When you walk into a loud party or a club, you don't just hear the music, you feel it in your body. The Basslet is a new wearable device that aims to bring a similar effect to your day-to-day music listening. It’s coming off a successful Kickstarter campaign from last summer, and I got to try out a final version at CES 2017.
The Basslet is a small, flat black box that you wear on your wrist like a watch, although it doesn't actually tell time. Instead, it contains a miniature actuator that pulses in time with your music, giving you a localized version of the bone-rumbling beats that real subwoofers push out.
The Basslet works by plugging your headphones into a small, passthrough box on the way to your music source, which samples the music as it goes through and wirelessly communicates to the Basslet wearable how to vibrate in time with the bass of your music. Buttons on the side of the Basslet (that also double as magnetic charging contacts) are used to control the intensity.
When it comes to the actual vibrated subwoofer effect, it works — the Basslet buzzed and pulsed in time with the thudding base of the EDM track I was listening to as promised. The localized effect is a bit disconcerting, but if you're interested in really feeling your music, it seems like the way to go.
The Basslet claims to get around 10–12 hours of battery life on a charge, although that number goes down to around 6–7 hours depending on how high the vibrations are ratcheted up. And while the device needs to pass through a pair of headphones, it does still work with headphones dongles (like those for the iPhone 7).
I asked the Basslet team why they had decided to skip including a way to tell time on what is obviously such a watch-shaped device; they answered that they didn't want to have the Basslet pigeonholed as another smartwatch, but I think that I'd be far more likely to wear it on my wrist if it told time.
The Basslet costs $199, which seems a high price for adding a faux-subwoofer to your wrist, but if it sounds like something up your alley, you can get it February 7th.