Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar Review: Give the iPad's Tinny Audio a Tiny Boost

The iPad's speaker is adequate if you're in an environment of absolute silence. But if there's any ambient noise at all, you'll find yourself rewinding to hear dialogue. The Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar could be a remedy to that problem. But does it do more than just amplify the noise?

What Is It?

A bar-shaped Bluetooth stereo speaker that latches on an iPad edge or a laptop display.

Who's It For?

Someone who wants more audio power than the device's puny built-in speakers.

Design

Unoffensive. The foot-long cylinder, with its egg-shaped profile and slot, is clad in soft touch rubber. A hole exposes an iSight camera or an iPad home button.

Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar Review: Give the iPad's Tinny Audio a Tiny Boost

Using It

Slide an iPad into the stand. (Don't cover the volume buttons!) Pair it with the device. Lie it flat on the table, or pull out a tucked-in pin, screw it to the back, and use the speaker as a stand.

The Best Part

A device that combines speakers and stand is an ideal setup for TV and movie watching. It saves the hassle of dealing with two separate accessories.

Tragic Flaw

The sound isn't all that great, especially on music. Pops and hisses were prevalent over Bluetooth. Even on an audio cable, the sound lacked depth and nuance for a speaker this size. Sure, you're paying more for the design than the mechanics, but still.

Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar Review: Give the iPad's Tinny Audio a Tiny Boost

This Is Weird...

The Zooka suffers from a common Bluetooth glitch—it occasionally makes everything warbly until you disconnect and reconnect.

Test Notes

  • Tested with an iPad 2 and 13-inch MacBook Pro.
  • The volume, power, and Bluetooth buttons can be found at the bottom, along with USB power and a 3.5mm jack for wired audio sources.
  • To pair the speaker: Turn it on, hold down the Bluetooth button for 5-10 seconds to activate pairing mode, and select it from the Settings menu in iOS (or Preferences in OS X).
  • Compared it against the NuForce Speaker Cube, which is a great little speaker as far as sound quality goes.
  • Watched movies on Netflix and streamed tracks from Spotify.
  • Comes in eight fun colors.

Zooka Wireless Speaker Bar Review: Give the iPad's Tinny Audio a Tiny Boost

Should You Buy It?

This is the epitome of a niche product. The convenience of a stand and speaker baked into a single item is the main attraction here. So unless you're particularly enamored with the design, if you don't watch much video on a tablet, don't bother. And even those who do watch a lot of video may want to think twice before sinking $100 into a decent stand with a lackluster speaker.


Carbon Audio Zooka
• Drivers: 2 x 30mm
• Battery: 8 Hours
• Price: $100
Gizrank: 3.0