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Watch us put Nyne’s waterproof Aqua Bluetooth speaker to the test

It seems every Bluetooth speaker maker in the book has a model built to take on the elements these days. The marketing pages for the category are full of pictures of young, beautiful people with maniacal smiles frolicking around in the surf, the latest water-resistant toy in hand. But not all speakers are created equal. The latest in the category from Nyne, the Aqua, hopes to gain favor with one handy feature in particular: just like your favorite G.I. Joe water toy, this baby floats.

Built like a pontoon boat, the Aqua’s wavy design allows its speaker to easily make a home on the water’s surface, blasting tunes while it bobs along next to you in the pool, or your favorite watering hole. The speaker’s rubberized exterior offers plenty of armor to take on a drop or two as well, and the shell is IPX7 certified, meaning it can withstand a dunk of 3 feet for up to 30 minutes.

Related: UE’s Roll Bluetooth speaker takes a dunkin’ and keeps on thumpin’

Adding to its aquatic skills, the speaker has all the features you’d expect from a modern Bluetooth speaker, including easy-access controls on top, a speakerphone function for taking calls in or out of the pool, and even a 4-preset EQ system, though as far as we’re concerned, the more treble-focused upper presets can be left alone — stick with the two bassier presets for best results.

As for performance, the speaker is no audiophile device, to be sure. Blast it too hard and you’ll hear some DSP compression, and even a little distortion on heavier tracks. Still, it does relatively well in the midrange, offering a bit of punchy resonance at the lower end, and pumping out both vocals and instrumentals with enough clarity and tact to get the point across.

Comparing the sound to another waterproof speaker, the UE Roll, the Aqua certainly holds its own, offering better heft down low, and a more powerful overall sound, though it doesn’t offer as much presence or detail on vocals or acoustic instruments. The UE Roll also has its own tricks, including a specialized app that allows users to pair two speakers together, and you can even power the speaker on from inside the app.

That said, like most Nyne speakers we’ve encountered, the Aqua does well considering its affordable price point — especially now that the speaker can be found for as low as $100 from several retailers these days. That puts it right in line with the Roll, and both speakers are pretty good bargains in comparison to other competitors that can take on the elements.

All told, if you’re looking for an affordable speaker to be your companion, rain or shine, land or surf, Nyne’s Aqua may be the speaker for you.