We’ve gotten our hands on Tunebug’s Vibe portable speaker, a small brushed-zinc triangle which claims its “SurfaceSound” technology turns most surfaces it sits on into a flat-panel speaker.
And, true to its word, the wee Vibe does exactly that. The included Sound Base (really nothing more than a glorified cardboard box) is a good start, and works pretty well as a speaker itself. Though, with the base sitting on the heavy wooden antique sewing machine table I use as a desk, there’s not much for bass.
But we’ll come back to that in a second.
The Vibe’s internal 450mAH LiPoly battery held out for more than six hours of play at high volume, which is better than the five hours Tunebug has written on the product’s info page. It charged back up in just a couple of hours using the USB charger plugged into the iPhone’s outlet-to-USB converter.
Over the course of the last two days, I’ve tested the Vibe on a variety of surfaces at a variety of volume levels and playing a variety of genres. I’ll start by saying that the sheer novelty of SurfaceSound is almost enough to justify the bug’s $70 price tag in itself.
On the other hand, under most circumstances this speaker is not going to cut it for heavy users of dubstep. It has little to no bass on most desks, tables, countertops, etc., even on the Sound Base. What’s more, the felt pad on the bottom is pretty slippery, which causes the bug to shake itself right off of its perch when it’s trying to pump out fat beats. If you want more grip and bass, check out our review of Wowee One.
But there are some surfaces that do work for a fuller sound. Here’s a short list of some of the best and worst places to listen to your music with SurfaceSound.
The three worst:
The washing machine.