I asked our PR agent why House of Marley kept being interested in sending us review items when I generally thought they were just ok and reviewed as such, they had no answer, I expected another inoffensive average star gadget with a price tag reflecting a lifestyle, not performance.

    I got the House of Marley Chant Mini and had mini expectations. I really should go into all these reviews with an open mind, but I knew the build quality was going to be excellent and the style would reflect the House of Marley brand well, I just expected the audio to be meh.

    When I fired it up in the office I had to very quickly shut it down and go outside. That was unexpected. This thing is loud.

    I slapped it on near my car and quickly discovered I needed to move out of the parking lot because everyone coming into the office was being greeted by a superhero movie soundtrack while I’m standing around in an Iron Man shirt.

    I moved around to the back of the building and cranked it. Music was loud enough that I could hear everything perfectly at the extreme range of Bluetooth pickup (about 26 feet if I measured it right.) The Chant Mini really reminds me of my first HMDX Jam, which to this day is what I measure all other speakers by. It seems slightly louder than the Jam did although I feel that comes with a slight loss of bass.

    The thing has a microphone for all those phone calls you may want to make on a portable speaker, and can take audio input via a 3.5mm standard stereo headset cable if you want to save some battery on Bluetooth.

    Speaking of which, they claim the battery will last about six hours which does not exactly fit the bill of “extra long battery life” that they advertise on the package (that’s average these days.) The documentation says it will take up to three hours to charge from dead, but it looks more like only slightly over two.

    Anyway, highly impressed with this, it functions at a $30+ speaker performance range. Now add on some for the look, the build quality, the Marley brand and… eh, a little overpriced for me, but I’m not a brand loyalist (yes, I know I have had HTC devices forever, they’re what I’m ok at writing about.)

    House of Marley Chant Mini review

    I hung the Chant Mini on a fence and walked until the Bluetooth started fritzing. Audio was still loud enough to hear. That’s the mini near the top of the fence near rightish of center.

    Quick rundown of the bad:

    • Not waterproof
    • You’re putting an extra $20 into good looks and a brand name
    • Battery life is just average
    • Bass is perfect at low volumes only
    • Documentation fairly limited
    • Bamboo casing may attract pandas

    Other than that, I dig it. As a note, I could have made about three hundred Marley music jokes here but I decided to refrain due to lack of humor brought on by too little coffee and the sneaking suspicion I would somehow have misheard a lyric.

    You can grab several different colors of the House of Marley Chant Mini at Amazon although this is the one I reviewed. Prices are different for different coverings.