Review: Wowee One Slim Portable Speaker

By Mike Wheeler

If you want to share your sounds from your iPod or other MP3 player, then a decent portable speaker is the way to go. These days you can get a myriad of portable devices that meet the brief, including the Wowee One Slim.

However, this device comes with a twist – it is supposed to amplify the bass sound of your music when you put it on a surface as opposed to being an out-and-out standalone speaker. Does it work?  Kind of.

Out of the box, it is a little bit smaller than most smartphones, but a lot thicker and heavier. It is very easy to operate. You have an audio cable that plugs into the device, and the other end goes into your MP3 Player, in my case an iPod, and you’re away.

Now for the tests. First, I put it on my desk, which is made of wood, and cranked up The Clash’s Tommy Gun. There was a split second of distortion, before the sound came out and it was OK,but not spectacular. However, there was one major problem – and this is what I found on most surfaces – in that the unit vibrates when played at high volume. In the set of instructions, it does offer up a troubleshooting page about common problems that might occur, including what to do if the bass is too strong, which was what was happening in this case. Their answer? Turn the volume down. To which I say, “doesn’t that negate part of the purpose of having a portable speaker in the first place?”

The second surface I tried was a plastic bin, which was more conducive to what we the speaker is designed to do. This time it was Keane’s Bend and Break. Once you put the speaker on the bin you could easily notice the difference in sound. There was no vibration, but the bass was definitely louder when on the surface than off it.

There are a few of things to remember about the Wowee One Slim. It does not have a traditional plug to power up the internal battery, you have to use the supplied USB cord and charge it via your PC or laptop. It’s also important to remember that when the audio cord is plugged into the device – even if the other end is not connected to your MP3 player – it is draining the battery. The colour lights that indicate the state of the device will tell you if the unit is on. If you are a true-blue audiophile and want crisp, clear sounds then this is not for you. This is not about getting your MP3 player to pump out music that sound like your home audio system, but being able to hear your music at the beach or barbecue without having to take a mini system with you.

 You should also be aware that it says it will last up to 20 hours, but it doesn’t say at what volume. We had it on and off over a two day period. By the end of the second day, the green light indicator came on, which tells you that there is only 10 percent of battery life left.

Overall, this device is OK at best. My main concern is the vibration when the volume is high, but if you don’t like your music too loud, then this will fit nicely in you backpack or purse, or even pocket at a stretch. I think the idea of what a Wowee is supposed to be is quite clear, but whether it pulls it off is another matter.

Pros: Nice and portable, reasonable sound for what it is, good battery
Cons: Vibrates too much when volume is up; pricey

2.8 Shacks Out Of 5

RRP
$139

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