I had been looking for a new pair of satellite speakers for my computer, but I did not want wires strewn all over my office – the RocketBoost Wireless Bookshelf Speakers seemed to be the answer to my problems, but first appearances can be a bit deceiving. I have had the privilege of using a number of other speakers throughout my career that have promised things they couldn’t deliver, so needless to say that I went into this review without expecting miracles. While the RocketBoost Speakers might not have been completely perfect though, they did work considerably better in some areas than I had expected.
For starters, the RockerBoost Wireless Bookshelf Speakers are not completely wireless. Yes, they are wireless from the base transmitting station to the actual speakers themselves, but the speakers have to be connected to each other by a wire. I know that making both speakers truly wireless would have ended up jacking the price up a good bit, but had that been the case these things would have been one of my number one recommendations to people. For my office, the cord to connect the speakers was just long enough for me to be able to set them up how I wanted on the back wall, but anyone wanting to sit them farther than six feet apart will have a real issue with the cord length – they’re definitely not suitable for a full sized living room.
Another thing that I didn’t like was that there are no digital audio input. No HDMI and no optical ports means you’re stuck with standard analog sound, which might not be too big of an issue for most people, but everything else in my house uses digital sound so it was a bit disheartening to have to switch – there are decoders you can buy though if you really need to run these with a digital source.
So with those negatives out of the way we can get into why I am still using these, and don’t plan on stopping any time soon. First off, the sound from these two speakers is phenomenal. Even though I know the sound is coming from an analog source, I swear it sounds better than the sound my old speakers put out – and they were hooked up to the optical port. While I may be using them as surround speakers right now, during the course of the review I tried them as my main left and right speakers as well, and if I had other speakers for surround I would still be using these up front.
The highs were nice and crisp, the mids came out full, and the lows didn’t distort at high volumes which kept everything sounding great. I didn’t just listen to music on these though; no, I ran the gambit of what my PC could do. Watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy through these really sounded good – not as good as running it through my home Denon system mind you, but better than I had been used to hearing from my PC. Games also sounded better than I was used when not using headphones. I tried playing some Battlefield 3 through the RocketBoost speakers, and I was picking up sounds that I had only heard before when I was using a good set of headphones.
Size is always a concern for me when putting things in my office, and thankfully the RocketBoost speakers aren’t overly large. They are about the size of two “Song of Ice and Fire” softcover volumes each, so they’ll fit on any shelf pretty much perfectly. Not only that, but the transmitter is about a quarter the size of one of those speakers, so it takes up practically no space on your desktop. It has two antennas connected to it, so you know the range will be pretty good on it. I was able to move the speakers pretty much anywhere in my house and the speakers got a signal from the transmitter. My office is in the middle of the house pretty much, so even going up a floor or down to the basement kept them working fine, the only time I lost the signal was moving outside to the deck about 30 feet away from the transmitter and through four walls (one an outside wall). Pretty good for something so small.
One of the other great features for this system, is that RocketBoost has an app available for your iOS devices to control the speakers. It’s a bit of a pain to get set up, but once you get it up and running, the app is pretty much golden. RocketBoost is basically going for an “AirPlay” vibe with this app, and it definitely does what it is supposed to do. I would have loved if it was as easy to set up as Apple’s AirPlay is, but this is their first try at getting it set up and running right – I’m sure in time it will get better and easier.
The Bottom Line: These speakers work really well for the cost and size of them, but a few things missing keeps them from getting the elusive perfect score.
- The speakers sound amazingly good for how small they are and for only being analog
- The range of the wireless transmitter is almost as far as a wireless N router’s range
- Once you get the iOS app set up right, it works as well (if not slightly better) as Apple’s AirPlay
- The cord to connect the speakers to each other is only six feet (meaning the speakers aren’t fully wireless)
- There is no digital inputs meaning everything is analog on these
- Unfortunately the app is a hassle to get all set up on the PC end
You can get the RocketBoost Wireless Bookshelf Speakers from Best Buy for $129.98