10/25/2013 04:29 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

FoxL Dash 7 Review (Bluetooth speaker)

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to create a great Bluetooth speaker, but it evidently helps. Dr. Godehard Guenther, the founder, president and CEO of Soundmatters - makers of the FoxL Dash 7 (black/black, black/white, black/red) - is indeed a former rocket scientist, and boasts Ph.D.s in astronomy, nuclear physics and physical chemistry.
With all that, you might expect the Dash 7 to glow in the dark. It doesn't - it's more a sober black, and quite elegant. The white and red versions are mostly black as well, with a color stripe on the side, around the circumference of the speaker.
The elegance also comes from the distinctive shape of the device - long and thin, perfect for using next to a tablet. It's dimensions are Height: 0.75 inches / 18mm x Width: 7.5 inches / 190mm x Depth: 2.1 inches / 53mm. Weight is a mere 7.1oz / 201 grams.
That's very svelte, but this speaker punches above its weight. Translation: you get more volume, and more bass, out of the Dash 7 than expected. That bass is accomplished partially by using the internal battery as a weight to increase the bass. That makes the Dash 7 great for watching movies on a tabby.
What about rocking out at parties? Here, it depends on the size and noise of your get-together. The Dash 7 can't deliver quite the volume of, say, the JBL Charge (reviewed in my Bluetooth speaker roundup). It comes close, but at the cost of some distortion.
The Dash 7 also doesn't deliver as much bass as the JBL Charge, which is a larger and heavier device. Instead, the sound is a bit brighter in the mids and highs, and the bass is noticeably less present.
That said, the Dash 7 is a versatile speaker that's easy to carry on trips around town, on campus or across the country.
In fact, it's a great speaker to carry around the world. That's because the box includes 4 different wall plug adapters that slip on to the USB charger. You have a choice of two cables to plug in to the adapter. One is the expected micro USB cable, while the other is a hybrid USB / round pin cable. The manual says that the latter charges the speaker much faster than the micro USB cable.
Also included is a 3.5mm cable for use with non-Bluetooth sound sources, such as an older phone. And, of course, there's a manual. This one's no afterthought - kudos to the tech writer and colleagues for a well-designed, well-written booklet. It's 7 pages, long and thin (the same shape as the speaker), the equivalent of 14 normal size pages.
A couple caveats about the Dash 7: it's also a speakerphone, but the party at the other end of my test call could scarcely hear me because of excessive feedback. That may be because the microphone is behind the speaker grill, i.e., right next to the speaker itself, unlike the placement in most Bluetooth phones.
Also, the manual says the speaker says that the Dash 7 can be paired with up to eight phones, tablets and other Bluetooth devices (only one can be in use at the same time, of course). That's capacious, but here again a caveat: if you want to pair with a ninth device, you have to manually erase all eight from memory. That's unfortunate. Most Bluetooth speakers simply bump the oldest device from memory. Still, it's unlikely that you'll ever hit this limit unless you share the Dash 7 among more four roommates, each of whom uses two devices as music sources.
Missing from the box is a cloth carry bag. It would have been a nice touch, given all the cables and ac adapters. However, as far as protecting the speaker itself, the box includes a carrying sleeve with magnetic flaps. The case also unfolds to make a stand that holds the Dash 7 at an angle. The speaker also has rubber feet, so you can simply set it face up on your desk.
Another nice feature, not seen on most Bluetooth speakers: the Dash 7 has a subwoofer output. You can use this with the Soundmatters FoxLO palm-sized subwoofer (not reviewed).
All in all, the FoxL Dash 7 (black/black, black/white, black/red) is a sleek speaker that's sure to delight. It's not inexpensive, but if you want a high-quality speaker that's small, lightweight and attractive, it's a great choice.
For more Bluetooth speakers, check out my Bluetooth speaker roundup. For other reviews (especially of devices for mobile, click here.
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided product for this review.