Founded by the son of Bob Marley, Rohan, the House of Marley is an “earth-friendly” electronics company that designs headphones, speakers and watches made from sustainable materials such as hemp, recycled plastic, recyclable metal, bamboo and wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. It also ensures that no forced labour is used in the manufacture of its products.
This chunky portable Bluetooth speaker might be a little heavy to pack in a suitcase (about 1.5kg) but is a handy device for the home and garden. Measuring 30cm x 9.5cm x 7.5cm, it has a built-in rechargeable battery (powered via a micro USB socket or cable and adaptor) with a ten-hour life, and plays music (or podcasts) wirelessly via Bluetooth.
I found it very easy to sync the Marley with my iPhone – but if I received a phone call, the speaker would automatically ring, meaning I’d have to disconnect unless I wanted other people to hear what I was saying. That said, if privacy isn’t an issue, it does have an integrated mic so you can use it as a speakerphone if you choose to.
The neat little unit is made from a mix of recycled plastic, sustainably harvested FSC birth wood, and the company’s own “Rewind” fabric, which is a mix of hemp, organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles. You can choose one of three colourways – Denim, Black or Palm print.
At the back is a “passive radiator”, which is designed to boost the bass, but I found this bamboo panel vibrated a lot when on full volume. Overall, the sound quality from the two 3.5-inch high output woofers and one-inch tweeters was decent, with a respectable volume. It’s not a luxury product, of course, so don’t expect to be blown away. But it offers good value for money and will look nice on a shelf.
PROS Sustainable materials, trendy design
CONS Vibrations at full volume