BlueFlame has quite the repertoire of stylish accessories for you mobile needs. One such clever device is their Slingshot wireless, water-resistant speaker. At about $119, this speaker system packs a lot of sound in a small package and can fit into other BlueFlame Slings. Simply pop the speaker unit proper out of one Sling and slip into another.
The BlueFlame Slingshot is a compact, portable Bluetooth speaker that permits users to stream audio from a mobile device of choice while also permitting the reception of cell phone calls with its built-in microphone. Boasting increased bass response and improved sound quality with its Sonic Radiator technology, the Slingshot’s intended audience is people on the go, from the home office, to the shower, the poolside, or the great outdoors.
The unit I received shipped with a “Shower Sling”, a blue, rubbery sling that allows the speak to hang from hooks or the like. As it is form-fitting and a bit clingy, it adds both additional water protection and some amount of shock absorbance in case of drop. The last thing you want is to be yodeling in the shower only to have a piece of electronics fall and shatter at your feet! Here’s a view of the backside:
The micro-USB port is uncovered to show where the USB charge cable would be inserted. Note the sling’s texture. This made gripping the Slingshot easy, even when wet.
There is a To Go Slingshot sling that will be soon available with a more compact, table-side appearance, slated to be priced at $19.99. Colors may vary, but here is a what it will look like with a broader base, side grips and a hook for hanging:
For those interested, a non-rechargeable battery variant (requires 4 AA batteries) that ships with the To Go Sling, “The Slingshot Combo Pack” can be found in the blueflamegear website.
Here’s the Slingshot out of its sling, showing the soft, rubberized control buttons more clearly.
From left to right are the Backward and Forward audio track controls, -/+ Volume controls, Answer Call button, Pause/Play and Power button.
Pairing with my mobile devices was straightforward and simple affair, with an beeping tone announcing a successful connection, and once connected, I could use either the Slingshot’s controls or a mobile device’s music app of choice to stream audio and control playback. It takes about five or so seconds of pressing the Power button to turn the device on or off, with an ascending four tones indicating the device is powering up, followed by a flashing LED indicator just above the Power button, and a descending four tone beep indicating imminent shutdown. A double beep indicates the Slingshot it paired. The speaker will tell you when you’ve reached maximum volume with a long beep.
The audio track controls were compatible with my iPhone’s stock Music app and Amazon’s MP3 Cloud player, with Bluetooth V2.1+EDR, A2DP, AVRCP, and HFP devices are all supported.
Range was very good, though indoors I occasionally would experience skips when paired to my iPhone with a few dense walls between the speaker and streaming source. Given the density of these plaster walls, this was not necessarily unexpected as I’ve experienced similar behavior with other Bluetooth speakers.
Access to the rechargeable battery is available by unscrewing the backside of the speaker proper. The back cover has an inner gasket to keep moisture and dirt out, an additional feature to keep the speaker electronics clean and dry. The battery specs are listed as 3.7V/1000mAh. I’ve run the speaker for over 10 hours and have not yet had to recharge it.
Note the Reset button. In the unlikely event that the Slingshot loses its pairing or shows some unusual Bluetooth/phone behavior, users can press the reset button and restore the speaker to its out-of-box state. Note the “MICRO USB” and “RESET” buttons are accessible via a waterproof flap with the Sling on, so it’s probably unlikely you’d need to remove the back at all.
The Slingshot is rated IPX4 for water-resistance, which means the unit should be able to withstand five minutes of 12-15 Psi water pressure, which in theory means it can withstand occasional splashing and being rained on. Drop an IPX4-rated device into the water and you may be out of luck.
Is it splash-proof? Yes indeed. I hung the Slingshot from a hook in our shower and tried it out, streaming one of the location radio stations. The Slingshot bravely endured spattering and splashing of water without hiccup for me. Pretty darn good if I do say so myself.
If you don’t mind speakerphones, the Slingshot does a decent job of taking incoming calls, but I often found I had to speak a bit more clearly and a little louder for the recipient to hear me clearly with the speaker a couple of feet away, though the less ambient background noise, the better.
Above is a closeup of the controls. To answer a call, press the Phone button. You can also place a call by holding down the Phone button until you hear a single beep.
What about music and sound quality?
In my experience, the Slingshot did very well with vocals in general and assorted Rock music, and as I’m a Classical music junkie the Slingshot did justice to the bulk of the pieces I listened to. As for bass, depending on the type of music played it could seem a hair tame, but I wasn’t expecting chest-thumping lows given the speaker’s compact size. In all fairness, the Slingshot performed very well. I did find that if the volume were really cranked up, certain high notes began to get a bit fuzzy or distorted, but lowering the volume level a bit seemed to fix the issue. Broadly speaking, I believe this speaker would be suitable for a lot of people, while aficionados of certain heavy bass-dependent music types might be disappointed.
What I Like: Portable, water-resistant; Great sound quality from a small form factor; interchangeable with other Slings for different uses; Long battery life; Reasonably priced
What Needs Improvement: For those wanting a speaker for loud, thumping bass, look elsewhere
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample