The largest of the four speakers in the series, the iBT9 weighs in at 2-pounds and, like its smaller siblings, has a powerful sound despite its compact size. The speaker has two drivers in front and a passive radiator at the back which sit behind rust-resistant metal speaker grilles. The exterior is wrapped in a dense, shock absorbent rubber that effectively protects the speaker from drops up to several feet. It also has IP67 water resistance making it dust and waterproof, capable of surviving underwater at 3 ft for up to 30 minutes. Though it’s not likely you’ll find it submerged for that long anyway, as the speaker floats.
The speaker comes with a carabiner clip for hanging that has a handy a built-in bottle opener that surprisingly works well on both accounts. On the right hand side of the speaker, a thick rubber door covers the ports to ensure water-tightness and behind it you’ll find an Aux-in port, full-sized USB output port, microUSB charging port, and pinhole reset button. A cable wasn’t provided for the Aux-in line, though we did appreciate the inclusion of a wall adapter for charging as many Bluetooth speakers these days assume you’ll be able to provide your own.
The controls along the top are pretty standard with a power, Bluetooth pairing, and call answer button as well as playback controls for play/pause and volume. We were slightly disappointed to see track navigation excluded from the controls, instead having to change tracks with the paired phone. The hands-free calling was a nice touch though and the call quality was clear and audible. The speaker’s battery lasts nearly 9 hours of play time on a full charge depending on playback volume and four LED indicators on the front let you know how much charge is left. You can also use the speaker as a power bank to charge up your devices while listening to music, albeit only at a speed of 1A.
The audio quality of the iBT9 is clear with an emphasis on the mid and low-mid ranges. Bass drum attacks were clean and tight which is surprising for a speaker this size. While the sound can easily fill a room, at the loudest volumes, we noticed the crackle of distortion and occasional sizzle in the upper ranges. Playing music at more moderate volume levels, however, resulted in a better listening experience.
Overall, the sound quality is quite good and suitable for a range of genres. Whether you’re going for a hike, headed to the beach, or just relaxing poolside, the Weather Tough iBT9 will keep pumping out the tunes, even if it rains on your parade. It is available now for $99.99 on iHome’s website and at B&H Photo and Video.