it or you hate it, why not watch it and find out?
Masterchef Synesthesia by YouTuber Swede Mason is the 9th most watched video on YouTube of 2011. It is a funny (and rather weird) song that has been made out of clips from the TV show MasterChef. It’s very well put together, so I have included it below for your enjoyment 🙂
The video of Michael Collings audition for Britain’s Got Talent is 8th on the list. This is the story of an IT engineer who works in a computer shop in Plymouth, and decided to enter the show Britain’s Got Talent. Most people prejudged him, including the judges, however he turned out to be a really good singer. 76,212 likes vs 920 dislikes really does show how popular this video is!
asdfmovie4 by TomSka is in 7th place. Depending upon your type of humour will depend as to whether you find it funny or not, but considering it has over 14,000,000 views, I am guessing that most people do find it little humorous, although rather… weird at the same time – maybe not one to watch with young children.
6th place goes to the very funny T-Mobile publicity video called The T-Mobile Royal Wedding. The video, at first, looks like it was made by someone with a camera, at the actual Royal Wedding, however it soon becomes apparent that it is a really funny spoof! I just had to include this one 🙂
In 5th place is a very controversial video. The video is a dubbed version of Rebecca Black’s Friday song called Rebecca Black “Friday” (Brock’s Dub). Some people find it amusing, whilst others say that the strong language isn’t justified, and that the ending is a bit harsh. Out of the 447,893 ratings, just 14,295 people dislike it, so it would seem that overall the public really like the video.
4th place goes to Charlie Sheen’s song: Winning. A bit like the MasterChef video, it’s a song made up of loads of different clips. Again, most people would find it funny, however the video does have 5,957 dislikes which may suggest otherwise, that said, it does have 276,113 likes.
I am not quite sure how, but in 3rd place is a video called Nyan Cat [original]. Only around 5% of ratings don’t like the video, but I just don’t get it! Watch it for yourself and see if you can explain its popularity.
In 2nd place is a video of two babies, seemingly holding an entire conversation in baby! The video is called Talking Twin Babies – PART 2 – OFFICIAL VIDEO and is posted by jayrandall22011. It is cute, and slightly amusing, but I think it could be much better were it to be dubbed, with funny captions, like many of the other videos in the top ten are 🙂
Finally, the winner of the most watched video on YouTube 2011 is the Ultimate Dog Tease! The video is very funny and is basically a video of a normal dog, which has been dubbed to make it look like it is talking. The maker, Talking Animals (AKA klaatu42) has made loads of other similar videos, like ones with a beaver on the road, a cat playing I Spy and many other funny ones. Non however are quite as popular at the Ultimate Dog Tease. For your enjoyment, here is the video.
From all the above videos, it would seem that if you want to become a YouTube phenomenon, you need to be funny! All of the above videos aim to be funny, with the exception of Michael Collings audition for Britain’s Got Talent.