Bluetooth speakers are pretty much everywhere you look; there’s the granddaddy of them all – the rectangular JawBone JamBox. There’s the strikingly similar rectangular shaped Braven 600 speaker that adds an external battery for charging your devices. If you want the speaker that stands up tall rather than sitting low you might want to check out the SuperTooth Disco 2. If round is more important, then you’ll definitely want to check out the impressive and well-priced JBL Flip. If you want something that’s got more curves than the JamBox and is far tougher, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Jabra Solemate. And if you are looking for the best possible audio from a diminutive Bluetooth speaker, then you’ll want to check out the MiPow Boom I reviewed last week. It isn’t yet on the market, but it will be soon.
But if none of these mentioned so far tickle your fancy, if you want something that looks completely different from anything else on the market, then you’ll want to check out the Turtle Shell Boombox Bluetooth speaker. We received one for review last week, and we have been putting it through its paces. Let’s take a look.
From the very first second you see the Turtle Shell Boombox you know it’s different from the rest. It has an unusual shade that is pretty much indescribable. It sits low and flat with the speakers pointing up rather than forward the way they do on the JamBox. This speaker is unusual, and you are either going to love the look of this Bluetooth speaker or you are going to hate it; I don’t expect that there will be much middle ground.
The speaker is designed for use outside and, as a result, is ruggedized and water-resistant. That means it can get splashed without having any issues, but you certainly aren’t going to be able to submerge the speaker in water.
When this product was on Kickstarter, they wanted to show just how rugged it was so they dropped it a few times; in this case ruggedized means the speaker can be dropped and survive. Here’s a look at a promotional video showing just how tough it is.
Try that with you standard Bluetooth speaker!!!
The Turtle Shell Boombox comes with a wall adapter, a charging cable, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable and a carry bag that lets you take the speaker on the go.
Controls are kept to a minimum. There’s an on/off toggle on one side.
I love the fact that simple controls make using the device on the go simple.
A play/pause button along with track forward and track back sit along one side of the device. These buttons are covered with water-resistant material and are, as such, part of the ruggedized aspect of the device. The middle button also serves as a pairing button for connecting the speaker to your Bluetooth enabled device.
The other short end of the Turtle Shell Boombox houses a microUSB charging port and a 3.5mm input for listening to music via a wired connection for those times when a wireless connection is not in the cards.
The specifications on the speaker are good but don’t stand out from the pack.
Rechargeable Lithium – Ion Battery
9-10 Hours of Battery Life
Play music: 8 hours
Standby time: 700 hours
Built in microphone for speakerphone functionality.
Volume & Track Control + Call Control
Shock proof, IPX-5 Water Resistant & Dust Proof
Range of up to 33 feet from the Turtle Shell to your device
Standard Camera threading on base
Where this speaker does stand out is in the inclusion of a standard tripod mount on the bottom. Ostensibly that means you can place this speaker on a tripod, monopod or something like the Joby Gorilla and have it raised up or hanging from another object.
That’s kind of cool if, for example, you want to hang it off the tree while you’re sitting outside on a hammock, as I will be up in the mountains of Pennsylvania shortly.
It isn’t all good news with the tripod mount. There is a grill on the bottom that allows for bass to play through and it is a bit raised from the rest of the speaker’s bottom. The problem is encountered when you try to screw in some mounts because, if the screw on the mount isn’t long enough, the raised area gets in the way of it properly threading and holding the speaker. I found this to be the case with my monopod and my tripod. The Joby tripod did work.
The ability to take this speaker on the go is the speaker’s real “feature”; as the company is quick to point out, it is water-resistant, travel tested and party approved. That’s all good.
The audio coming from the speaker is, however, good but not great. I certainly wasn’t blown away by the quality of the sound and, while it did get loud, loud for the sake of being loud is not something that is going to win praise from me. This speaker is fine, but it isn’t going to win any audiophile awards.
The Turtle Shell Boombox is unusual, tough, adds a useful but imperfect tripod mount, and it comes in an assortment of different colors. As I noted at the beginning of this review, you will either love or hate the design, and I didn’t expect there to be much middle ground. As I write this however, I realize that I actually do fall in the middle ground as there are those to whom I WOULD recommend this speaker.
Recommended For Those Who:
Want a speaker that stands out
Want a variety of colors from which to choose
Want a speaker that is tough and water-resistant
Want to mount their speaker on a bike handle or a tripod
Not Recommended For Those Who:
Don’t want to immediately draw attention to their speaker
Want the best possible mobile audio
Don’t need a tough, water-resistant speaker
Are looking for decent sound on a budget
You can learn more and order yours here.
What I Like: Unusual; Cool colors; Tripod mount
What Needs Improvement: Not the best audio in a crowded market
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample