There are plenty of ‘tough’ and rugged outdoor speakers out there. But how tough is tough? Sure, your speakers can sit around in a park, or on a beach, and even take a bit of splashing. However, will you be taking your speaker on a kayak, skiing, or on a mountain bike as you go through the mud? Would you drop not mind dropping your speaker to the bottom of a swimming pool before scooping it out, and not at all being worried? Fugoo, a relatively unknown company in the world of speakers is looking to bend the boundaries between what is normal and what isn’t when it comes to tough speakers. We took the Fugoo tough for a ride, and we were particularly impressed by what it can handle.
In the box
- Speaker Core with Tough Jacket
- AC Adapter
- USB Cable
- Audio Cable (3.5mm)
- Accessories Bag
- Hex Key
The speaker is one of the more expensive ones on the market, but it is good to see that it doesn’t hold back on anything.
Features and specifications
- Mud Proof
- Snow Proof
- Shock Proof
- Water Proof
- Strappable to allow you to attach it to a tree, your bike, or even your kayak.
- Extra loud
- 40 hour battery life, with built in Lithium Ion battery
- Bluetooth speakers with built in speakerphone that allow you to access Siri/Google Now
- Six symmetrically placed drivers to give you 360 degree sound: Two tweeters, two mid/sub drivers and two passive radiators for bass
- 61mm x 198mm x 73mm, 643 grams
- Available accessories: Bike Mount, Strap Mount, Mount Pack
Look and feel
The first thing you notice from the fairly clear box is the typical rugged look Fugoo have gone for. The design is not that far from a typical tool you might see in a workshop. Plenty of hex keys are visible, as is the grill and the three buttons on top.
Open the box up and you realise that it is actually screwed into the box, but the screws are easily removed. As you go through the contents and realise you have a hex key, you start to notice that this is designed to be a serious bit of kit. The hex key is to allow you to change ‘jackets’ but if you buy the Fugoo Tough on its own, there is no need to worry about it. It can be used to take it off, to perhaps clean it when it gets too muddy, but generally you can leave it on. Being waterproof means you can just wash it at the end of a particularly ‘dirty weekend’.
The top features a couple of volume keys as well as the action key, which allows you to play/pause, answer calls, or even get Siri or Google Now involved.
One of the sides hides an LED with buttons for Power and Bluetooth. The opposite has ports for micro USB (for charging and software update) as well as Audio In.
I like the tough boy looks of the device. It is shiny and matte in all the right kind of ways. There are metal bars to attach to your bag and straps, and there are the screws at the bottom. Featuring fiber-reinforced resin and solid aluminum casing, it gives a rather solid and heavy feel despite not being that bad on the scales.
The setup is reasonably easy. All you need to do is to press the Bluetooth button on the side to go to pairing mode. A friendly voice talks you through the setup, and once paired, you are good to go. As easy as it gets.
Playing rough, being tough, huff and puff
The speaker looks it. It shows it. It plays it. It does it.
One started with a few drop tests. Nothing to report at all. No scratches. Just a bit of fluff picked up from the ground.
Things started to get a bit tough then. Dropped it in a sink, and then dropped it in a bath. The water just flows out. Of course, it wasn’t left there overnight, but it didn’t really flinch either. In fact, probably got washed. Then again, even a simple shaver or a Moto G can deal with such minor blemishes.
Since we weren’t able to go skiing or kayaking for this one, we did the one simple test we could. Threw this in a pile of mud, accidentally threw some more wet mud on top, and poured some water on top. The sound may have softened, but it kept going. It was rescued, and then given a wash. Then washed again. It did well. Very well.
One of the other things I particularly liked about it was how base-heavy it is. This means that if it ever goes through a tumble, it will naturally try and align itself the right way. Of course, this only goes so far!
This bad boy boasts a battery life of 40 hours. Sound too good to be true? We thought so as well. Annoyingly it didn’t come charged out of the box, so the first thing was to let it charge. It took a few hours, but that is expected when you pack in such a big battery. So, does the number hold? I am happy to report that it does. In fact, it went past by a few hours.
This is one of the elements that is not really that common among speakers these days. However, I am happy to report that it works rather well, the sound is loud and clear, and while you have to be in close proximity to the speaker, you don’t really need to speak or shout into the microphone. No testing was done on motorbikes or kayaks though, so who knows!
And so, the final, but the true test. How does the speaker part of the speaker perform? We have six speakers, 2 mid-range, 2 treble and 2 for bass. The idea is to give you a 360 degree experience of a well balanced sound.
Did it deliver? Simple answer, yes.
We started off by listening to our usual running playlist, not because it is a tough test, but because we know those songs rather well, down to every clink and bing and boom. The sound was impressive, highly detailed, and immersive. Like many speakers designed for the great outdoors, it felt a bit bass heavy.
Things got a bit serious after that, as Bach came out. Once again, the sound was a bit bass heavy, but the detail was there. You may not feel like you are at an actual concert (very few speakers give you that), but the detail and the clarity are good, the frequency response great.
It also sounds good, both at low and high volumes, and not much distortion to speak of.
All in all, a well balanced sound.
More information on the Fugoo Tough can be found on their website.
It retails from around £180, and can be bought from various online retailers such as Amazon.
Perhaps the only thing that may go against this is the price. A well designed speaker that sounds and looks the business, and can deal with whatever you throw at it!Google+