The funny thing about gadgets is that sometimes you buy them thinking they’re going to change your life… but they don’t. And sometimes you buy them on a whim, and they do change your life.
It’s probably a stretch to say that 808 Audio’s CANZ Bluetooth speaker “changed my life”, but it was an impulse purchase that I ended up being very pleased with. See, the missus and I have a Sam’s Club membership, and we go there every couple of months to pick up the same six items: bacon, gallon-size tea bags, generic Benadryl, lotion, and a few other things. We were there a few months ago when I spotted a display of Bluetooth speakers on sale for $19.99. I figured at that price, it wouldn’t be a big loss if it sucked.
But the thing is, it doesn’t suck. Yes, the speaker tries way too hard to put out bass, and yes it rattles so much at higher volumes that it slowly moves across tables, desks and anything else you put it on. At high levels the sound becomes quite distorted. But at moderate levels the sound is quite good, and the Bluetooth works well. I’ve had no trouble pairing it with my new iPod nano, my Asus MeMo tablet, or my Samsung phone. The speaker is smaller (much smaller) than a drink can, so you can have Bluetooth-enabled goodness everywhere you go!
I carried it on a couple of trips, and it was nice having music in the hotel room. I sometimes take it downstairs to listen to when doing household chores, too. But the awesomeness of the thing didn’t really hit home until I carried it to a local brew shop.
If you’re not into the whole “craft beer thing”, you might not know that there are beer stores out there that have sofas and tables, and the owners encourage people to stay a while and enjoy themselves, much like how cigar shops have long had comfy sofas and newspapers lying around so customers can relax for a while. But the thing is, many of these craft beer stores have a BYOE policy: bring your own entertainment. I took my Android tablet and this speaker to a local beer shop one night, and had a GREAT TIME passing the tablet around and letting my friends queue up tracks in Spotify. It was downright magical, really, and it was all possible thanks to this speaker. Sure, there are tons of better Bluetooth speakers out there, and there are many speakers in the same small form factor that sound better. But you won’t find them for $19.99. In fact, you probably can’t find a better bang for your buck anywhere!
Don’t just take my word on it: PC Mag says pretty much the same thing: there are better Bluetooth speakers out there, but you won’t find them in such a small size for so low a price.