French audio company Zoook has added the ZB-Jazz Blaster to its already fairly extensive line-up of wireless speakers. For starters, it is ticking the boxes on the design front. This isn’t as small and compact as some rivals, such as the Creative Nuno Micro (around Rs2,390) or the JBL Go (Rs1,899), and has an imposing presence wherever you may keep this. It is priced at Rs3,075 (Amazon.in), and represents great value as an affordable portable Bluetooth speaker.

Design: As rugged as they come

While most of its rivals have taken the traditional design route inspired by cubes and compact cylinders, Zoook has pretty much done something more abstract. It is a mix of many things, and although this isn’t designed for symmetry, it does look good to the eye. There is a handle on top which can be useful when you want to carry the ZB-Jazz Blaster along, or simply hang it somewhere—and this adds to the overall rugged persona. Speaking of ruggedness, the ZB-Jazz Blaster is IPX5 certified, which means it is resistant to rough usage (you can spray this with water for as much as 3 minutes, and this will still continue to belt out the tunes as if nothing has happened).

Features: Simplicity is the key

There isn’t much in terms of the feature set. Zoook has kept it simple with just Bluetooth 4.2 available to pair with your phone. There is a 3.5mm aux-in port as well, in case you wish to connect this with a music source that does not have Bluetooth. There is no complication and pairing is quick and hassle-free.

Performance: Packs a punch

The flipside of this simplicity is that there isn’t much you can do in terms of tweaking the sound quality. We paired and streamed music to the ZB-Jazz Blaster from multiple devices over time, and what stands out is how loud this speaker can do without even breaking a sweat. Yes, considering the physical limitations of the compact design, you will eventually hear some audio degradation happening at volumes above 70%, but that is much less compared with most other Bluetooth speakers in this price range—it’s simple physics at play here. Chances are you will not push this to the higher volume levels most of the time, and for the more casual listening experience, the ZB-Jazz Blaster is ticking off most boxes except one. Irrespective of what music genre you stream on this, vocals are good and clear and you will not feel that the spoken word is getting lost. However, mid-range frequencies are a bit dull, and because the ZB-Jazz Blaster doesn’t have the wide vibrancy, some of the details do tend to get hidden.

Anyone who listens to bass heavy music would perhaps be a tad disappointed. The passive bass radiator isn’t able to reproduce powerful enough low-end frequencies, which does leave a very audible gap with some music genres and tracks. Incidentally, bass feels less than its predecessors, the Zoook ZB-Rocker Torpedo and the Zoook ZB-Armor XL.

Its battery life is rather robust, and if you keep the volume at around 50%, you will easily get slightly more than 10 hours of music listening time before you’ll need to charge the ZB-Jazz Blaster again.

Should you buy one?

As it turns out with most genuinely affordable Bluetooth speakers, it is a bit of a mixed bag. In essence, the sound should work if you don’t have playlists that are full of bass heavy music. The rugged design is a bonus. Long gone are the days when people were happy with the basic audio listening experience that the built-in loudspeakers in a phone would offer. Portable and compact Bluetooth speakers, irrespective of budget, are now firmly in the must-have list for anyone who listens to music, be it on a vacation, at a party or for simply relaxing at home. And the ZOOOK ZB-Jazz Blaster cannot be ignored.

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