Skip to main content

Altec Lansing’s everything-proof Bluetooth speaker tackles the outdoors with you

Altec Lansing just released its latest “everything-proof” portable Bluetooth speaker, the OmniJacket, which will be replacing its BoomJacket line, launched in 2015. In terms of visual style and functionality, the two speakers are pretty similar, but there have been a few upgrades; most notably Altec’s added another 10 hours of battery life, bumping the play time up to an impressive 50 hours on a 4 hour charge.

The metal speaker grilles of the original BoomJacket have been replaced with plastic honeycomb grilles wrapped in a sporty, soft hypermesh to go with its outdoor appeal. The OmniJacket has the same elliptical shape as its predecessor and familiar non-slip, shock-absorbent rubber sleeve. On this model, the outer sleeve is less “removable” due to a very thin layer of adhesive under it, though if you pry a little, it’ll come off fairly easily. The OmniJacket is massive in the world of portable speakers, with its hefty form factor and weight. Surprisingly, this nearly 2 pound speaker floats, and its certified IP67 waterproof rating makes it submersible to 3 ft while also being dust, snow, and sand-proof. When Altec Lansing says everything, they really mean it, and they really want you to take this speaker outdoors.

The speaker even comes with a universal clamp mount that can be installed on a bike and attaches to the bottom of the speaker via a quarter inch threaded mounting hole. You’ll also be able to use the speaker with most standard tripods and other mounting systems. On top of the speaker are the power button and playback controls. Long pressing the power button turns the speaker on or off and automatically puts the speaker into Bluetooth pairing mode, while short pressing it starts and pauses music playback. The plus and minus keys similarly control both track navigation and volume adjustment, though we found there’s no audible tone that indicates when the min or max volume has been reached. Pairing with the speaker over Bluetooth was fast and easy, and the 50 foot wireless range lets you roam about while the music keeps playing. You can also quickly connect to the speaker by tapping your NFC-enabled device to the check-in area to the right of the controls.

Another nice feature the OmniJacket has over the BoomJacket is that you can pair two units together for true stereo sound from a single audio source. That is, once you’ve paired two OmniJackets together by pressing the Bluetooth buttons on both units for 2 seconds, you can have one speaker play the left channel and the other pump out the right channel. Just make sure the front of one speaker and the rear of the other are facing the same direction, otherwise it will sound like a duplicated mono track. Just to the left of the controls is a watertight door that covers the microUSB charging port, AUX input port, and a full sized USB output port, so you can use a non-Bluetooth device as the audio source or charge your device using the speaker’s battery.

Behind the grilles, each side is equipped with a single 50 mm neodymium driver, passive radiator, and tweeter that provide consistent, omnidirectional sound. The sound quality is clean and crisp with mostly balanced response and a slight midrange focus. At max volume, the speaker does a nice job keeping the distortion out of the sound while still getting plenty loud. The bass performance is moderate but present though at louder volumes tends to feel somewhat muddy. Also a bit of a disappointment was that there was an audible background hiss during quiet and silent passages of classical and orchestral pieces.

Overall, however, the listening experience is enjoyable and when combined with the other features and its rugged durability, there’s a lot to like from this portable outdoor speaker. The OmniJacket comes in a few different color options, and retails for $200 at Target, but we’ve already seen it offered at Sam’s Club, if you’re a club member, for a more affordable $150.

Editors' Recommendations

Philip Chung
Philip is an industrial engineer who truly enjoys writing and exploring new tech products. He started writing reviews in 2010…
Bluetooth on Sonos’ new Era speakers isn’t what you think – it’s better
Sonos Era 300 close-up of Bluetooth button.

When Sonos recently debuted its two newest wireless speakers -- the Era 100 and Era 300 -- it broke with years of precedence by adding Bluetooth, a connection option that has never been offered on the company’s non-portable speakers. At the time, I thought Bluetooth on an Era speaker worked the same way as it does on the Sonos Move. I was wrong.

It turns out, the Era speakers use Bluetooth in tandem with their Wi-Fi connections, as opposed to the Move, which treats Bluetooth as a completely separate mode. That has some profound implications for what you can do with one of the new Era speakers within a Sonos system, as well as a few caveats about what you can’t do.

Read more
Marshall’s latest Bluetooth speaker has four drivers for 360 sound
Marshall Middleton.

The Marshall Middleton ($299) is the company's latest addition to its lineup of guitar amp-inspired Bluetooth speakers, and it's available starting January 31 at The Middleton, as its name somewhat suggests, sits in the middle of the Marshall portable family -- it shares the same rectangular shape as the Emberton II but is heavier and more powerful than the Stockton II.

What makes the Middleton stand out is its unique quad-driver configuration, which places speakers on all four sides. There are two full-range drivers, each with its own 20-watt amplifier, and two tweeters, powered by a pair of 10-watt amps.  The Middleton uses the same "true stereophonic" system as the Emberton II to achieve what the company calls multidirectional, 360-degree stereo sound.

Read more
Devialet managed to pack two subwoofers into a speaker the size of a small purse
Devialet Mania portable speaker.

French audio company, Devialet, has always attempted to create speakers that blend high style with high performance. Its latest creation, the $790 Devialet Mania, adds a new twist to that formula: portability. It comes in black, grey, and an available $990 Paris Opéra edition, which uses 24-carat "moongold" embellishments. All three are available to order from

Standing at under 6.7 inches tall, the spherical Mania is tiny -- just a fraction of an inch larger than a Google Pixel 7 Pro -- but inside, it packs four full-range drivers plus two subwoofers, which helps to explain why, despite being so small, it still weighs about five pounds. Also contributing to its weight is a built-in rechargeable battery that Devialet claims will power the Mania for up to 10 hours. It charges over USB-C, but you can also buy an optional $80 wireless charging base.

Read more