If you happen to be a fan of Mini (the car), IUI’s Mirror Boombox might be something to look into. Even if you’re not, the stylish Bluetooth speaker packs very good audio quality. At $149.99, how well does it work?
I first saw the Mirror Boombox while at CES, and was immediately interested, mainly due to the device’s overall design, of which there are three of: Black Jack (what I received), Checkered Flag, and Union Jack. Each are priced at $149.99 from the product’s website.
To begin, the packaging was quite good, and is what one might expect for a product that costs around $150. There’s a compartment within the packaging that houses all of the accessories, including the wall charger, various charging adapters (for the various countries/regions), a microfiber cloth, a user manual, as well as a mini-USB cable for charging purposes. I imagine you could use the packaging as a storage container.
Packaging aside, you have the speaker, which mimics the design of the actual door mirrors of a Mini. The actual body uses glossy materials, which keeps a hold of fingerprints fairly easily. And obviously, the same will go for the actual mirror on the front. There are also some orange lights behind the mirror that you’ll see when the unit is on, but will go away after some inactivity from pressing the touch-sensitive buttons on the black rim above. Speaking of which, the actual +/-/O symbols are printed onto the sticker, not the black rim itself, and the sticker seems to take away from the elegant design just a bit. The grill itself has a Mini emblem as well as an LED light behind. It will be red when charging and blue when the unit is on.
On the back, you’ll find the micro-USB port for charging, as well as a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input for hardwired audio connections. That may come in handy whenever you want to use the speaker for videos or games, as there is enough lag when using Bluetooth to where games and videos won’t be as enjoyable. Lastly, the bottom of the speaker has a rubber pad to prevent the speaker from roaming around your surface when listening at high volumes. There’s also an on/off switch.
Once turned on, the speaker will play an engine revving sound, which I’m assuming is from a Mini. You’ll hear this sound every time the speaker is turned on which, at least for me, got a bit repetitive to where it got a bit annoying. While it’s a nice touch, an option to turn that off would’ve been great. In addition, the speaker will also give you audio prompts for various things, such as whether or not a device is connected, if the battery is low, etc. Regarding the battery, the integrated rechargeable battery is rated to last up to 8 hours of playback time. While I wasn’t keeping track of the exact numbers, I’d say that my playback time came fairly close to that. The volume of the actual audio prompt depends on the volume that the speaker is set to. Volume can be adjusted from the speaker itself as well as from the device that you have connected to it.
Bluetooth pairing was quick and easy using an iPhone 5s as well as a MacBook Air. However, when listening with my MacBook Air, I noticed that the audio will sometimes cut out, or disappear altogether. This never happened with my iPhone 5s, so it might be an issue with the laptop (I’ve been having some Wi-Fi issues as well recently). The speaker also supports NFC for quicker pairing, which I wasn’t able to test.
Audio quality is superb, especially considering the size of the unit. Even when the volume is maxed out, there was practically no distortion of any kind, and this was when listening to loud bass-heavy electronic music. I noticed that, for the bass, the amount that you’ll hear greatly depends on the surface that you place the speaker onto. For me, a basic table didn’t provide nearly as much bass as my dresser did, interestingly. Beyond electronic music, the speaker seems well-balanced for all kinds of different genres, as the highs and mids seem well represented.
Overall, this is an excellent speaker with great build quality, design and sound. It’s a bit elevated in terms of price, but I’d be willing to say that it’s worth it, especially if you happen to be a fan or collector of Mini products.