Review: Tempo Batteryless Acoustic Amplifier

When this showed up at my doorstep the other day, I was somewhat excited, yet excruciatingly worried. I love listening to music from my iPhone, especially as I sit and code all day. Having a way to play music louder to keep me awake (something I have to do since Coke discontinued Surge) always excites me, and to be able to do it conveniently - even when on the go! - is a huge plus. Not to have to worry about keeping some Bluetooth speaker charged or to remember to bring a cable with me is something that I was excited about. A picture on a computer and real life prove to have a different effect on how I view a product. On screen the item looked decently cool, but IRL I was worried. So before I blow my the verdict prematurely, I’ll get back into the review…

Design

There really isn’t much to it, it’s a creatively designed piece of…um…plastirubber? It’s kinda hard to explain. It’s actually quite neat in person. An old school style acoustic amplifier - a la your grandma’s record player - is an impressive little piece of art that fits snug on the bottom portion of your iPhone. It gives you complete access to the Home Button, as well as a slot at the bottom for 30-pin cable attachment. It’s highly durable, and is a piece of cake to clean.

The way it sits on your iPhone, you’ll be able to stand the iPhone up vertically as well as horizontally. So you can take this anywhere and use it anywhere. Just throw it in your bag and be on your way. From what I’ve found online, you can get this in white, black, red and purple. I think having some vintage styles to really mimic an old Stenograph would be quite nice.

Sound Quality

As you eventually hear when you watch the incredible video I shot below, you’ll hear the difference in sound coming from the iPhones sharty speakers and once it is placed into the Tempo. I’ve been using this little guy for a few days now, and at first I was sitting close to the device letting it ruin the quality of sound that would bellow out of it. But I realized that sitting with my head buried into the amplifier is a bad idea. The sound will be so much more crisp if I give myself some distance. Now, I am not saying you have put it outside and listen deep in the hallows of your bathroom, but not holding the iPhone in your hand with this attached will be a good idea.

I have no way of testing the db difference between Tempo and naked iPhone, but a quick search on the internettings, resulted in about a 10db difference between the two. This might not sound like a big difference, but when presented with both, you’ll prefer the Tempo over the iPhone speaker.

The iPhone has a loud speaker, but it isn’t the best on the market. At times, you’ll hear some obnoxious sound coming out that - for lack of better words - sounds like crap. With a foot-and-a-half distance or so between me and the Tempo-clothed iPhone, I actually enjoyed the sound that was coming out of the iPhone. Albeit, the sound can sometimes sound hallow, it is a much crisper, cleaner and loud sound that is coming out.

The Good

  • Creates a better sound from your iPhone
  • Amazing Price
  • Easily portable
  • Insanely durable
  • Vertical and horizontal stand
  • Access to 30-pin connector

The Bad

  • Won’t fit if you have a case
  • Looks cheap
  • Cruddy sound up close

Wrap Up

Overall, the Tempo is a great product for the price. If it were any more than $10, I would have to say, “save up and get something better,” but at this price, it’s a nice little accessory you can throw in your back and take anywhere. You won’t have to worry about charging a speaker, or keeping a cable with you. The sound won’t be the best around, but for the price, and for what it is, it’s a nice little find!

Pick one up for yourself or a friend now!

Binary Wasteland’s Rating: 3.5/5

Video

Gallery

This was a review I wrote and posted over at Binary Wasteland. We decided Gadgetsteria would be a better home, so we included it here. Enjoy!