Review: EcoXBT Waterproof Speaker
With contributions from Yoon Kim
Every outdoor enthusiast will eventually want to mix their tunes with the water. That’s what I got to do for the past few with the EcoXGear’s EcoXBT; dunking it in water, photographing it, and just tomfoolery in general.
The EcoXBT is a Bluetooth 2.1 powered portable speaker system that is certified IPX7 (Ingress Protection Rating) meaning it can connect to just about any mobile device out there and play sound while submerged up to 1 meter without failure. Battery life is amazing – the lithium ion rechargeable battery has a 10 hour run time and is charged by your standard micro USB charger in just around 2 hours.
One of my favorite features is the ability to answer phone calls straight on the device with a push of a button. There is a single front facing microphone that does a surprisingly good job of picking up voices from a distance. I took a call in the shower and was able to hold a conversation without any problem. One function that I struggled with was the volume/seek buttons. You’d think there would be two buttons for the volume (up and down), and two for the seek (forward and rewind), but there are only two buttons for all four functions. The right button turns the volume up as well seeks forward and the left turns down the volume and seeks backwards. I tried turning the volume of one of my favorite songs up, but instead skipped over it. All of that said, I am still very pleased with how easy and functional this unit is.
Design and Aesthetics ★★★★★
The unit is roughly 3″x 9″x 4″. The main body comes in three different colors, vibrant traffic cone orange, black, and red. The handles are a matte black rubber coating over a plastic shell. The front grille has a cool logo inlay pressed into it. One neat thing about the waterproofing is that all of the screw holes are filled with black waterproofing that gives it a sleek, uninterrupted look.
When I think, “waterproof speaker”, I think of a large cumbersome unit with thick speaker cones that only produce mediocre sound. These two speakers put out 6 watts of pure, well balanced hertz that any audiophile would be proud of in a waterproof device. It sports a rugged face that can endure drops on land and there are rubber handles on each side to tether to bags and other equipment. The cloth loops on the back side can also attach to hooks and what not, although I did find the loop to be bit small (I had a hard time getting a standard carabiner to fit through it).
On the back side, is the cover for the power supply port and the auxiliary input. The cover has another cloth loop that you pull to reveal the inputs. I found this to be an easy to lose the cover as it was not in any way fixed to the body of the speaker.
I was particularly impressed by durability of the metal screen that covers the speakers (which I hit with a hammer to see when it would dent. Sorry to whoever wins this thing). Overall, I am pretty positive that this little speaker can hold up to all of your outdoor adventures.
Price vs Competitors ★★★★★
There are a lot of water resistant speakers out there and even more Bluetooth speakers (think of those “Pill” commercials you see from Best Buy), but there aren’t many certified IPX certified waterproof Bluetooth speakers. The EcoXBT MSRP’s at $129.99. Two comparable system are the The Blaster (MSRP $150) from Nixon (know for their tide watches) and the Hercules (MSRP $179.99). The Blaster is not IPX certified and the Hercules is not Bluetooth compatible although it has a higher output at 12 watts. Unless we hear otherwise, the EcoXGear may be the best option on the market for waterproof Bluetooth speakers for this price point.
Own a piece of gear that you're dying to review? Read our submissions page and let's get it up on the interwebz!