It’s rugged, it’s splash resistant, it’s Bluetooth, but does a speaker really deserve a place on your packing list?
Another day, another Bluetooth speaker. Wireless audio devices are becoming so popular among electronics manufacturers that you could be fooled into thinking that every traveller everywhere always carries one. have never met anyone with the Bluetooth speaker while on a trip? No, nor us. In fact, I don’t think Bluetooth speaker has ever appeared on my packing list despite having tested dozens in the last few years. However, that doesn’t mean they cannot be useful around the home and hotel room. Does that make the Voombox’s rugged, waterproof design overkill?
When a gadget has a rugged design it principally means that it won’t break for a couple of years, so it’s always good news. However, not all Bluetooth speakers are equal. The Voombox takes a step forward from most by including Bluetooth 4.0. As well as streaming music from a phone or tablets, the Voombox also has a microphone, so you can take hands-free calls during your beach party.
Despite being a small device (it weighs 272g and measures 92x92x46mm), the Voombox boasts a battery of just six hours, which isn’t much; we are talking daily maintenance. Charging up is via a Micro USB slot. There’s an analogue audio hook-up, too.
Although the carabiner loop on its top makes it easy to clip to a belt loop, who’s really going to do that? It’s also worth swerving that precisely because the audio quality in that orientation is poor. It quickly becomes clear that you’re supposed to place it on a flat surface; the bass from the bottom speaker then resonates through the table-top, though it doesn’t go very go loud without distorting. Also, beaches and camp-sites don’t have flat surfaces!
Now reduced from its initial selling price of nearer £50, it’s hard to argue with present slashed price of the Voombox, but that does reflect its muddled design. Middling sound quality and a short battery life mean this is a gadget best used in a bathroom rather than on a beach. Whether that means your home or hotel room is up to you, but the Voombox isn’t versatile enough to be considered as a travel essential.