The market for rugged outdoors portable audio solutions has seen a spike over the recent year, and ECOXGEAR wants to be part of that market after arriving here in the UK as well with a range of speakers, including the portable, wireless, and waterproof ECOXBT.
The Ecoxbt does exactly what it says on the tin; it provides you music without limitations to how wet it is around you, even if you are lucky enough to be floating around in a pool somewhere nice and hot. The small portable wireless speaker market has heated up over the recent years, with the likes of Jawbone setting the standard for portable speakers on-the-go. But the addition of a very rugged and waterproof casing means that the Ecoxbt offers a solution for those that are after more than just the nice weather solution.
Lightweight with a rugged rubber finish, the Ecoxbt’s two handles makes it very easy to carry around with you. Feature wise it includes bluetooth and allows you to use it as a speakerphone. The speaker grill itself is stainless steel, and the rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of playtime between charges.
If you are wondering about the charging element given the waterproof casing, the micro usb and audio jack port is hidden behind a suction based cover, sealing out any moisture.
First impressions when opening the box is of a small and rugged speaker that looks like it belongs out there in the wilderness, amongst the elements of nature, providing nice tunes to the birds and small animals that frequent my back garden. After all, the love of music should be shared by all creatures, regardless of weather conditions.
On a serious note, the Ecoxbt looks and feels like a good quality portable speaker that can live up to its waterproof selling point. The casing is solid and rubbery, and the speaker grill of stainless steel. Having tested it under running water in the shower, outside in the rain, and floating in a bathtub (no nice pool to soak it in unfortunately), it does deliver on the waterproof feature.
Pairing the speaker with bluetooth audio sources is straightforward and done in the same way as most bluetooth devices. Controls are found at the top of the speaker, with the buttons fairly responsive. The call handling button has limited functionality to answering and ending calls, but can’t for example be used to initiate calls or for voice controls. Otherwise the controls are straightforward, but beware that volume up and down is also shared with skip tracks, with sort presses skipping tracks and to adjust volume you have to hold the button down for a few seconds.
My expectations are always limited when it comes to the audio performance of small portable bluetooth speakers that are in the sub £100 market. Given the versatility in use of the Ecoxbt speaker, the sound is comparable with many of its less versatile competitors. There’s plenty of volume and overall the balance between treble, mids, and bass is good. Don’t expect thumping bass, but it’s present and again better than some rivals i’ve come across. As expected, with the drivers sitting very close together, the sound stage is on the small side, a limitation that is shared amongst most portable speakers like this. I did also experience some interference from bluetooth source when too close to the speaker.
- Solid, rugged and waterproof design ideal for outdoors use
- Good performance for its price tag
- Decent battery operating time of up to 12 hours
- Lacking some functionality for a small portable speaker compared to top competitors
- Speakerphone audio is not always very clear
If what you are after is a solid performing portable bluetooth speaker that can take the elements, be used along the poolside without fearing that it will fall in and break, then the Ecoxgear Ecoxbt could be just the speaker you are after. With a little more functionality and finesse, this could be top performer in its class.