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Monday, May 13, 2013

i-box Twist review: an inexpensive portable Bluetooth speaker that packs a punch

i-box is a new name in portable audio, but don't let that put you off: the company clearly knows a thing or two about sound.

Of course, the other reason the Twist stands out is because of precisely that: the twisted design. It's bigger than the Braven 650, but weighs about the same thanks to a soft plastic finish rather than aluminium.




Its built-it battery is much smaller (and lighter too) so it will last around five hours when playing streamed Bluetooth audio from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Braven's 650 will last 20 hours, or you can choose to use the capacity to top up your smartphone or any other USB gadget's battery for that matter.

The i-box Twist also works as a hands-free kit for phone calls thanks to a built-in noise-cancelling microphone, but that's hardly a unique feature of portable Bluetooth speakers these days. It's a nice feature to have as you can take a phone call while listening to music from your phone - the music will pause during the call, naturally.


If you want to play music from a gadget without Bluetooth, simply use the included minijack cable. Charging is via mini USB; no mains adapter is included, but chances are you already have one.

Buttons on top of the Twist let you adjust volume, play and pause music and turn the unit on and off.

Given the low price, we were surprised at both the quality and loudness of the Twist. It has two 38mm drivers on the right-hand side and a passive bass 'radiator' behind them, with its own grille.

For such a small speaker, it's capable of punching well above its minimal weight and gives speakers more than twice the price a run for their money - matching or beating some models. The only niggle is a lack of stereo separation.


Although bass isn't room shaking, it's still better than other speakers this size, although it helps if you place the Twist in a corner or near a wall.

Listening to Eric Clapton's Old Love, guitars were bright and clear, as were vocals. Those who prefer music with more bass will appreciate the extra clarity in pop tracks compared with even the Braven 650.

There's no AptX support, but even with compression, the i-box sounds great for the money. Given that you can now pick the i-box Twist up for under £50, it's pretty much unbeatable.

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