This is a review of the new Arcam MusicBOOST, ‘Made for iPhone 6’ (not 6S in this case). It is a high precision DAC, with a dedicated headphone amplifier, that recharges the iPhone 6 giving it a 120% extra battery life. It is basically a sleeve that slides tightly to the iPhone 6 and connects through the lightening connector, the sleeve is soft touch and acts as a bumper for most of the phone save the top front of the iPhone 6.
Design wise, this is a lovely idea, increasing the sound quality of an already OK output but adding in battery life with the Arcam audio kudos. The sleeve adds around one cm to the length, doubles the thickness of the iPhone 6 and approximately doubles the weight, the iPhone 6 is 129g, the Arcam MusicBOOST is 100g. ‘It’s like carrying two iPhones in your pocket’ was the comment from my wife who has the iPhone 6 in the household.
The battery pack claims 2800mAh of charge, the average iPhone carries 1800mAh of capacity. On the front of the Arcam MusicBOOST are two buttons, one to turn on charging and another to show the MusicBoost battery charge in one of four lights. What is interesting is when the Arcam MusicBOOST sleeve is connected, the charging port becomes a USB mini port, this may be an issue for some although a charging lead is provided. Arcam do recommend using the correct charger as the Arcam MusicBOOST, ‘may explode’. Cricket!
There are a couple of points to note from Arcam, they note that:
- iPhone 6s fits with a push and eases after a few uses (you’ll need to read around about this)
- the Arcam MusicBOOST is not planned for 6 Plus at this time
- there is no control path back to the phone via the Lightning Module so remote volume, FF etc can’t function.
Arcam MusicBOOST Battery Charge exercise
I’ve bee pretty impressed with the charger to be honest, I thought I would note down the progress of charging whilst i was playing around.
Charge & notes
27% (whilst playing music and looking around)
28% (think I turned it off accidentally!)
64% (not bad after an hour of mucking about)
Arcam MusicBOOST Quality
The quality here is very good, as you would expect from Arcam. Being Made for iPhone 6, this is an officially Apple licensed product. It has the nice soft touch feel and, being a bumper, adds to the size of the iPhone 6. I think what you need to decide here is whether the £120 outlay adds to the music quality, the kit itself is very aesthetic.
I’m impressed, using the Oppo PM-3 headphones I am used to the sound is enhanced, the music, pianos and vocals in particular are brighter, bass is tighter and nice. All of the detail you want is retained, I had a close listen to ‘Sing to Me’, Will Butler, and the detail of the breath and piano are marked. It is pretty hard to switch in and out of theArcam MusicBOOST because it is very tight to undo so I think this is an all-in product, you’re not going to be ‘popping’ it on, or off.
I gathered the iPhone 6 on 18% charge, in the red, and handed it back with a decent 64%+ charge, I thought this was the key feature for me.
Would I buy…? I left Apple for a reason. I’m an Android user who uses the PowerAmp App that plays FLAC files into the Oppo HA-2 headphone amplifier (daily), that really is a step change in performance (though twice the price and tech). So I’m on the fence, you’ll need to listen to it I think, the battery performance is the key take away for me and of course the lack of additional cables, rubber bands, etc. I felt as if the addition of the MusicBOOST was not unduly heavy in the pocket for me.
Simplicity in the idea
Double battery Life
Play and charge at the same time
No cables & rubber bands!
Price seems reasonable for incremental sound quality
There was one for Nexus 5
I’m not switching back to Apple though
UK Price £120 inc VAT – On Sale UK Now, see Amazon for example
USA Price $189 + Sales Tax (TBC) On Sale USA January 2016