Outdoor Technology sells products for people who like to enjoy being in the great outdoors. I had a chance to review the Turtle Shell 2.0, a totally rugged Bluetooth speaker and was very impressed. This water-resistant, dust-proof speaker is a great way to bring your tunes along wherever you go; it retails for $129.95.
The beautiful minimalist, geometric design of the Turtle Shell 2.0 is just a hint at the awesomeness that lies beneath. There are two speakers and a passive bass radiator that provide 96 decibels of sound. Outdoor Tech is proud to note that this speaker is louder than a bear’s roar, which is only 90 decibels –although I’m not sure if you want your music to drown out a bear’s warning. There’s a rechargeable lithium-ion battery inside that provides a stunning 16 hours of playback and 700 hours of standby time. The Bluetooth receiver inside the Turtle Shell 2.0 has a wireless range of 32 feet which is capable of A2DP Bluetooth Profiles for high quality stereo sound streaming, and you’re able to wirelessly control your music using just the speaker’s multi-function buttons. The Turtle Shell 2.0 also has a microphone built-in for wireless phone calls as well as music. For a quick primer of the Turtle Shell 2.0’s features, check out this sweet info graphic, courtesy of Outdoor Technology.
As you’ll see in the graphic above, Outdoor Technology claims that the Turtle Shell 2.0 is “liquid proof…within reason.” While playing music, I turned on my kitchen faucet and ran the Turtle Shell 2.0 directly underneath the water stream for 15 seconds; it kept on playing like a champ and I haven’t seen or heard any ill effects since. I would absolutely trust my Turtle Shell 2.0 to keep pumping out the jams in the shower or through a rainstorm. However, I wouldn’t try completely submerging it in water for an extended period of time. Why would you want to do that anyway? The music would be all distorted and underwater sounding!
The top of the Turtle Shell 2.0 is the hard plastic shell of the turtle, protecting the speakers and microphone beneath, looking cool as ever. Looking through the perforations, you’ll see the two speakers below. The front of the Turtle Shell 2.0 contains the three multi-function buttons, whose functions are explained in the info graphic above. On one side of the Turtle Shell 2.0, you’ll find the rugged power switch that’s a little difficult to switch, but I actually prefer this so it doesn’t accidentally get turned on while traveling. On the other side of the Turtle Shell 2.0, you’ll find the microUSB charging port and 3.5mm audio-in port covered by a thick plastic flap that protects them from the elements.
On the bottom of the turtle shell, you’ll see a standard camera threading which is compatible with most mounting options. There is also a metal loop on the bottom that can be used to hang the Turtle Shell 2.0 using rope or a carabineer. The bottom of the Turtle Shell 2.0 also has grippy, soft rubber feet that should cling to any hard surface. I had the speaker on the dashboard of my car for a week and did not see the Turtle Shell 2.0 move at all.
Fortunately, the sound emanating from the Turtle Shell 2.0 matches its beautiful design. The music sounds clear and crisp even at its maximum volume. My biggest complaint with the audio quality is that deep bass will sometimes cause a bit of distortion, which is a little disappointing for the mid-range price you’ll be paying for the Turtle Shell 2.0. And unfortunately, as I’ve found with most Bluetooth speakers, while the sound quality of the phone call was fine, my wife on the other end of the line had a hard time hearing me. Though to be honest, I’d never recommend making Bluetooth phone calls with anything other than a headset or speaker purposely designed for that purpose. At 5.6″ x 3.9″ x 2.1″ and .7 pounds, this is a small, light boombox that packs a punch.
You can purchase Outdoor Technology’s Turtle Shell 2.0 from Amazon.
What I Like: Beautiful geometric design; Water resistant; Dust-proof; Great sound; Great battery life.
What Needs Improvement: Deep bass gets distorted at times; Microphone performance doesn’t cut the mustard.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample