Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker on a table

Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker Review

December 13, 2013 by Michelle


I’m one of those people who needs background noise wherever I go.  I have the radio on or the tv or music streaming pretty much anytime I can.  My challenge?  Getting good quality sound without a true speaker system, especially when I’m streaming from my phone or iPad.  The Carbon Audio pocket speaker‘s motto of extra small extra loud is right on par with what I need.  I love how it’s so easy to take anywhere, and I can pair two of them together to the same device to create bluetooth stereo sound.

Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker on a table

Needless to say, you can bet that I headed out to my local Apple store to check them out for myself.  They’re sold exclusively at Apple for $99.95 per speaker, and I love shopping at my Apple store because even during the busy holiday season, it’s so easy to get in and out.  I love how every sales associate is essentially a checkout register.  You find someone, they scan your item, swipe your card, and you’re good to go.  I was in and out of the store in under 10 minutes on a Saturday afternoon two weeks before Christmas.  And most of that time was me trying to decide which color speaker to buy.

Carbon Audio pocket speaker with apple store logo

Because yes, there are colors galore.  I debated going with the traditional Apple white.  Or plain black.  But the fun almost neon colors called to me.  There are yellow, blue, pink, and green, too.  I finally decided on a blue speaker that sort of matches my phone case, but mostly because I wanted it to be visible to me so I don’t lose it yet still hide when I want it to be a speaker that isn’t the center of attention at a party.

Carbon Audio pocket speakers on the shelf at Apple

I love the tiny packaging, and when I got it home, it was easy to open and see all that is included.  I love that it is rechargeable and includes everything you need to get started.  The instructions are folded up in with the charging cable, meaning there is less waste, which I love.  Everything is easy to understand and explained on the instruction sheet.  My only issue is that the instructions are slightly inaccurate.  When charging, it states that the light will be red then change to a solid green when fully charged.  I found that the light blinked green when it was charging then shut off once fully charged.

Contents of the Carbon Audio pocket charger

I couldn’t wait to get it set up and play with it.  It was super easy to set up, just plugging the charging cable into my computer and into the speaker.  Because it is a USB on the charging end, I could easily have plugged it into any of the myriad USB chargers I have around the house.  I had my fingers crossed it would charge quickly so I could start playing, and I was pleased to see that my unit was fully charged in around 45 minutes.  The charge should last me about 8 hours of playing time, but I haven’t quite maxed it out yet.

Easy charging of the Carbon Audio pocket speakers

Once charged, I paired it with my iPad.  Simply turn on the speaker, press and hold the Bluetooth button for two seconds, then wait for it to flash and say “ready to pair device.”  My iPad easily found the pocket speaker and connected.  I wasn’t asked for a password, but Carbon Audio generously provides on just in case you need on for your device.  I also tried pairing it with my phone, which was just as simple.  You cannot have it paired with both devices at the same time – I found the easiest way to do this was to turn off the Bluetooth on the device that was to be unpaired and turn on Bluetooth for the new device.  I love that I can use my Carbon Audio pocket speakers for more than one device making them even more useful.

So how have I been using it so far?

I have to say that I’m absolutely in love and just a little bit obsessed.  I don’t have a television or radio in my kitchen, which is where I spend a ton of time cooking.  Usually I stream tv or music from my iPad.  I don’t like having it sit on the counter in my new kitchen because there isn’t much space and I’m paranoid that it will get damaged by food or liquid or knocked over because it’s so big.  I also tend to keep it plugged in so I don’t wear down the battery streaming, which takes up a valuable outlet.  With my Carbon Audio pocket speakers, I can place the iPad up to 30 feet away (and plugged in) and simply have my tiny Bluetooth speakers sitting on my counter out of the way, yet providing great sound.

Carbon audio speakers in the kitchen

Around the holidays, I’m sure I’m not alone in providing music for my parties.  Again, I usually stream music, or my husband turns on the tv to one of the holiday music channels.  Having my iPad out in the middle of the room isn’t very attractive (and I’ll admit that I’m concerned someone is going to knock it over and break it), and I hate having the tv on during party.  With these speakers, you can sneak them in amongst your buffet, and they’re discrete.  Plus, the sound is huge and easily adjustable so when more people arrive, I can easily turn it up, and vice versa as people clear out and the noise of chatter is less.  I’m so impressed with the quality of sound that comes out of this tiny speaker.  The fact that it’s 360 sound coming from both sides means people in every direction can easily hear it, too.  Yes, I got a lot of compliments on my new speaker, and I was a little surprised no one tried to take it home – even as a joke.

Carbon Audio is a perfect party speaker

I’ve also been using my Carbon Audio pocket speakers as my Bluetooth phone.  In Illinois, come January 1, you have to be hands free at all times, not just in the city of Chicago.  I don’t do well with most Bluetooth devices because my ears are small and they simply fall out.  My other challenge is that they’re tiny, and shhh I tend to misplace them.  Now I can use these speakers instead.  When paired with my phone, I can press the Bluetooth button once to answer my phone – which stops playing music once the phone rings – and chat using the speaker.  It has a built-in microphone, so it’s designed for this.  When testing it out, everyone has said that I’m easy to hear and understand.  I think I’ve found my new solution.  I can easily leave my phone in my purse and just have my Carbon Audio pocket speaker sitting in my console if I need to talk.  And it’s big enough that I’m definitely not losing this anytime soon!

Use Carbon Audio pocket speakers as your phone's Bluetooth device

Then there’s my bedtime routine.  I’m one who can’t just plop into bed and fall asleep.  I need to wind down first.  I tend to stream shows from my iPad or listen to radio podcasts.  That’s fine when my husband goes to bed after me, but when I’m still watching or listening and he’s trying to sleep, he’s not happy.  Even with my volume down to 1 on my iPad, it’s still fairly loud.  The Carbon Audio speakers are more finely tuned, so I can get it super quiet – and place my iPad on the dresser near my bed and watch tv from there or listen without fear that I’m going to fall asleep and knock my iPad out of bed – which has happened more than once.  The extra small extra loud pocket speakers are saving me again!

And yes, they are truly extra small, which means I can take them anywhere.  When we were choosing and then decorating our Christmas tree, I simply tucked the speaker into my back pocket and left my phone streaming Christmas music in my purse, hidden safely away.  Everyone was able to hear the music, even as we moved from place to place.  I love how very portable these speakers are!

Carbon Audio pocket speakers in my pocket

Needless to say, this is my favorite Christmas present to myself this year.  I’ve found so many great uses for my new pocket speaker, and I can only bet that I’ll continue to do so into the new year?  How would you use these speakers?

While I initially thought of giving this to my husband for Christmas, I decided that it was far too cool to not keep for myself, so I’m still hunting for a good gift for him.  Although I may give him a second speaker, and then we can pair our two speakers together when we want stereo sound for a party or when streaming shows on my iPad.

That said, a Carbon Audio pocket speaker (or two?) would make a great gift if you can convince yourself not to keep them.  I could see us giving these to my father in law who is a tech geek and works in his garage all the time.  It’d be a great (group) gift for my niece who is in cheerleading and needs to practice her routines outside where she has plenty of space.  I can see my sister enjoying it in her office to provide ambient music for her clients while they’re waiting or for her as she’s doing paperwork – or both since they’re so portable she can take them anywhere.

Part of what makes this a great gift is the fact that you don’t need to know what platform your recipient uses.  These speakers may be sold only via Apple, but they are compatible with most Bluetooth enabled devices.  That means if you have an iPhone or an Andoird, you can still use it.  If you have an iPad or a Windows tablet, you’re set.  You can even use the included 3.5mm hybrid Aux cable to play music from any analog music device.  Even better?  The pocket speakers come in a rectangular plastic container that is easy to wrap as a holiday gift.  The hardest part?  Deciding what color to give for these #PocketBoom speakers! #shop #cbias


  • Thien-Kim

    I haven’t tried it as a speakerphone yet. What a great idea! #client

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