The stylish little subwoofer works impeccably in its small form, but its price point is a bit prohibitive.
Years ago, Madonna sang that it's music that makes the people come together. But what if you don't want to get together with other people? What if you'd rather just immerse yourself in a dance party of one?
If you have $200 to spend, you can buy yourself the Lofelt Basslet. It's a seriously cool, stylish black band that houses a mini subwoofer. If you're a club kid, it will blend in with all the other bright-colored flair you have on, and if you're into moody music, the Basslet's modern styling will pair nicely with the rest of your noir attire.
The real trick to the Basslet, however, is that it hums along to your music. It's especially effective if you like bass guitar, or drum and bass. Any genre with a bit of a bump to it will essentially enhance its effects. I've been using one for the last month and, quite frankly, it's something you'd likely blow your money on for the sheer novelty of it all.
How does it work?
Lofelt turned this square little wearable into a subwoofer by stuffing it with its proprietary vibrotactile LoSound engine. The little engine that can produces frequencies up to 250Hz that really are silent to the outside world, just like Lofelt claims. In fact, the only time anyone else could tell it was vibrating was when I placed it down on a table while it was buzzing. My smartphone mic couldn't even pick it up.
This is something you'd likely blow your money on for the sheer novelty of it all.
All that's required for the Basslet to work is a headphone jack — and a Micro-USB cable at times to recharge the device. The music you're listening to is transmitted to the Basslet through a separate wireless connector, which plugs into the device you want to connect it to. You can then charge the Basslet by connecting it to its headphone adapter and plugging it into an external power source. In my month of testing the device off and on, I've only charged the Basslet a few times, though I was merely using it two or three times a week for an hour at a time. And it's surprisingly quick to charge.
How does it feel?
Using the Lofelt Basslet is, to put it bluntly, a bit of a trip. I used it with my MacBook, my Chromebook, and several Android devices, and I was impressed by its vibration accuracy and its ability to react to even the subtlest bass line. It worked with Spotify, Google Play Music, and SoundCloud through Google Chrome, as well as other apps that produced sound. The Basslet produces a softer hum when you turn down the volume on your device, though you can also increase the intensity by using the two buttons on the side of the wristlet.
I loved, too, that I could use the Basslet with games if I wanted.
I loved, too, that I could use the Basslet with games if I wanted. At one point, I hooked it up to my tablet to play Pokemon: The Card Game Online. Whenever there was a move against my hand, I'd get a little movement on my wrist to reinforce the penalty of being hit. It reminded me of the tangible thrill of the Nintendo 64 controller's rumble pack back in the day.
To that end, the Basslet has made even casual music listening sessions more immersive and morning walks more active. It's effectively a wearable peripheral, and though it's a bit clunky to plug in both the dongle and a pair of headphones into your smartphone, the added effect can really help liven the mood.
Should you buy it?
It's good to see this kind of innovation making its way into wearable technology, especially considering the industries that would benefit from vibrotactile feedback, but is that positive mood swing worth $200? Only if you already have all the ingredients for a worthy entertainment setup — that includes a comfortable place to listen to music (whatever that means for you), or a virtual reality headset.
If you're not aching to feel your music, and if you don't care about the extra effect for virtual reality, then the Lofelt Basslet may not be worth the investment. If it's between this and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones you don't already have, the latter might end up seeing more utilization down the line.