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Tunebug Vibe - SurfaceSound Portable Speakers

Do you want to be able to share the music from your iPod or phone, but don't want to have to lug around external speakers (see previous post)?

Then check out the Tunebug Vibe "SurfaceSound" speakers for around $69. Instead of using a larger speaker to make bigger sound, the Vibe is a small pod (2 1/2 x 1 inch) with a tiny speaker on the bottom that plug it in with the standard audio cable.

How does it work? Just place the Vibe on a desk or table, and stand back as the sound reverberates out and turns the surface into a flat panel speaker.

The Vibe works best with hollow surfaces. For example, it comes with a small cardboard box in the package that boosts the sound nicely, and then can store the Vibe away in a foam nest.

But it's also fun to experiment -- We got interesting results with hollow walls and single-pane glass windows, and the thin wooden panels in interior doors worked especially well. (Tightly constructed walls and multi-pane glass were much less interesting.) Even better, try it held to the bottom of a plastic cup for nice directional sound, and place it on a large trash can for a real boost.

The Vibe is constructed solidly with a brushed aluminum housing, with an illuminated power button in the center. It's small enough to fit in a pocket, but it's also dense at 5 1/3 ounces -- more like a rock than a plastic plaything so it sits solidly on the surface. Just be more delicate with the speaker assembly on the bottom.

It has a built-in LiPoly battery, good for around five hours of play time. The product includes a USB-to-audio adapter to recharge it through the same audio jack.

The Tunebug Vibe is an interesting and fun product that works well to share music from a personal player. The quality of the music, of course, depends on the kind of surface that's responding to the sound waves -- A hollow box will sound different from one with padding, for example. So think of it as not only boosting the sound, but adding an environmental air as well.

See also the Tunebug Shake speaker to attach to bike, ski and skateboard helmets for a different kind of surround sound ($119).

See my Portable Audio Accessories Gallery for more on portable speakers.

Find the Tunebug Vibe on Amazon.com

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This entry posted on January 22, 2010.

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