Review: Bem HL2022B Bluetooth Mobile Speaker

 

Quarter not included. Shown for size comparison only. Get a job.“I love that little thing.”

No, that wasn’t Dr./Mrs. Olbogatory discussing my manly endowment. It was her comment on the Bem (pronounced “beam”) HL2022B Bluetooth Mobile Speaker that I bought at Costco a few weeks back.

Dr./Mrs. Oblogatory tends to be ambivalent, at best, about new home technology, so her endorsement says a lot. It says that the combination of form and function in this little device meets her high standards. It’s small and it’s not ugly, both of which rank high on her list. It works great and sounds amazing for its size, which are high on my list.

I paid about $40 for it. It’s not in my nearest Costco anymore, nor is it on Costco.com, but it is on Amazon. It’s listing for $50.42 as I write this, but the price fluctuates often, and it qualifies for 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime.

I listen to a lot of voice programming (NPR, baseball, podcasts, etc.) when I’m in the kitchen, and the iPhone’s speaker, while amazing for its size, isn’t loud enough. Playing this kind of audio through our home stereo didn’t cut it either, because the dynamic range of the podcast-type programming I listen to isn’t a strength of our full-size speakers. I don’t like wearing headphones for very long, and I didn’t want some big, expensive dock-type device. In short, I needed a little something-something to amplify audio from my phone. For 40 bucks, I took a chance on the little Bem.

It works great. It comes with a little patch cord, so you can connect it to the iPhone’s headphone jack, or you can connect via Bluetooth. I do both. The patch cable connection sounds a little better, but Bluetooth gives you more mobility with your phone. Another plus about the patch cable is that I can use it with my iRig iPhone guitar interface and use the Bem like a mini practice amp.

How does it sound? Great for a little tiny speaker. It’s especially ideal for the talk programming I use it for most.

Are you going to get room-filling sound out of this little guy? No, but you’ll get ample smartphone sound reinforcement and good clarity in a small, wireless package.