It’s not enough anymore for portable speakers to only have great sound; listeners want travel-friendly, rugged speakers that are durable enough for the outdoors and all-weather activities as well. Luckily, Scosche has three Bluetooth speakers in their BoomBottle line that fit the bill. The largest and most powerful of the three is the BoomBottle+, with the BoomBottle and BoomBottle H2O rounding out the trio to offer a mid-size and small version of the speaker.
Related: UltimateEars Megaboom review
What these speakers have in common is their shape: cylindrical towers designed to mimic the width and shape of a standard water bottle. This clever design lets the speaker fit in various slots and pockets where you’d normally put bottles like cup holders, backpack pouches, and bottle cages on bikes. It’s great for active folks who don’t want to stick environment blocking earbuds in their ears, but also means you’ll have to find somewhere else to put your actual water bottle for hydration. If you don’t have a bottle-shaped compartment handy, use the included lanyard and carabiner clip to hang the unit or base mount it to a camera tripod via the 1/4” threaded mounting hole on the bottom.
While the design of the speaker is unremarkably utilitarian, it does have some fancier flourishes like the bright matte metallic finish of the speaker grills and contrast trim around the controls. The outside of the shockproof TPU body is wrapped in a matte silicone which gives it a soft-touch feel and non-slip grip. This speaker can be bumped, dropped, shaken, and even fully submerged thanks to its IP67 rating, and it will still keep pumping out music all the while. Did we mention that it floats? This makes for easy retrieval if your speakers end up in the lake after falling off your jet ski.
There are three control buttons on the front, volume up and volume down and a multi-function button (MFB). The MFB does everything from powering the speakers on, to putting it into pairing mode, starting and pausing playback, and answering calls when paired with a mobile phone. Skipping tracks forward and back also requires double and triple clicking the MFB. In addition to Bluetooth streaming, you have a wired input Aux port tucked behind a watertight door on the back of the speaker. Here, you’ll also find the charging port, output mode switch, EQ toggle, and 2.1A USB port for charging your mobile devices. The 6000mAh battery will keep the speaker powered for about 15 hours of playback, or you can use the battery to keep your phone charged while streaming music.
Powering the speakers are two 50mm drivers and passive radiator which Scosche calls a “passive subwoofer.” Despite this, the actual bass performance is not that strong. The overall audio quality is decent and clean sounding with a heavy focus on the mid-ranges and mid-bass when set to the ‘Indoor’ EQ mode. On some tracks, however, we noticed this imbalance causes vocals to sound somewhat thin and muddy. The speaker performs best at moderate volumes and at max volumes have trouble keeping distortion out of bass heavy tracks. In wide open spaces switch the EQ mode to ‘Outdoor’ to extend the trebles and bring them out. When you’re out on a bike ride or on the beach, these auditory concessions won’t impact your listening experience as much since your acoustic surroundings generally aren’t static.
The BoomBottle+ will ensure that you have a consistent listening experience, however, since its omnidirectional diffuser pumps projects music in 360 degrees. You can hear the music no matter where you’re standing in relation to the speaker and what direction it’s facing. With two BoomBottle+ units connected to each other and playing in true stereo using the Left and Right output modes, the music was perfectly synced. Controlling volume on one speaker automatically adjusted the volume on the second speaker. The result was a fuller sound at moderate volumes which definitely helped improve the audio quality. Overall, the BoomBottle+ sounds decent but the quality is fairly average; the bulk of its value will be in the convenient form factor, durable build, and other features. It’s available from Scosche’s website for $180 and comes in a few color options: Black/Gold, Black/Space Gray, and Sport Blue.