Fugoo exploded onto the Bluetooth speaker scene last year with the Fugoo Go Anywhere wireless speaker. I was one of the fortunate reviewers who got to review Fugoo’s first speaker, and ever since that review have been waiting for its follow up Fugoo XL wireless speaker.
Bluetooth speakers are literally a dime a dozen. You have some that start in the tens of dollars, and for most consumer speakers, can run as high as $400-$500. Typically when you think of high-end Bluetooth speaker brands, you think of Bose, Harmon Kardon, JBL, Sony and so on. And those speakers tend to be the devices that line the shelves of places like Best Buy and Target stores. Customers love to go with brands they trust.
In comes the upstart Fugoo. When I first got my hands on the Fugoo Go Anywhere wireless speaker, I could instantly tell that Fugoo was not made up of a bunch of newcomers looking to make a quick dollar. With the design, high-quality sound, and ultra tough build of their first speaker, I could tell Fugoo was made up of people who saw an opportunity to fill a gap. Bluetooth speakers were over-priced, lacked true portability and for the most part fell short in sound quality.
According to Fugoo’s website, my guess was correct. According to Fugoo’s website,
Fugoo’s executive team is comprised of award-winning industry leaders who have been integral in the creation of many key technology industry milestones, including driving the development and industry adoption of Bluetooth. The executive team’s combined experience equals more than 100 years in design, innovation, and development at industry-leading companies including Acer, eMachines, Harmon Kardon, JBL, and Toshiba.
With the Fugoo XL, they have filled a gap with a speaker that can literally go anywhere – beach, campground, swimming pool, snowboarding, industry job site, and even the bedroom. It’s high-quality sound, durability, ability to personalize style and incredible battery life are simply unmatched.
Let’s check it out.
Being outdoors is second nature to San Diegans. We have sunny days almost year around, and temperatures on the coast roughly stay in the 50-75F degree range almost 365 days a year. We have the beach, desert, mountains and urban areas as our personal playground, and it’s rare that you’ll find anyone here who doesn’t love the outdoors.
I opted to review the Fugoo Tough XL. The Tough XL is exactly what the name states – a speaker enclosed in a super rugged case which is designed to withstand the elements making it tough.
But let’s start from the core of the Fugoo Tough XL. The XL is a reference to being the big brother of the first Fugoo and by all means it is extra large. The speaker measures 13.18” (L) x 4.37” (W) x 4.64” (H) and tips the scales at a hefty 4 pounds, 15 ounces – just one ounce short of five full pounds. There’s a reason for all of that heft – it comes with a best in class 35 hour battery life at 50% loudness and has an incredible eight drivers to provide full 360 degree sound. The breakdown of the speaker drivers, three on the long sides, and one each on the short sides:
- Four 28mm neodymium tweeters
- Two 62mm neodymium aluminum domed
- Two 105mm x 66mm passive radiators
Those drivers are powered by a full 38 watts which is enough to crank up over loud noises, but is also enough to feel the music.
The Fugoo XL is seriously loaded with features. It comes with Bluetooth 4.o technology which provides a range of 120 feet outdoors, and 33 feet indoors. It has a microUSB input for firmware updates, a USB out port for charging smartphones and accessories, is compatible with Google Now and Siri, and comes with a 3.5mm input jack for wired connections.
The Fugoo XL Core can be encased in three designs: the Style XL, Sport XL, and Tough XL. The Style XL comes in a Khaki jacket, the Sport XL comes in a black sporty mesh covering, and the Tough XL comes in a super rugged casing designed to protect it from the elements. If at anytime you decide you no longer like the look, or maybe you’ve taken it on one too many adventures, you can swap out the jacket with a new one at anytime.
The Fugoo XL is IP67 rated, mud proof, shock proof, snow proof and waterproof. It’s basically life proof and there are simply no other speakers that match this level of durability.
Without question, Fugoo truly put sound quality front and center. This might be a little hard to believe if you were to base the speaker based on looks alone since it looks fantastic. Most companies focus on one aspect and do it as best as they can, but Fugoo focused on everything. When you think of companies like Bose, you always know they think of sound first, but you would never associate Bose with being life proof or having incredible battery life. And typically you get what you pay for.
Eight drivers. I have two floor standing speakers in my office and those combine for a total of eight drivers! With the Fugoo XL you get the perfect balance of lows, mids and highs to create the perfectly balanced sound signature. The drivers are even angled at 8-degrees so the sound waves travel upwards rather than straight out. If you feel like rocking out or chilling out to some classical music, the Fugoo XL has all ranges covered.
I have been an audiophile for over a decade. I won’t admit to the exact number of dollars I have spent on audio equipment, but I will say I am experienced with audio products and lost count on over how many products I have tried. The only problem with making a claim to being an audiophile, is most of us audiophiles are quite snobby and can get very technical to prove our ability to judge sound. So for the brevity of this review, let’s just say I really love music and I truly love devices that can provide high-quality sound reproduction. If I got into the details that members of Headfi.org get into, you might be up all night reading this review as I would need charts and graphs to prove what I am hearing.
I was a subscriber of Spotify’s high-quality streaming service and switched over to Tidal’s CD quality music as soon as it became available. With most devices it can be easy to cover up poor sound quality by throwing in lots of bass which makes music sound fun. But doing that severely drops the quality in music reproduction. For the purposes of this review, I listened to hours and hours of classical music and I was picking out individual instruments like the flute, cello, oboe, piano, clarinet and more.
But the most important factor with the Fugoo XL was I found myself immersed in the music because it was so enjoyable. It’s rare these days for me to make time to sit and enjoy music, but with the Fugoo XL I found myself listening to music for multiple hours at a time.
First and foremost music is simply incredible with the Fugoo XL. The only speaker in this price range to come close to this level of sound reproduction is the Bose Soundlink 3. No matter where you put the Fugoo XL, you will hear sound as it fills the space around it a full 360 degrees. The eight drivers are incredibly balanced and detailed. If you truly love music, this speaker is for you.
Weekends are my favorite time of the week. My dog and I make it a habit to go to the beach or go on hikes every weekend. Even though the Fugoo XL is large, I brought it with me to test how it would handle the elements. At the beach it attracted sand, but as soon as I got home I would rinse it under the sink thoroughly until it was sand free. On our hikes, and one camping trip, it accumulated dirt and dust which I hate to have on my gadgets.
Gadgets are clearly an important part of any tech writer’s life, and we really do like to take care of our toys. So when my Fugoo XL got dirty or muddy, I simply rinsed it off and lightly wiped it down with a towel. After four trips to the beach, three days of camping, and two hikes the Fugoo XL still looks as good as new. I have no reservations about bringing the Fugoo XL along with me wherever I go. It is truly designed to withstand the abuse of an active lifestyle.
The remote control retails for $49.99, and is one of the nicest remote controls you can get today. It is also waterproof and incredibly well built. It is made of a metal case with a rubberized front and is perfect for use at pools or at campsites where you don’t want to keep your phone nearby. Holding down the action button, the big circle at the bottom, activates Google Now and you can ask the Fugoo a question like “what was the score of the Laker game?” and it will answer. It even has a bottle opener built into the backside.
Another useful feature is having the ability to charge your phone or other USB powered devices with the Fugoo XL. I would charge my smartwatch and phone when I was out, and enjoyed not needing to bust out my portable battery. My LG Urbane 2nd Edition Android Wear watch has a magnetic charger, and when I wasn’t charging my device I would just stick it to the steel grill in order not to misplace it.
The Fugoo XL also has a microphone built-in for taking phone calls and with the latest echo cancelling technology, phone calls came through loud and clear. I even used it for a conference call at work and the people on the other end didn’t have any complaints.
The Fugoo XL is one of the most feature laden accessories on the market.
8 FUGOO-designed CORE-X acoustic drivers:
- 4 Neodymium-magnet tweeters
- 2 Neodymium-magnet aluminum-domed mid-woofers
- 2 passive radiators
Unique positioning of drivers on all 4 sides delivers 360-degree sound
Drivers set up at 8-degree upward tilt for better dispersion
Sound volume up to 97 dB SPL-A at 0.5 meters
38 Watts of audio power (19 Watts per channel)
Full range frequency response: 50Hz – 20KHz
Supports aptX® codec for high-quality Bluetooth stereo sound
Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity; connectivity up to 36 meters/120 feet outdoors and 10 meters/33 feet indoors
Bluetooth Low Energy for wireless Remote Control with Google Now and Siri voice access
AVRCP 1.5 (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) enables control from supported audio devices or the optional Remote Control
Other Profiles: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) 1.3, Hands-Free Profile (HFP) 1.6, Headset Profile (HSP) 1.2
3.5mm stereo input for wired connection
Fast Charging Power Bank – USB Type A dedicated charge port for fast charging up to 1 amp external devices such as smartphones and tablets
Micro USB for downloadable firmware updates
DC-in jack for charging speaker internal battery
Google Now™ / SIRI® Compatible
Omni-directional microphone with echo cancellation
Full-duplex capable in speakerphone mode
35 hours of music playtime from full charge at 50% loudness
Battery life displayed on supported devices
Built-in 37 Watt-hour Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
Charges in approximately 3.5 hours using Fugoo AC-DC adapter
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The Fugoo XL is a symbol of excellence and master craftsmanship. When you think of quality, Fugoo is a name that needs to come to mind. The Fugoo XL is just the second product from a company that is making waves in the Bluetooth speaker sector. As of right now, Fugoo doesn’t make anything other than two speakers, which means they can focus 100% of their attention on perfecting those speakers and they have achieved nothing short of that. But their speakers are so good I hope they plan on expanding into other areas so I can buy those products as well.
With unmatched durability, sound reproduction and battery life the Fugoo XL should be on your wish-list and is a must see item at Best Buy. It will literally blow your socks off.
Thank you Fugoo for making a great speaker that I will enjoy for many years to come.
Fugoo Style XL($279.99) – Fugoo.com