[Product Review] The Rokit Boost Rectangle Is a Bluetooth Speaker That Seems Bigger on the Inside
I guess they couldn't call it the Rokit Boost TARDIS?
Rokit Boost sent us their portable Bluetooth speaker “Rectangle” to test out. The Rectangle is little, but it’s fierce. Standing at under three inches tall and less than six inches long, we were really surprised by the quality of sound and the sheer volume the Rectangle could throw out.
Geekosystem HQ isn’t a huge office, but it’s big enough that we didn’t expect a speaker the size of a chalkboard eraser to fill it so completely with sound. With the Rectangle on the other side of the office, you could hear whatever was playing as clear as if the speaker was right next to you.
It doesn’t put out much bass, but there are bound to be some tradeoffs when you’re dealing with something so small.
Even at full volume there isn’t much distortion, and full volume is surprisingly loud. I don’t know if I can trust the “Sound Meter” app I have on my phone, but it says the Rectangle puts out between 80 and 85 dB, which the app compares to a busy street. A large party might be able to drown it out, but if you’re just listening to something with a few friends — or a newsroom full of bloggers wondering why you’re blasting JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound in the middle of a work day — the Rectangle should give you all the sound and volume you really need.
The only real distortion I experienced with the Rectangle was when I had it paired to my laptop with a lot of programs running. It would intermittently make Elvis Costello sound like a Prawn from District 9. Pairing it with my phone hasn’t given me any trouble.
I’ve also just found out that the Rectangle is loud enough that if I turn it up all the way while listening to music, it can wake my daughter up on the other side of the house because I didn’t know she was napping. Whoops.
The Rectangle pairs with any Bluetooth enabled device, but it also has a 3.5mm input jack for any non-Bluetooth devices you have. It’s simple to pair, and unlike Rokit Boost’s Swage 2 headphones I also reviewed, I didn’t find myself needing to switch between devices on the Rectangle.
One thing the Swage 2 have on the Rectangle are the onboard controls to play, pause, or skip tracks. The Rectangle has volume controls, but that’s it. It’s not exactly a deal breaker, but the additional controls would have been nice on the Rectangle as well.
I’ve gotten the most out of the Rectangle’s portability when I’m at home rather than at work. It’s loud enough that I can still hear what I’m listening to if I get up from my office to get something from the kitchen, but it’s also small enough that I can just bring it with me from room to room.
I charged the Rectangle when they first sent it to us about two weeks ago, and haven’t had to recharge it yet. Rokit Boost claims a standby time of two months, music playback time of five hours, and talk time of 33 hours. I’m probably nearing the end of that five hour limit for playback, so the Harvey Danger album I’m listening to might cut out pretty soon, but it sounds great.
The Rectangle, like the Swage 2, has a built-in microphone so the device can be used as a speakerphone. Also like the Swage 2, the microphone is more of an idea than something you’re going to get much use out of. I made a few test calls and compared it to the speakerphone function of my Galaxy S3. Neither are great, but they’re also both serviceable. The advantage to using the Rectangle as a speakerphone is mostly that you can hear the person you’re speaking to better than you can from the speaker on your phone, but expect to have to repeat yourself a few times.
The Rectangle looks nice, and feels well constructed. It weighs just under half a pound, so it’s by no means heavy, but considering its size there’s definitely enough weight to it that it doesn’t feel cheap. The textured grill over the speakers is a nice touch. It might serve some actual function, but I don’t know enough about it to say.
The Rectangle costs $39.99 on Rokit Boost’s site, and that was almost as surprising as how loud this thing can get. I would have guessed $50 minimum. For the price I don’t think you can beat the sound. A quick search for “Bluetooth speakers” on Google Shopping has turned up a few similarly priced options that frankly look cheap. My search also turned up some higher-end options starting around the $150 range that I can’t imagine sound that much better than the Rectangle.
The Rokit Boost Rectangle is a really impressive little device. It’s louder, clearer, and less expensive than I would have guessed by looking at it. It’s likely not going to replace your home stereo any time soon, but if you want something portable that packs a lot of sound, I don’t think the Rectangle will disappoint. It’s really great.
(via Rokit Boost)