Jam Trance Mini: Good Sound for the Blind, and Lights for the sighted

Review Category: 

Review: 

Blind people may not need lights, but they look cool to people with some vision. This speaker is small, light, and portable, and it has some cool features as well. But before I get to what it does, I'll start with what comes in the box and a description of the device.
When you get it, you will also get the instruction manual, a sim ejecting tool for pressing the language selection button, and a very short micro USB cable.
It is a small, square speaker, slightly wider than the plus-sized iPhones, (6+, 6s+, 7+, 8+). It is probably about 1/2 inch thicker than the Braille Sense U2 or BrailleNote mPower. I'm not sure of the exact dimensions, but it's still a small and portable speaker. There is rubber on the sides of the speaker.
On the front, you will find the speaker and LED area. This is a 4x4 grid of multi-colored LED lights. On the top, there are 7 buttons in this order:
Power, this button doesn't do anything if it is quickly pressed, but it turns the device on and off if it is held down for a few seconds.
Color, this changes the color of the light program if it is pressed multiple times, but there is no audio feedback that the color is changed. All of the light programs are multi-colored, but pressing this button modifies some of them slightly so that they only have one color.
LED program, this button changes the LED pattern. It has 5, with a sixth pattern that plays a few seconds of each one.
Brightness, Should I even explain this? There are 4 brightness levels: bright, medium, low, and off.
Minus button (-), pressing this button turns the volume down, and holding it skips back to the previous track.
Play/pause, Another obvious button. This button can also be used to answer and hang up calls.
Plus (+), exactly the opposite of the minus button, volume up and next track.
Directly below the brightness button, there is a small hole, this is the microphone for phone calls.
On the right side, there is nothing important. The bottom just has the model number and other information. I scanned it with Seeing AI to read the text. On the left, you will find a rubber flap that opens to reveal a few things, on the top, there is a very small hole with a light and a button inside it. This lights up red to show that it is charging, and you can press the button in to change the language of the speech. Below that, there is a 3.5 mm audio port for connecting directly to a device with a headphone port. Finally, below the audio jack is the micro USB charging port. As I already said, when you plug in the device, the language selection button will light up red. When charging is finished, the light will turn off, but no audio feedback is heard. When the speaker is on, it says that it is charging when you plug it in.
When you get it, if there is still some power, it will be in the demo mode. There is not audio in this mode. There is a button on the top of the box that presses down on the brightness button. When this button is pressed, it will play a few seconds of a light pattern. There is no special way to get out of the demo mode, just take it out of the box, charge it for a few hours, and turn it on. I don't know how long it takes to charge, because I just plug it in over night. The battery should last for about 4 hours with the lights on, but turning the lights off would increase the battery life. If you want to turn the lights off, just remember to press the brightness button three times every time you turn it on, because it defaults to full LED brightness. When you turn it on, you will hear the device say "powering on", and then a few seconds later, "ready to pair". There is no pin code, just go to your bluetooth setting and find Jam Trance Mini, double tap on it, and it is connected within 2 or 3 seconds. This speaker is not the best speaker for hearing VoiceOver because it cuts off the beginning of the sound. It's not too much, but it's enough to cut off the sound feedback of VoiceOver. I would say it cuts off about 100 milliseconds. If you quickly press a button on a device or a key on a keyboard, that's about the time between when you press and release the key. So, it's not too bad, but if you have VoiceOver sounds turned off, it might cut off more of the speech. For those of you who have some vision, you would see that while the speaker is waiting for a device to pair to it, a full screen of green lights with a line of lights that are off going from bottom to top. It's hard to explain, but that's the best way I could describe it. When it is paired, it will say that it is paired and the first light pattern starts. You have 2 minutes to pair it to a device before it turns off, and when it is paired and paused for longer than 15 minutes, it will shut off. When the battery gets low, a totally blind person wouldn't know until it turns off. It doesn't even say that it is powering off, but it just pops off and dies. Visually, you can see a red square of 4 lights in the middle of the screen.
So, for someone who doesn't have any vision, it might be a waste of your money. But if you can see the indications of the LEDs and you think it would be a cool speaker, go ahead and get it. You can get more info on this speaker, you can go to www.jamaudio.com
I think this is an awesome speaker. It's not the best quality, but it's awesome for the price. Normally, it's $49, but since it's been out for a few years, Target has it for about $20. It gets pretty loud when it is connected to my iPhone, but when I connect it to my Braille Sense, it can only get about 80% of the loudest volume when it is paired with my iPhone. I have also used it with my MacBook Pro for a few minutes to test the bluetooth pairing process with VO on the mac. I wish the lights were brighter, but other than that, it was worth the $15 I paid for it. I got it a few weeks after Christmas, so it was cheaper.
Now, to end the review, let's take a look at my favorite thing to do with devices, some secret tips, tricks, and shortcuts. Pressing the color and light pattern buttons together will change the language without using the button. If you press these buttons and the language selection button at the same time, you can re-enter the demo mode. Just turn it on again to get it out. There are a few other random combinations you can use to activate the language selection feature, but the color and light pattern is the easiest for me. You can select between English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, I think. There is also a "No language" option which uses sounds instead of speech to indicate the status of the device.
The speaker doesn't respond immediately to key presses, so you can't hit buttons like you were typing on a keyboard. You also have to press the button for longer than 1/6 second. I know that because I have memorized about how long a second is.
I would also like to say that I'm sorry for any errors. I'm typing on the Braille Sense. I type fast, so sometimes I don't catch my mistakes. Also, I am not sure how to insert things like headings or links, so for people that like to navigate this way, I'm sorry. I don't know if it is possible on the Braille Sense. I'm probably going to get the Braille Sense Polaris soon, so this should improve. Also, I'm sorry if my review wasn't as good as some other reviews on AppleVis. This was my first one, so if there are any problems, please let me know. I hope you enjoyed reading my review of the Jam Trance Mini bluetooth speaker. If you want to get it, you can get it cheap at www.target.com. Just search for bluetooth speakers. If you sort results by price from low to high, you should find it. If you are totally blind, you will want to pass on this speaker and find another one that is more accessible.

Devices Accessory Was Used With: 

iPhone

Rating: 

4 Stars

Disclaimer

The review on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this review.

1 Comment

#1 Nicely done

Good review, like the attention to detail! If I may, if you’re writing about a speaker it would also be helpful to describe the sound profile of the unit on review. Looking forward to more of your reviews cheers… Rocker