Review: Polk Boom Bit Bluetooth Speaker

polk boom bit iconPolk continues their invasion into the Bluetooth speaker market with the petite wearable Boom Bit, but is it any good?

The Boom Bit is small – very small, measuring just 7.5cm x 3.5cm x 2cm. It’s designed to clip onto anything such as a shirt or rucksack strap using its spring steel clip. Although it’s not waterproof like some of its larger siblings such as the Boom Swimmer its rugged rubberised casing will protect it from a lot of abuse and the fact that it only weighs 36g ensures that it is unlikely to sustain much damage through being dropped.

There’s only two buttons on the Bit – Plus and Minus. Hold them both on to power it up. It’s already in Bluetooth discovery mode, so you should be able to connect pretty quickly. Once done the buttons double as volume up/down and next/previous track (when held). A flashing LED lets you know that the unit is powered on and a small musical tone is played on start up.

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  • The front of the Boom Bit shows the removable cap, hiding the USB socket. The two buttons are located on the left.
  • The rear has a strong metal spring clip for attaching the speaker to clothing, a rucksack etc.
  • The cap is attached by rubber, but feels pretty sturdy so is unlikely to snap off unless forced. It's pretty secure when in place too.
  • At the bottom is the microphone (centre), used for hands free voice calls and to the right is the LED which signifies when the device is on and connected.
  • The Polk Bit is marginally louder and clearer than most phone speakers.

At one end of the Bit is a removable (but tethered) cap which hides a standard USB socket. It feels pretty sturdy so is not likely to get lost unless you rip it off. Having a full-size USB is particularly useful over most other speakers, which normally require a mini or micro USB charging cable – that’s fine if you’re at home with cables a-plenty but when you’re out and about you have to grab power where you can.

Another useful feature is the built in speakerphone capability via the microphone in the base, allowing you to have hands-free conversations while on the go. In fact, for many this might be the deal-clincher. I can see this being ideal for cyclists that want to keep their phone safely tucked away but still be able to take calls.

Polk states that the Bit should run for a respectable 3 hours on a full charge at just over half volume. I was not able to test how long it’d last at full volume but would be surprised if it would last much more than two. Having the full USB socket does at least mean you can plug it into a laptop or power bank if need be.

Now onto sound quality.  Don’t expect miracles from something this size. Although it does throw out sound that is louder than a mobile phone it’s not that much louder. Bass levels are similar as well, so this speaker is probably best suited to entertaining you on the journey rather than at the destination, and remember that cranking it up will diminish the battery quicker. Obviously as it’s a single speaker the music will be mono, not stereo, but this is no different to many mobile phones. Don’t get me wrong – sound quality is not bad and is better than your phone is likely to be able to generate, but it won’t be as good as a low-end indoor speaker that’s twice the size. If the Polk Bit ticks the boxes in other areas then this may be a compromise you are willing to make.

I recorded the sound from the Boom Bit versus that of the in-built speakers of an iPhone 6, with both at full volume. As you can see from the sound waves the Bit (first wave) is louder, but only marginally so.

polk bit volume comparison

It’s available in five colours – Black, Sport Blue, Lava (red), Mint Grey and Volt (yellow). At around £30 it’s not going to break the bank, and if you’re in the market for a small and very portable speaker with hands-free capabilities then this may well fit the bill. Just be aware that this is designed for portability rather than sound quality.

Pros:

  • Louder than most phone speakers
  • Small, light and durable
  • Speakerphone capability
  • 3 hours battery (at just over half volume)

Cons:

  • May not be that much louder than some premium phone speakers
  • Not waterproof like some of their other offerings
  • Battery is significantly less at higher volumes