As fun as phones, headphones, and fancy speakers are to review, some of my absolute favorite reviews come from price conscious technology. Not everyone has a ton of excess money to spend on gadgets, and many accessories are ‘nice to have’ rather than ‘need to have’. Wireless speakers definitely fall in the ‘nice to have’ category and sometimes we can’t afford to spend $200-500 on one speaker.
For the last month I have been using a $20 water resistant speaker from 1byone, and I have been enjoying it from the moment I powered it on.
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 3 watt mono speaker
- IPX6 certified – can withstand heavy water sprays
- Seven hour battery life
- 1400 mAh battery
- Rubberized case with controls on the side for fast forward/rewind, play pause, answer phone call, and on/off.
- Support for a microSD card
- Clip for hanging on backpacks or laptop bags
The 1byone rugged portable speaker built for indoor and outdoor usage is quite small as it easily fits in the palm of my hand. It feels solid with a metal back plate, metal grill, and a fully rubberized outer coating. On the sides are where the controls reside, and are hidden behind the rubber materials. They are easy to see and use as the speaker gives voice prompts when the buttons are pushed.
Inside of the speaker is a built in microphone for taking phone calls through the speaker. The most useful function of this well-built speaker is its ability to resist water with an IPX6 rating.
And in usual fashion, 1byone exceeds expectations in the build category as they always emphasize quality no matter the price. Based on the design alone you would expect this speaker to cost three times as much as it does.
For the purposes of testing, I have been using the LG V10 smartphone paired with the speaker. Upon turning the 1byone rugged Bluetooth speaker on, it immediately looked to pair to one of my devices. On the first attempt I paired the Bluetooth speaker and played the Top Hits playlist from Google Play. With any speaker, the most important feature is the sound quality.
While the sound may not reach Bose or Fugoo level quality, the 1byone rugged speaker does sound fantastic for a device in this price range. It gets loud enough to where I can hear it loud and clear when I use it in the shower every morning. With a three inch driver, it doesn’t shake the floor, but it does sound balanced with a decent amount of lows too. Sometimes small speakers don’t have enough air behind the driver to produce decent lows, but this one does.
The 1byone rugged speaker is designed for indoor and outdoor usage, but when I took it out with me at the park, the sound can get lost in the openness quickly. It’s loud enough for a hike, but not for a picnic with friends where you might be 10 or more feet away from the speaker. So I personally found it best to leave it in the shower, or to bring it with me on walks with the dog.
Sometimes we can get caught up in trying to analyze every single detail when it comes to audio, but for a speaker in the $20 price category, the most important thing to focus on is simply the music. Is it fun to listen to? Yes. Will you sing to the speaker because you’re enjoying the music in the shower? Yes. It’s rugged, well-built, easy to pair and most importantly is a heck of a lot of fun to listen to.
Bluetooth calling is also available on this speaker, but if you want to take full adavantge of it you need to be in a quiet room. You will need to hold the speaker to about within a foot of your face for getting quality sound. Anything further and the person on the other end of the call will have a hard time hearing you. It’s not the best call quality speaker I’ve used, but there are worse.
What I liked
- Build quality
- Fun music reproduction – balanced sound with decent lows
- Built-in rechargeable battery
- Water resistance
- Clip for hanging in the shower
- Monitor power level from your phone
What I didn’t like
- Mediocre call quality
The 1byone rugged Bluetooth speaker is a nugget of excellence when you consider how well it is built, the sound quality, and most importantly its $20 price point. It’s a fantastic speaker for leaving in the shower so you can listen to music or podcasts while getting ready for your day.
Check out the 1byone Bluetooth speaker at Amazon.com.