Oregon Scientific Boombero pictures and hands-on: Step up smartphone audio without the wires

Boombero is a portable mini speaker which - when we first saw one at a festival during the summer - we were rather impressed with. Even though the iPhone doesn't have NFC (near field communication) like some of its competitors, the Boombero is a halfway-house solution to achieving wireless audio without the battery-drain of Bluetooth. There's zero button pressing, syncing or any of that other faff - just pop the phone on to the Boombero with audio playing and that's it.

So how does it work? The Boombero operates using NearFA (Near Field Audio) which is a patent-pending technology. That's another way of saying that it's a bit secretive and there's little information out there about how it works. It's believed that NearFA syncs the audio signal from inside your device by picking up on the vibrations and soundwaves - which can be achieved only in close proximity to the smartphone and speaker.

That could be an issue with the Boombero - pop a phone on top of the device and if it slips off the audio projection is all but lost. Good job there's a dock-like wedge carved out of the device to accommodate it and keep everything locked down. It also makes for a decent angled platform if you want to watch a movie on a mini scale and want the audio to project out to a group of friends. A bit unconventional to watch on an iPhone, perhaps, but a fun idea.

The Boombero's sound quality is decent enough for its £35 price, but don't expect it to knock your socks off. It amplifies the signal well with its 2.5W output, but the limitation of the device's size means the lower-end, bassier stuff is limited. That's to be expected - size is of key importance for a portable, and the Boombero's got it just right.

Powered by three AA batteries or directly via USB and able to last for an alleged 20-hours per charge, we think the Boombero's ideal for affordable summer fun.



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