Parrot Boombox Review

Parrot’s Boombox looks like a smaller and more refined version of the Apple iPod HiFi, but it’s built for your computer.

The black rectangular all-in-one system should sit happily on a shelf in your home or office. It hosts an RCA connection, but also offers Bluetooth support for use with any system that supports the AD2P standard, which includes any Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The Bluetooth advanced audio distribution profile (AD2P) can support stereo sound and a sufficient bit rate for CD-quality sound. It features in many multimedia capable mobiles, but not iPods, as yet.

Pairing the system with a Leopard Mac is easy using Apple’s built-in set-up assistant. When connected you simply need to choose the system for sound output in System Preferences and in future all the audio will be streamed straight to the speakers. The big advantage is that Boombox dispenses with any need for cables, and doesn’t even need to be near your Mac to run – anywhere within Bluetooth’s 10-metre range should be fine, even through walls.

The sound that emanates from the two speakers and subwoofer is impressive. The unit produces a clear, distinct sound with warm resonant bass and decent sound separation. The Boombox is better overall than
the now-discontinued iPod HiFi.

We were also impressed when we pushed the 60-watt system (2x30 watts) to its limit, though there was some degradation at the highest volume. We also experienced some connectivity-based stutters when streaming music, but this was very infrequent.

We have used speakers that offer a wider acoustic range (this offers 55Hz to 20kHz), and as such wouldn’t recommend Boombox to anybody searching for a system capable of delivering pure audio fidelity, but for iTunes playback it’s fine.

Boombox isn’t a portable system. We think Parrot missed a trick by not allowing it to be battery-powered, which could have made this a great solution for listening to music in the garden on a sunny day. Those of you in the market for a pair of speakers may wince at the £160 price tag, which we think makes this expensive for users with one Mac. For those running multiple computers the advantage is you can share this speaker system between them all.

OUR VERDICT

If dispensing with cable clutter and the capacity to share the system between multiple computers and any other AD2P-supporting device sounds attractive, this is a powerful system capable of high-quality sound reproduction, albeit at a relatively high price.

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