For every expensive audio component out there, there are countless cheaper alternatives; some good, some not-so-good. Aluratek makes and markets all kinds of affordable tech from eBook readers to internet radios. The Bump portable mini speaker is just what the name Implies, a speaker you can take with you in your backpack for those times when earphones aren’t practical or you just want to share your tunes.
The speaker is very compact, round and pops up to reveal the on/off switch and USB hookup. What bass there is becomes more noticeable when you “bump” it to pop it up, hence the name of the speaker.
The connection couldn’t be simpler. Either use the (very) short, attached miniplug cable to connect to you mp3 player and the USB cable (supplied) to connect to a laptop when charging is necessary. The USB hookup charges a built-in 4 hour lithium-ion battery. The bottom of the Bump has an indicator light that glows red for charging and blue when turned on. The miniplug cable cleverly tucks away into the base of the speaker.
To play, tap the top to extend the base revealing the on/off switch and then make the appropriate connection. There are only two volume choices once you turn on the speaker in place of a volume knob. I kept the selection on the Volume Level 1 choice (lower volume) for a simple reason. When switched to Volume Level 2, the Bump distorts all over the place. It becomes unlistenable. Besides, the volume control on my iPod works with the Bump, so I can easily compensate that way. Note that with Volume Level 1, you can turn up the iPod all the way and still only get moderate listening volume. And since the Bump distorts at Volume Level 2, that’s about as loud as you would want it, anyway.
I much preferred using the Bump with my iPod than a laptop. Apart from the battery charging benefit, the Bump sounded marginally better than my laptop speakers. The Bump seems to work better with older recordings since they don’t usually tax speakers the way newer music can. As long as the bass is not overpowering, the Bump seems happy to do its thing.
The Aluratek Bump is not a room-filling party speaker. It’s more of a background speaker with the listener sitting next to it. It provides modest output from modest input. For $20, you can’t ask for more and that makes the Bump portable mini speaker not a bad deal at all.