I love working outside, but the Atlanta summer weather is just too hot and humid. The weather is cooling down finally and I’m now able to move back to our rear deck to do some work. One of the things I also enjoy while I work is listening to music, and while in my office I just stream music through my desktop’s speakers. I don’t have a speaker system wired up (yet) for the deck, so my solution over the last few years has been to just crank up the volume on my iPad. The problem is the sound quality just isn’t all that great, and the volume on the iPad is somewhat limited.
Last week we had a couple days straight of low 80s weather and I got to work out on the deck and test out a new little speaker system from kubxlab (kubxlab.com) that fit the bill. The two little speakers are called Earshots, and when I say little, I mean LITTLE. Each unit is 33mm in diameter and 35mm in height. There’s no independent volume control here, but they are definitely capable of putting out a bit more sound than my iPad.
The speakers are rechargeable — you connect them to a USB port and they fast-charge in less than an hour for a full 5 hours worth of playtime. I only put in 3.5 hours outside, but I left them playing when I came in and I was surprised to find that they went an additional 2 hours before dying.
Each speaker comes with a stretchy coiled cable that will stretch about 3ft and both speakers connect to a USB cable with a splitter. Plug in the USB to charge them, and unplug the USB splitter to go fully mobile. You plug in the standard Sony plug into your mobile device’s audio port and you’re good to go. Because of the coiled cable, you can place each speaker where you like (well, within the stretching distance of both cables).
And I’m not the only one who has used and enjoyed them. My youngest son has some fun book apps that he enjoys but the volume controls are not so great when I select the option to have the book read to him; I’ve showed him how to connect the speakers to my iPad and now the volume is sufficient for him to hear the reading properly.
The Earshots come in silver or red, and I’m quite taken with them. I’ve only got two problems with them, and they are minor issues:
1. There’s no Off switch. If you’re not using them and they’re not plugged into a USB port for charging, the internal lithium batteries (slowly) discharging. A small Off switch would be useful to save a charge. Most of the time I just recharge them after a few hours of usage, but the ability to turn them off would probably save a few dollars per year, right?
2. An LED is on the bottom of each speaker to indicate they are powered, but when you’re listening to the speakers, the LEDs are hidden. I’d like a flashing LED to be visible when the power gets low.
Other than that… these little things do put out some sound! Don’t leave them plugged in (via USB) while using them as any touching of the USB cable would cause a bit of static to be heard from the speakers. I figured out that disconnecting the USB charger cable was the issue and from that point forward the speakers sounded great. They look cool, too, with their aluminum barrel shell. (Oh, and Bonus Points for the crazy-cool packaging that looks like a mini boombox with the Earshots displayed as the speakers — see photo below.)
Note: You can find more information on the Earshots on the product website. I’d like to thank Heather H. for providing me with a pair of Earshots to test.