We see a lot of water-resistant equipment around the TUAW Labs, but it's not often that a fully IPX7 waterproof speaker makes an appearance. ECOXGEAR has introduced a sweet little waterproof Bluetooth speaker called the ECOROX (US$129.99 MSRP) that you can take anywhere.
Like most of ECOXGEAR's accessories, the ECOROX is made to take life's little drops and falls and shrug them off. The case is encased in a thick dark grey rubber shell, with metal grilles on the top and front that come in red, orange, and black.
How waterproof is the ECOROX? Well, it exceeds the IPX7 standards for water immersion (up to 1 meter) and shock resistance. You probably won't have to test the immersion standards, because the ECOROX floats. Sure, toss it into the hot tub and it'll swim like a rubber duck.
A rubber door on the back covers up an AUX input port and a micro-USB charging port. ECOXGEAR includes a carabiner so that you can hang the ECOROX from a belt loop or backpack, and there's also a USB to micro-USB cable for connecting to an AC adapter (not included) or computer.
On the bottom of the ECOROX you'll find a screw mount, which works with an optional ($9.99) bike mount and several other mounting accessories. The top includes a row of buttons; one for power, a Bluetooth pairing button, volume up/down, fast-forward/reverse, and hang up. Yes, you can use the ECOROX for those all important backyard conference calls.
Like I mentioned, this thing is small. ECOROX measures 2.5" x 5.3" x 3", and weighs just 11 ounces. Pop it into the bottom of a backpack or beach bag, and you're ready to roll. ECOXGEAR says it takes about two and a half hours to charge the ECOROX, and that charge can power the device for up to 10 hours.
So, what can we test on a floating waterproof Bluetooth speaker? Right off hand, I'd say the perfect test would be to drop it into a sink full of water while it's playing a podcast:
Pairing is incredibly simple. Press the Bluetooth button on top of the ECOROX, a light flashes blue, tap the name of the speaker on the iOS device, you're done.
Volume-wise, the ECOROX does incredibly well. There's a top mounted bass radiator to really kick the bass, and the twin 6 watt stereo speakers do a decent job with the rest of the sound spectrum. It's surprising that a small speaker like this can pump out as much noise as it does! I wasn't particularly happy with the call quality when I used the ECOROX when I tested it as a speaker phone, but it wasn't any worse than most other Bluetooth speakers I've tested.
This little speaker is built to take a beating and a dunking, and it will come back for more. It has more sound that some larger speakers I've tested, Bluetooth pairing is done in seconds, the controls are easy to use and accessible, and it comes with some interesting mounting options. If I could give a TUAW Editor's Choice award (there is no such thing ... yet), I wouldn't hesitate to give it to the ECOXGEAR ECOROX.
- Waterproof. Like drop it into the hot tub, squirt it with a garden hose, plunk it in the lake waterproof. And it floats!
- Rugged design, fun size, bright colors on two of the models
- Well thought-out controls that are easy to use
- Fast one-button pairing
- Incredible volume and sound quality for such a small speaker, although sound quality suffers a bit until you shake the water out of the speakers...
- Case is very easy to grip, also comes with a carabiner for attaching to belt or backpack
- As with many Bluetooth speakers TUAW has tested, the sound quality of phone calls isn't perfect
Who is it for?
- The outdoor enthusiast who wants a compact Bluetooth speaker that can survive the worst possible conditions