NuForce Cube Review

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The tiny Cube speaker is eminently portable and connects via cable to most any device. Like other small speakers, it doesn't have much bass to speak of, but its overall sound quality satisfies and its eight-hour battery life impresses.

The NuForce Cube (starting at $99, Amazon) is a tiny speaker, but most reviewers are impressed with its sound. A NuForce Cube review from Sound and Vision magazine describes the audio as unbelievably clear, with great detail in the mid and high ranges. The reviewer suggests this makes the Cube especially good for listening to jazz and other types of music that don't rely heavily on deep bass, one area where the diminutive speaker is a bit lacking. A NuForce Cube review on the website Gadget Review grants that the Cube delivers just enough bass to add a little depth to the audio, but that's about it. An expert at Digital Trends was likewise impressed with the powerful, distortion-free audio this tiny speaker generates. Although, the lack of bass is noticeable, he says, it's not unexpected, and the NuForce Cube sounds better than any other speaker its size.

The sleek, simple Cube measures a mere 2.3 inches on all sides and comes with a carrying pouch. The built-in lithium-ion battery is said to run for about 8 hours on a single charge. In short, this speaker is ideal for travel. The battery recharges via USB. The NuForce Cube doesn't have a built-in iPod dock, so you'll have to connect your devices with an included cord that plugs into the speaker's 3.5 mm input jack. A selection of four colors amps up the style factor.

The NuForce Cube is not only a speaker but also a headphone amp and a DAC, or digital-to-analog converter, which is intended to improve audio quality. Channeling music from an iPhone through the Cube while listening with headphones doesn't make much of a difference, according to Digital Trends' NuForce Cube review. What you're hearing is the effect of the amp but not the DAC, which kicks in only when you connect a device via USB. Users who don't have very good sound cards in their laptops or desktops will notice a big improvement in sound quality. Plugging into the Cube's USB port bypasses the computer's sound card and channels music through the DAC instead, making it sound much better through headphones.

Small in size but not stature, the Cube is an excellent portable speaker that does triple-duty as a headphone amp and DAC. It works not just with iPods but with any MP3 player, smartphone, tablet, or computer. It has easily the most compact design and longest-lasting battery of any speaker we reviewed, making it a top choice for travel.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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