Bluetooth bamboo speaker bangs out the beats

Photo:Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Photo:Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Wood. It’s just better.

This portable bluetooth speaker uses sustainable bamboo to wrap a pretty great little speaker up in the warm resonance of wood. Kickstarted and made by the folks at Otis & Eleanor, the Bongo portable bluetooth is capable and beautiful at the same time.

There are Bongo designs for everyone, some with dark brown stain, some with black, and some with no stain at all. The speaker grilles come in a variety of ’60s and ’70s-inspired fabric with colors straight out of your mom’s old living room. The unit we got to spend time with comes with brown, copper, gold and red tweed covered speakers and fits in just about any decor we can throw at it around the house. It also looks stunning in a hotel room, what with its classic retro look.

According to the original Kickstarter page, the Bongo uses APT-X best-in-class audio decompression software, 1.5-inch drivers with Rare Earth Magnets and Dual 1.75-inch Passive bass radiators in airtight compartments. But how does it sound? Pretty damn good, to be honest. It’s not as bass-heavy as some speakers I’ve played around with, but the sound spectrum is clean and clear with subtle highs, quality mids, and decent bass response.

It can get pretty loud, too, without any noticeable distortion. The Bongo fills up a medium-sized room well, and can be heard even in a larger space outdoors. It’s kind of perfect for an office, as well, and would class up any cubicle.

The Bongo comes in a delightful little cloth bag that looks like it should be made of hemp, with a button to hold the speaker in and another buttoning pocket on the front where you can store the included micro USB cord for charging.

This lovely little speaker charges quickly (about 3 hours or so from an empty battery) and lasts for a long time — up to 8 hours in my use. Connecting to the thing was stupid easy, and I was able to get it to connect and remember connections from my iPhone, Macbook Pro, and my daughter’s Android phone.

There’s a on/off switch to avoid unintended battery drain, and a standard audio-in port on the side of the speaker, as well, making this a fantastic, well-rounded device that you’ll want to show off to everyone.

For $140, it might seem a bit pricey, but it compares favorably to other similar bluetooth speakers I’ve enjoyed over the years. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants a great sounding speaker with a gorgeous, consciously-designed, retro-feeling exterior.

Check out the website for more color and purchasing options.

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About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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