If you’re looking for a sophisticated yet rugged Bluetooth speaker, the Altec Lansing Life Jacket should be at the top of your list. The Life Jacket is waterproof, shock-resistant, and it is built to withstand dirt and dust. This portable speaker can pump out the jams at a tailgate or on a rafting trip. The Life Jacket’s MSRP is $149.99.
Let’s not forget a Bluetooth speaker’s main purpose, though, which is to provide quality music for our enjoyment. The Life Jacket packs dual 2.5-inch Neodymium drivers with a passive radiator design that allows for deep bass sound without the bulk of a separate woofer. The Altec Lansing Life Jacket is built with aptX sound, which is a coding that allows for CD quality sound over the limited bandwidth that wireless sound allows.
The Life Jacket is powered by a HUGE lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which is rated to last up to 16 hours of continuous playback. Let me say that again, 16 hours of continuous playback…that’s some amazing battery life. You can also take advantage of that nice battery by using the built-in USB port to charge your USB compatible devices, including phones, tablets, cameras, etc.
Another feature of the Life Jacket is that it’s Near Field Communication (NFC) capable. So instead of manually pairing your phone with the speaker, you can bring your NFC-capable phone close to the top of the speaker to automatically pair. This speaker is also capable of remembering up to eight devices, so you don’t have to unpair your phone to allow your buddy to pair it with his.
What’s a Bluetooth speaker nowadays without the ability to conduct speakerphone calls? With the Life Jacket, you can make and receive phone calls with Apple, Android, or Blackberry phones. Adding a layer of function on top of this, the Life Jacket actually announces the phone number of the person calling so you don’t even have to look at your phone to tell if you want to take the call. Not only does the Life Jacket announce the caller, you can also accept the call using only your voice. Cool, right?
The Life Jacket is so tough that it’s rated at IPX7, which means that it can be submerged in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes without damaging the speaker. You can read more about the interesting world of International Protection Markings on Wikipedia.
The rough and tumble Life Jacket has an outer “jacket” that’s made of a very soft rubber that will absorb any shocks and allow the speaker to survive slight drops. The top of the speaker has a power button and volume up and volume down buttons. The power button can also be used to play/pause you music. The volume up and down buttons do exactly what they sound like. One thing to note, however, is that you cannot skip or rewind tracks from the speaker itself, which is a common feature on a lot of Bluetooth speakers these days.
The NFC wireless check-in area is also on the top of the speaker. The front of the speaker houses a black metal grill with the dual drivers and Altec logo in white behind it. There are also LEDs behind the grill to let you know the status of the speaker.
The rear of the speaker has a matching black grill that hides the passive radiator behind it. The rear of the speaker also has a microUSB jack for recharging the internal battery, a 3.5mm Aux-in jack, and a full USB jack, which allows you to charge other devices. All of these jacks are covered by a fairly heavy-duty rubber flap that tucks in tightly to keep dust and water out.
All of these features of the Life Jacket are all well and good, but it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning if it didn’t perform it’s main duty well, playing music. I’m happy to report that the Life Jacket sounds great. I played many genres of music and they were all crystal clear at both low and high volumes. The low-end of the spectrum sounded deep and the high-end sounded crisp and clear. There was also very little distortion at even the highest volume. For a speaker that’s only 2” x 6” and weighs in at just about 1 pound, the Life Jacket totally outperforms it’s size.
If you’re interested in a Bluetooth speaker that can be taken anywhere without worry, you’ve got to check out the Life Jacket for yourself. The combination of size, durability, and sound quality make the Life Jacket a top choice in my eyes.
You can purchase the Altec Lansing Life Jacket at any Verizon Store or directly from the Verizon Wireless website.
Source: The Altec Lansing Life Jacket Bluetooth speakerwas provided to me as a review sample by the manufacturer.
What I Like: Totally water and dust proof; Great sound quality; Excellent battery life; Compact size; Can be used as a power bank to charge other devices.
What Needs Improvement: Can’t skip or rewind tracks directly from the speaker itself.