If a company brags that their product is waterproof and “rugged”, that’s basically a challenge for reviewers like me to murder the hell out of it. When I reviewed Braven’s 625S Bluetooth speakers, chucking them onto concrete was enough. If EcoxGear’s EcoxBT portable/ruggedized speaker was going to impress me, it would need to survive a more rigorous test.
Enter: a hand-axe I purchased in Guatemala for the price of a beer. I poured steaming water onto the speaker for several minutes, then proceeded to whip out my camera, wail on it with an axe and then subject it to more water. After the beating, my new speakers looked almost completely unblemished. And they never stopped playing.
In daily use, I found them somewhat less convenient than the Bravens. They’re a bit larger and bulkier but don’t sound any louder. The battery life is very solid – EcoxGear claims 10 hours of play time and my experience backed that claim.
The EcoxBT is as hardy as a coal miner on PCP, but it falls short on volume when used as intended. The big brag with these guys is that you can float them along with you in the water or expose them to extreme weather without worry. But the big, open outdoor places that allow them to shine are also a little too big for the EcoxBT’s sound to carry very well.
I took them on my local Idiotarod (a shopping cart race / bar crawl where they were subjected to sand, water and violent luchadors) and, while they survived easily, they weren’t very audible in open areas with a lot of ambient noise.
The Bottom Line
That’s my only reservation, though. $129.99 isn’t cheap, but it is competitive with other Bluetooth speakers of similar size and sound quality. If you’re hard on your gadgets and like to know they can defend reasonably well against small bladed weapons, I recommend the EcoxBTs. Just don’t expect them to power your outdoor dance party.
Disclosure: Vagabondish.com received one complimentary EcoxBT Bluetooth Speaker in advance of this review.