A Musical Thrill 

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JAM Wireless Audio, the company responsible for the number one Bluetooth speaker in the UK according to GFK (March 2015), has increased its range of offerings with five new Bluetooth models with prices that range from £49.99 to £19.99. The first of this new batch of Bluetooth speakers to come under my gaze is one of those at the top end of the price range. This product is the JAM Thrill Wireless Stereo Speaker.

JAM HX P320GR Thrill Wireless Stereo Speaker
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Adopting a slight squashed cylinder shape, the Thrill is available in a choice of red, blue, black (my review unit) or grey. The Thrill has dimensions of 174 x 65 x 68mm (W x H x D) and weighs 390g. This means you are unlikely to want to slip in a pocket but it could fit snugly in a bag when you need to have some extra boost to your music while enjoying the outdoors.

The casing of the Thrill combines rubberised pads on the top and bottom with perforated grills covering the front and rear of the unit. It is easy to tell the difference between the front and back of this unit as the front grill features the JAM logo. A couple of rubber feet on the base of the speaker provide some help in securing a steady position when the speaker is placed on various surfaces. 

The top of the Thrill speaker contains two touch sensitive areas for controlling certain features of this speaker. These areas, located at the left end of the speaker are clearly indicated by slightly raised “V” and inverted “V” markers. Although it is not initially made clear by the rather sparse instructions provided with the product, you get a different reaction when using either a short of long press in these two areas. You can raise and lower the volume level or move to the next or previous track making up the play list currently being streamed from the smartphone connected to the Thrill.

Buttons on the left side of this speaker provide the means to turn power on/off and pause/start/ reject an incoming phone call. Just below these buttons is a concealed compartment hidden behind a removal rubber strip. The compartment contains a micro USB port for charging the Thrill’s internal battery, that gave me over 12 hours of playback, using a supplied 21cm standard-to-micro USB lead and a 3.5mm jack socket for when you want to connect a music source device that does not support Bluetooth. You will need to provide the audio lead as one is not included in the box. Also located in this compartment is a pinhole option that allows you to change the unit’s default language, using a tool that is supplied in the box.

There is a choice of English, French, German and Italian for the various announcements made by this Bluetooth speaker. Included among the spoken announcements are those for Power on, Power off, Pairing, Paired, Maximum volume and Incoming call. Accompanying this last announcement will be a fading out of the music so that the Thrill can act as a speakerphone using the unit’s built in microphone. If the call is rejected or when it is ended, the music stream will take over control of the speaker’s output.

On the odd occasion that you want to listen to music that might be stored on a device that does not support Bluetooth, such as an MP3 player, you will need to attach it to the 3.5mm jack socket with a lead that you need to provide. As soon as the lead is inserted, the Bluetooth paired link will be lost. Once the lead is removed then pairing will be automatically established and you will need to restart the streaming.

One unusual feature of this Bluetooth speaker was that it would emit a blue pulsing light whenever it was playing audio. This light was position of the left front of the unit. While some other Bluetooth speakers also emit a light, this would only happen to indicate their battery needed recharging. With the Thrill it happens all the time to accompanying the music but not the beat. Some could find this light distracting.

The Thrill delivers its audio from dual active and one passive radiator. Audio quality is reasonable for casual listening. However I did feel the volume level was a little disappointing. I found that I needed to increase the volume from whatever Bluetooth smartphone was linked to the Thrill.

While the price point of the Thrill has been set at £49.99, currently the product is on promo offer from Jam Audio at the special price of £29.99.

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OverallJAM Thrill rated 68 out of 100

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