What matters most in your secondary sound systems: sound quality, convenience, completeness, portability, or superhero references? I tested the FoxL Dash 7 Bluetooth stereo soundbar from SoundMatters, a minute speaker that seems destined to be paired with tablets and could never say no to a phone. If you can compromise on the superhero item, we’ve got a complete, elegant portable speaker solution at a full-size price.
The FoxL Dash7 is about the size of a moderately sized TV remote: 7.5″ x 2.1″ x 0.75″. Unlike a remote, its outside is sleek and almost featureless, with only three small buttons plus a status light. It weighs only 7.1 ounces–about the same as four large eggs.
The buttons serve to increase volume, decrease volume, and on/off/connect Bluetooth.
The Dash7 is a prime example of minimalism. I like its sleek design, easy-carry size, and large, secure rubber feet that helped it stay where I set it. Unlike most small Bluetooth speakers, it comes with a form-fitting case. This wraps and fastens magnetically and also serves as a sort of origami stand (see photo at top). The Dash7 itself is available in four colors, which means that the sides (.75 inches tall) come in those colors, while the back and the speaker mesh on the front are black in all versions.
What’s in the box:
• Charging kit with wall adapters
• Micro USB cable
• 3.5 mm audio cable
• Wraparound case and stand
• User Guide
This makes a useful selection of accessories: I appreciate the case, which protects the speaker during the travels that are inevitable for a speaker this size, and then it also provides support in a slanting position. The case does not serve as a carrying bag: I had to carry cables and chargers in one of my other elegant carrying solutions. Since there are several cables, you can power or charge from the wall (SoundMatters advises that output is much louder with AC power) and still have the other cable for powering on the go with a laptop. There is also an add-on subwoofer available from SoundMatters for an additional cost.
The sound from the Dash7 is good–loud enough to fill our family room, since none of us demanded head-banging volume. The Bluetooth is strong enough to work over significant distances; I tested it across two rooms of my house, where it connected beautifully. The music sounded best when it was not cranked up to full volume, because at that level it started to fuzz up with spots of distortion.
I listened to a variety of music and this was our favorite amplifier when streaming movies from a compact projector. The Dash7 delivered room-filling sound that did not require massive tinkering for the Bluetooth. It did require me to remember (or occasionally, look up in the well-written, concise User Guide) the button and status light patterns. Going forward, I am using a small cheat sheet inside the case to help me remember the most-needed information. One flap of the case is cleverly taken up with a useful diagram of how to construct the origami stand for the speaker.
The battery is specially designed to aid in delivering bass, and you can further adjust that by laying the Dash7 down flat on a solid surface (bassiest), standing it up straight (clearest), or standing it in its case (moderate). The battery is advertised to provide 12 hours of sound on a charge. I played mine for over 10 hours on a single charge after having already gone through multiple charge-and-play cycles.
It also can be used as a speaker phone enhanced with noise-cancelling technology–either via Bluetooth or using the 3.5 mm audio cable connection. I connected with Bluetooth and experienced some feedback when the phone and speaker were too close to each other, plus I had to speak close to the mic on the Dash7, but it did amplify the person on the other end of the line, making our family call-ins loud and clear.
I mostly used the Dash7 with my iPad. It is a good companion for tablets large and small and is only somewhat larger than most cell phones. The elegant, minimalist design displays well with product design from Apple or similar items. This minimalism leads to one challenge (common to many Bluetooth speakers): remembering the combinations of button presses that control the speaker and what the various flashing lights mean. SoundMatters provides an audio cable to bypass the need for Bluetooth, so that is one possible simplification.
The Dash7 mostly performed well, but there are a few drawbacks.
• Great sound
• Long battery life
• Good Bluetooth range
• Very portable
• Combined case and stand
• Useful accessory package of cables and power wall adapters
• User Guide is concise and helpful
• Status lights, buttons seem arcane, like decoding an alien dashboard
• Speaker phone has minimal capabilities
The FoxL Dash7 turned out to be a superhero speaker with a mighty sound from a mighty mite body and with sidekick capabilities that rescue you from irritation and lost time. If you’re looking for great sound in a small package, get heroic sound from the FoxL Dash7. Manufactured by SoundMatters, suggested retail price $199; available from Amazon and major audio retailers.
GeekMom received this item for review purposes.