So, a few weeks back, I was approached by the PR team of NIMA, the official bluetooth speaker company of the NFL and NCAA, to test out their new launch: The Helmet Speaker. The deal is that I get a free speaker that I get to keep, however, I’m not being paid for this review. I agreed on the condition that sending me one would not guarantee a good review, that if there was something I didn’t like about the product I would have to mention it, and that my feedback would be as honest as if I bought one from off the rack and was talking to a friend about it.
Another disclaimer: I’m not someone that levies minor complaints. When I’m using a product, I’m usually more focused on the main goals: does the product work properly and does it do what it claims it will do? In this case, if the speaker plays the music loud and effectively.
With that being said, CEO Nima Saati founded the company as a way to compete with Bose and Beats, but within its own unique marketplace: sports fans. NIMA is licensed by all 32 NFL Teams and over 60 Universities in the United States - including Miami - and the speakers are molded in the shape of a football helmet.
NIMA claims the speakers can be controlled via bluetooth from a range of 65 feet and can last for up to 10 hours off the charger. Their speakers are bluetooth compatible with your tablets, computers, and phones. The speaker also acts as a portable phone battery and can give you some extra juice if you’re tailgating and want to use your phone, but don’t want to burn up all your battery before the game. I’m a big fan of that perk, as my phone’s battery life is awful and is similar to an FSU kicker: it always dies at the end of games.
Getting the box in the mail, the first thing I noticed was the packaging. Very sleek and professional looking, and I thought it was cool that the helmet was perched on a mini-football field. Included in the box is a USB cable, AUX cable, mobile app access, and an instruction manual. A nice touch was how the helmet design had a visor, reminded me of Clinton Portis and made me nostalgic for the 2001 Canes, winning national championships, yadda, yadda, yadda... but I digress.
Pairing the device via bluetooth to my iPhone was simple as pie and it was time to test how it sounded. How did it fare? It sounded like the scoreboard on gameday at Hard Rock Stadium!... Okay, that was a bit of hyperbole, but put simply, the NIMA speaker KICKS. The sound was much louder than I was expecting for such a small product and the sound quality was top-notch, especially in the bass department, which is important because I’m all about that bass.
I compared it to my similarly-sized Bose Soundlink speaker that I’ve had for a couple years, and I can definitively say the NIMA Helmet Speaker was louder, while still retaining a crisp sound. And my Bose was more expensive than the more economical NIMA, which retails for about $120 for the small version.
However, as far as speakers go, it is on the tinier side. I don’t know what types of tailgates you go to, but at the ones at Miami (especially closest to the stadium), you are all but guaranteed to have someone around you with giant speakers booming that would likely drown this thing out.
If that’s the case and you were looking to have a rowdier tailgate party, you might be inclined to get the medium or large version of the NIMA Bluetooth Helmet Speaker, or even two, because another cool feature of the NIMA Bluetooth Helmet Speaker is that you can pair two speakers together for a surround-sound effect. The small version itself would probably get the job done though if you’re way in the outskirts of the Hard Rock Stadium parking lots, having a smaller party/tailgate, or just want a speaker for around the house.
Trying to test out the stated bluetooth range of 65 feet, I walked around the house a bit with my phone in hand. The connectivity worked seamlessly at first, but suffered when I would walk into another room, cutting out randomly. To be fair though, I have yet to find a bluetooth speaker that did not encounter this problem. One day, technology, one day.
I wasn’t able to test out NIMA’s claim that the speaker can last 10 hours off the charger this weekend, as: 1. We’re still in the off-season and there’s been no gameday tailgates yet and 2. I’m no longer in college and can’t throw ragers every weekend... only some weekends. So I didn’t feel like having it play at my house for 10 hours straight for no reason. Shoot me.
Final thoughts: I’m a huge music guy and, obviously, I am a sports buff. Being able to combine both into the same product brings joy to my face, and you’ll definitely be able to show off your fandom in style while still caddying around a quality sounding speaker that bumps on gameday, or any day really. Highly recommend.
To find out more about NIMA, or purchase a speaker online, visit: nimausa.com.