Zooka is a wireless Bluetooth speaker system made by Carbon Audio for the iPad but usable with the iPhone, iPod touch, and any other BT enabled phone, tablet, computer, or gadget you might wish. It began as a Kickstarter project but can now be found in the Apple Store, which is a good indicator of the quality of their design, manufacturing, and general all-around cleverness.
The reason the Zooka is idea for the iPad is because it was built to be. It has a groove running through the middle of its tube-like design that intended to slide onto the iPad and stay snuggly in place. Because of its rounded shape, the Zooka needs a stand to remain upright. It does make for an extra set up step, and I'm not usually a fan of separate pieces that might get lost, but Zooka mitigates this somewhat by making the stand easily store-able right inside the Zooka itself. Just slide in when you're not using it, slide back out when you are.
If you're gaming rather than watching video, you don't need the stand and you can just rest the Zooka down flat and it angles your iPad perfectly for gaming.
For a laptop with a thin enough screen, like a MacBook, simply invert it and place the groove on top of the screen ridge. For your iPhone, iPod touch, or other devices, just treat it as you would any other Bluetooth speaker system. Forget the groove, put it somewhere close by and convenient, pair over Bluetooth, and let your sound loose.
The construction is great. The Zooka is made out of medical grade silicone, so not only does it look and feel great, it's tough enough to last but not so tough as it might scratch your iPad, table, or anything else you value.
The overall design of the Zooka is fun and that makes it great for parties, watching movies or gaming at home, or any other, similarly casual use. Because of the bright colors and more whimsical design, however, it might look out of place in professional settings like meeting rooms or business functions.
When it comes to sound quality, portable Bluetooth speaker makers have done an exceptional job in recent years overcoming the limitations of the technology to produce really good audio --- for portable Bluetooth speakers. The Zooka is no exception. It's really good audio -- for portable Bluetooth speakers.
If you don't have Bluetooth or you just don't want to use it, there's also a 3.5mm stereo in port. That does remove wireless from the audio equation, but it doesn't make the speakers any bigger. That said, it's so much better -- let me repeat -- so much better than the tiny iPad speakers that you'll be so busy actually enjoying audio again to notice the distortion at really loud volumes.
You charge the Zooka over USB and Carbon Audio's claims of an 8-hour battery life are pretty accurate. There's easily enough juice here to get you through a party, several movies, or a monster gaming session.
- Designed perfectly for iPad, also works with other gear
- Fun looking but durable
- Good sound quality for small Bluetooth speakers
- My not suit conservative, professional settings
- Some distortion at louder volumes
The bottom line
I love the Zooka. It's perfect for families and kids who want to rock out together, watch movies together, play video games together, and otherwise enjoy much, much, better music together in a fun, convenient, compact system.