Tweakers

by Doc Coleman - Nifty Tech Editor on May 9, 2011 · 12 comments

in Hardware

These days we have so many digital devices that play audio it isn’t funny. Smartphones, computers, MP3 players, even handheld games. Some of these devices have built in speakers to let you play audio, but most of them just come with earbuds, if they have anything at all. For the most part, those speakers are pretty low quality, and the earbuds aren’t really comfortable enough to wear for any length of time. You can get a decent pair of headphones, but those aren’t useful if you want to share your audio with friends. What you need is a decent pair of speakers that also happens to be small and portable. Something that goes with your mobile device.

We went looking for something to fit this bill, and we found Tweakers, the small and portable speakers by Grandmax. To be perfectly honest, we also found the Chill Pill speakers by Chill Pill Audio. This is notable because as far as we can tell, these two products are exactly the same. The only difference appears to be the name. We don’t know if one product is a real product and the other a knockoff, or if they are manufactured by a third party and licenced to Grandmax and Chill Pill. Such things do happen in manufacturing. What we do know is that these little speakers do perform. They retail for about $30, but with a little careful shopping online, you can probably find one of these products for a little more than $20. We got a hold of a pair of Tweakers for this review, so that’s who we’re crediting.

What you get in the box.

If you’re going to be using Tweakers, you will need two more things to make the most of it. Although odds are you will have these things already. First, you’ll need some kind of device to supply your audio with an 1/8th inch (3.5mm) standard stereo jack. Pretty silly to buy a set of speakers if you don’t have a device to supply the sound. The other thing you’ll need is a something with a powered USB type B slot. For most folks, this will be a computer, but you can also use a power adapter for your mobile device that uses a USB port to provide power. Everything else pretty much comes with the speakers, including a small drawstring bag to carry it all in.

The speakers separated

The one accessory that comes in the bag is the recharging cable for your Tweakers. These speakers have a built in rechargeable battery in the left speaker. To recharge the battery, or to charge it initially, plug the retractable condensed USB plug in the left speaker into the charging cable, and then plug that into your computer. If you want to use the speakers while they are charging, the charging cable will also allow you to plug in the right speaker.

Charging cable connected to both speakers
The right speaker also has a retractable cable in its base. This is the Line in cable that plugs into your mobile device. Together, these cables allow you to set up your speakers about 14 inches apart and place your device up to 16 inches away from the right speaker. Controls are simple. The left side has a power switch, and the right side has a volume dial. Pretty much plug and play.

Retractable cables

One thing that sets these speakers apart is that each speaker has a pop-up acoustic chamber that deepens the sound and bass response when deployed. Just give the top a small twist and the top pops up. While some audiophiles will never be satisfied with any kind of small speaker, the Tweakers give their best sound with the acoustic chamber extended, although they sound pretty good even in the compact storage mode.

Ready to play

To store the Tweakers, Just press down on the top and twist the other direction to lock the top, unplug and retract the cables, and press the bases together. Magnets in each base will hold the speakers together, or will allow you to fix the speakers onto any ferrous surface. The whole package is only about four inches long and slips easily into the bag.

Speakers on the fridge!

The design is delightfully innovative and compact, but not without a few drawbacks. The Lithium Ion battery will eventually wear out and isn’t replaceable, so the lifespan of the speakers is pretty much limited to the rechargeable life of the battery. The good news is that they are inexpensive enough that you’ll have plenty of time to get your money’s worth of use from them. And with just about all audio products, if you’re very picky about your sound, make sure you get a chance to listen before you buy. No portable speaker will be able to give the same rich sound that a premium set of speakers can, but these do  a very decent job at trying.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ms. Moran May 9, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I’ve owned a set for about a year and LOVE them. Sound is much better than bigger speakers and they have a cool factor.

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Doc Coleman May 11, 2011 at 10:21 AM

So far the only potential downsides I’ve found for them are the retracting mechanism can sometimes be finicky, and the fact that the rechargeable batteries are built in and will eventually wear out. Other than that, they are very cool.

Thanks for reading!

Doc

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Nuchtchas May 9, 2011 at 9:51 PM

I’ve been wanting to try these for a while, or rather buy them for myself. I have tried them, once. A co-worker of mine had a pair a while ago, they were quoted to me as much more expensive then. They do offer some great sound and are small enough to carry in my case. I might buy them now that price has come down

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Doc Coleman May 11, 2011 at 10:27 AM

For someone who travels as much as you do, these speakers are a very convenient. The Amazon price is about the best I’ve found for them. Feel free to use the link in the above article. I really need to get my Amazon Affiliate store moved over to the new site. Unfortunately, I’ve let it get a little out of date.

Doc

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Terry_F February 23, 2013 at 10:16 PM

ChillPill, terrific sound, but the battery lasted only a couple of months of use, 6 months of no use, then dead!!!!! Has anybody had a go at changing the battery? Mine are not marked L and R, so is the battery in the one with the power light and on/off switch?
Thanks

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Doc Coleman - Nifty Tech Editor February 25, 2013 at 6:49 AM

Terry,

Sorry you’re having issues with your ChillPill. My Tweakers are still running fine although I use them infrequently. I’ve never had a reason to try and crack them open, so I’m afraid I can’t help you any, but hopefully someone will see your comment who can.

Doc

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Dwight July 17, 2013 at 12:46 AM

Terry,

I had the same experience as you, although mine is called a Tweaker. I never even had the need to charge mine, but they will die if not charged regularly. I assume that the battery is in the speaker that has a USB connection (not the one with the power light), because that is the one that is getting charged. Please let me know if you got the battery out and could replace it.

Thank you,
Dwight

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Terry_F July 17, 2013 at 9:17 AM

I opened the speaker up ok (3 screws) and accessed the battery but it is a purpose made soft type in aluminium foil with embedded wires so would be very difficult to replace even if I could find a replacement. I did take some pictures of the inside of the speaker.

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Power supply December 8, 2014 at 4:04 PM

I have a pair of tweakers and have lost the power cord to charge them does anyone know where I can get a replacement power cord

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Doc Coleman - Nifty Tech Editor December 9, 2014 at 12:50 PM

If you just want to recharge them, any mini-USB to USB cable will do. Grandmax has one on their site for under $6. http://www.grandmax.com/cables/charge-and-sync-cables/r-mini-bk.html

Doc

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Terri Lilley August 14, 2018 at 7:20 AM

I need the charging unit for the tweakers. Bought tweakers at a yard sale but doesn’t have a cord. Can you sell me the bag and charging unit please?

Reply

Doc Coleman December 8, 2018 at 6:53 PM

I’m sorry. This is a review blog. I am not an authorized reseller of any of the equipment reviewed there. That would be a conflict of interest and would make my reviews suspect. Sorry. I hope you can find a place that will sell you the items you need.

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