It’s easy to get caught up purchasing only brands that you recognize or using price as an indication of quality when shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, but by doing that you lose out on a lot of really great options. One item that you might miss if you shop like that is the TimoLabs Corbett I S Waterproof Speaker.
TimoLabs had never crossed my radar, and so I had zero expectations when they offered to send me their Corbett I S. With a price of $99 and claims of being waterproof, I just figured they were another company getting in on the portable speaker craze. What I found when I started using the speaker was a very pleasant surprise. I’ll get to that after we discuss the hardware …
The box includes the Corbett I Speaker, a mini stereo audio cable, a microUSB to USB type-A Cable, and a user manual.
Measuring 7.3″ by 2.75″ by 3.15″ and weighing 1 pound 5 ounces, the Corbett I S has a rectangular shape with rounded ends; the front speaker mesh (available in blue, black, or orange) is composed of metal, the back panel is composed of hard black plastic, and a shock-absorbing black rubber bumper encircles the speaker. The bumper has rubber ridges on the ends that not only help with drops, they also make the whole package grippier for a sure hold.
Amplifier power – two 10-watt class D
Driver Units – two 2” Mid-range and one Passive Radiator
Battery – 3000 mAh
Wireless – Bluetooth 4.0
Mounting options – Integrated Carabiner on side, 1/4″-20 thread camera mount on bottom
Waterproof rating – IPX7 waterproof and water floating
The front of the speaker has a solid blue metal grille (you can also get black or orange); the grille has the TimoLabs Tiger logo in the middle, and that’s the only branding you’ll find anywhere on the speaker’s exterior.
On the top, there’s a power button, a play/pause/pickup or hangup call button (the speaker also works as a speakerphone), a volume down and up rocker, a back and forward rocker, and a mode button which allows you to toggle between Bluetooth, aux-in, memory card (!!), and stereo pairing if you have two speakers.
A built-in carabiner clip allows you to hang the speaker when convenient. You can also mount the speaker on a tripod by using the industry standard 1/4″-20 threaded mounting hole on the bottom.
On the back, there is a round screw-in cap that covers the sensitive ports. There is an arrow indicator on the cap that lets you know when you’ve properly closed it or if it is still in the open position.
Under the screw-in cap, you’ll find all sorts of ports — charging, aux-in, a reset button, and surprisingly enough — a microSD port. That’s right — if you have music on a microSD card, you can play it directly without having to use an aux-in cable or wirelessly stream.
When the Corbett I S is charging, the four indicator lights on the right side will progressively grow; the amount of charge left is indicated in 25% increments, and they will display while the speaker is playing which eliminates battery guesswork.
When you turn the Corbett I Speaker on for the first time, a man’s voice will say, “Bluetooth mode — ready for connection” followed by a “Bluetooth connected” notice once you’ve done so on your phone. There’s no guesswork about whether or not you’ve done things properly.
Once music is playing through the speaker, you can prepare to be pleasantly impressed. Highs are crisp, and midrange is not too muddy. Bass, while it will bottom out at the highest volumes, is surprisingly deep and rich. I love that you can connect two Corbett I S speakers together wirelessly (up to about a 30-footfoot range), and you can have the speakers up to 120 feet away from your phone or other wirelessly streaming device. In other words, you could have music streaming from your laptop to another room in the house or to your back deck and save your phone’s battery entirely. I managed to get about 6 hours while using them; your time will likely vary based on how loud you’re playing them while listening. Since the speaker is rugged and waterproof, you can use it outdoors, at the pool, or at the beach; there’s no need to freak out if it gets left in the rain. You could link two of these together and use them as a powerful home audio setup; the options are as limited as your imagination.
As I said in the beginning, I had zero expectations going into this review, but the TimoLabs Corbet I S pleasantly surprised me. Not only do they sound great, they have a fabulously affordable price.
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Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Rugged and waterproof speaker with shock absorbing borders; Great for use inside or outside use; Can link two together for bigger, stereo sound; About 6 hours battery use; Very good sound from an inexpensive speaker
What Needs Improvement: Nothing — they work as advertised