BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Electronic Devices > Earphones and Speakers > Fugoo Bluetooth Sport Speaker > Test Report by Brian Hartman

FUGOO SPORT BLUETOOTH WIRELESS SPEAKERS
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
FIELD REPORT
June 29, 2014

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 46
LOCATION: Westfield, Indiana
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid-weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 8
Manufacturer: Fugoo
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.fugoo.com/
MSRP: US $199.00
Dimensions: 2.3 x 7.4 x 2.9 in (59 x 187 x 73 mm)
Listed Weight: 1.1 lbs (519 g)
Measured Weight: 1.2 lbs (540 g)

Audio:
-Six proprietary, custom designed acoustic drivers including two 28 mm tweeters,
two 39 mm woofers and two 43 x 54 mm passive radiators
-Drivers face all directions with an 8-degree upward tilt for better dispersion
-Sound pressure level (SPL-A): 95db @ 0.5 meters (1 ft 7 in)
-Full range frequency response: 60Hz - 20KHz
-Supports aptX codec for high-quality Bluetooth stereo sound

Connectivity:
-Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity up to 33 feet
-Bluetooth low energy for remote control
-Audio/video remote control profile (AVRCP 1.4) enables control from your audio
device and the optional remote control
-3.5 mm stereo input for wired connection
-Micro-USB for charging and updates

Microphone:
-Omnidirectional microphone with echo cancellation
-Full-duplex capable speakerphone mode
-Digital signal processor for wind and background noise reduction

Power:
-Up to 40 hours continuous play at 50% volume
-Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery
-Charged via USB or international AC adapter (included)
-Battery life displayed on supported devices

Update Software Compatibility:
-Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP
-Mac OSX 10.5 and higher

Environmental:
-Operating temp: 14 - 131 F (-10 - 55 C)
-Storage temp: -40 - 158 F (-40 - 70 C)
-IP67 rated: dustproof and waterproof to 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) for 30 minutes

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

IMAGE 1 As seen in the photo to the left, the Fugoo Sport wireless speaker arrived in excellent condition, packaged inside a neat retail case. Included in the case were the speaker core in its sport jacket, an AC adapter and USB cable for charging the battery, a 3.5mm audio cable, and an accessory bag. Fugoo also included a bike mount, normally a separate accessory, for testing purposes.

Upon removing the speaker from its packaging, I immediately noticed how small and sturdy it was. It easily fit in the palm of my hand and felt much heavier/sturdier than I anticipated. As noted on the retail case, Fugoo has designed a product which touts several unique features including its rugged design, interchangeable cases which Fugoo calls 'jackets', great sound quality, 40 hr battery life, and wireless remote.

RUGGED DESIGN: Based on their dustproof, waterproof and shockproof specs Fugoo's speakers are designed to be tough. In fact, I'm not aware of any other portable Bluetooth speakers on the market today that tout these kinds of specs. The speaker itself, or the 'core' as Fugoo refers to it, is IP67 rated. The IP67 rating means that it is fully sealed against dust and can withstand being submersed in 3 ft (0.9 m) of water for 30 minutes. The same seals that make the core dust and waterproof also protect it from dirt, sand and snow. In fact Fugoo uses non-corrosive materials and connectors so that the speaker won't rust even when exposed to salt water. Now that's tough! According to Fugoo, the speaker can survive a 5.5 ft (1.7 m) drop since it's made with specially reinforced case materials, shock-mounted components, and impact absorbing end caps. Although I'm certainly not planning to drop the speaker in a stream during testing it's comforting to know that it should be able to endure wet weather and general outdoor abuse.

IMAGE 2
Photo coutesy of Fugoo
INTERCHANGEABLE JACKETS: Another unique feature of Fugoo's speakers is their two-part design which consists of the inner 'core', the actual speaker, and an outer 'jacket' or case that provides additional protection and gives individuality to the speaker. The speakers are offered in three different models (Style, Sport and Tough) which are defined by their corresponding jackets as seen in the photo to the right. The Style jacket is a slim and stylish design that is the lightest of the three; there is also a sportier and more durable Sport jacket model as well as an ultra-ruggedized Tough jacket model which is made out of strong aluminum reinforced composite resin and rubberized construction. Per the manufacturer, the three jackets easily slide on and off the core and are interchangeable such that additional jackets can be purchased at any time to change the look and ruggedness of the speaker. Although I personally am not all that concerned about what color or style 'jacket' I have, I think this feature will be popular with a lot of people and for that reason it's great marketing on Fugoo's part. It's also nice to know that no matter which jacket is wrapping the core, the speaker's audio quality remains the same.

IMAGE 3
Photo coutesy of Fugoo



To the left is a photo of the Fugoo Sport with its two parts, the speaker core and the Sport jacket. The Fugoo Sport jacket is made of a waterproof durable cloth that is bonded to a fiber-reinforced resin shell, which in turn is wrapped in rubber trim to protect the speaker if it happens to fall.





SOUND QUALITY: Fugoo touts the exceptional sound quality of their speakers and they provide a list of audio specs that are quite impressive. The speaker core contains six symmetrically-placed drives including two neodymium 28 mm (1.1 in) tweeters, two neodymium 39mm (1.5 in) midrange woofers and two 43mm x 54mm (1.7 x 2.1 in) passive bass radiators. The tweeters deliver the highs, while two mid/sub drivers provide the midrange and two passive radiators help bring out what Fugoo describes as "full, rich" bass. Together these six drivers are reported to deliver a clean 95 db sound pressure level, which Fugoo says is enough to "fill large rooms and outdoor areas with rich immersive sound". This experience is helped by the fact that the four active drivers are spread out around the core so that sound emanates from the speaker in all directions. Fugoo also notes that the drivers are positioned symmetrically so that the speaker won't 'walk' across the floor and at an 8-degree upward tilt for better sound dispersion.

In addition to the features above, Fugoo incorporated a digital signal processor which automatically adjusts the bass, mid-range and highs for dynamic equilibrium as the volume is turned up or down. The end result of this, which I will listen for during my testing, is better sound quality in quiet indoor areas and fuller sound in open outdoor spaces.

One problem that I've had with other wireless speakers is interference. There's nothing worse than trying to listen to music with popping, hissing and signal loss going on in the background. The source of the interference can come from microwave ovens, cordless phones, a satellite dish or even wireless cameras etc. In addition it's possible for Bluetooth devices to negatively affect the speed of a wireless router or even cause it to drop out periodic. As it turns out, Fugoo claims to have eliminated this issue with their Core-X technology which makes the amplifier to speaker path completely digital. Their theory is that the digital pathway prevents interference from cell phones and other radio sources from getting amplified. As my house is full of electronic devices, I will be listening closely to see if this technology works as described.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES: As for additional features, the Fugoo Wireless Speaker boasts an impressive 40-hour battery life and can fully recharge via its micro-USB port in around 3.5 hours. I will verify Fugoo's claims regarding battery life and recharge time during field testing. The speaker also has on-board volume and music button controls as well as a built-in mic for speakerphone functionality with Siri and Google Now.
IMAGE 4
Micro-USB port & 3.5mm speaker input
IMAGE 5
Power and Bluetooth buttons
IMAGE 6
Speaker controls on top


ACCESSORIES: If all that isn't enough, the Sport and Tough speakers have a mounting socket on the bottom that can be connected to one of three optional mounting accessories. The accessories include a bike mount, multi mount and strap mount that let the speaker be attached to a bike, pole, backpack, tripod, or even strapped on to something like a basketball goal. Since the bike mount was included with my shipment, I'll test it on my mountain bike. The Fugoo Sport is not only wireless and can play music from any Bluetooth-equipped iPod, smartphone, tablet, or PC from up to 30 ft (9 m) away, but Fugoo also offers a waterproof remote. The remote has volume up/down, song forward/reverse and play/pause buttons and can also activate Siri and Google Now remotely. It can be worn on a lanyard around the neck or strapped to a wristband. The backside of the remote also features a nifty built-in bottle opener. What more could you ask for!

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

IMAGE 7 The Fugoo Sport came with a Startup Guide that briefly described how to charge the speaker, turn it on/off, pair the speaker via Bluetooth, and how to initiate other general functions. The Guide also gave quick instructions on how to change/remove the Sport jacket.

TRYING IT OUT

After anxiously waiting 3.5 hours for the Fugoo Sport to charge, I unplugged the USB power cable and pressed the power button on the speaker. The Fugoo immediately responded 'Speaker is on, pairing mode, use the Bluetooth settings on your device to connect'. Next I turned on Bluetooth pairing on my iPhone and almost instantly the Fugoo speaker appeared as a device on my discoverable screen. When I selected it, the speaker responded 'Pairing successful, connected'. Finally, I went to the music app on my iPhone and selected a song. Voila!! My family room was filled with music. Pairing the speaker with my iPhone was straightforward and took less than one minute. As for how the Fugoo Sport sounds, I'll provide those details and more after my next few months of testing.

.

SUMMARY

So far I really like the Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker. It feels solid and well built and it has several unique and innovative features that will be fun to test.

This concludes my Initial Report. Please check back in two months for my Field Report. Thanks to Fugoo and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this speaker.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the past two months I've taken the Fugoo speaker on two family camping trips and have used it regularly around the house for all kinds of activities including: exercising in my basement, working in the garage, playing basketball in the driveway, lounging in the hot tub (until the weather got hot) and playing softball and soccer with my kids in the back yard. I even used it to play music on my back patio for a high school graduation party. And, when I'm not using this speaker, chances are that one of my three teenagers is.

1. On this family camping trip we hiked, fished, launched model rockets, played in a small creek and sat around the campfire each night listening to tunes. The terrain was hilly with lots of open and forested areas to explore.

Location: Franklin County, Indiana (IN)

IMAGE 1


Type of Trip: Camping
Distance: 5 mi (8 km)
Length of Trip: 2 nights
Backpack Weight: 32 lb (14 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 66 F to 75 F (18 C to 23 C)










2. My second camping trip was to Oldenburg, IN with my mom, dad and brother. During this two-day outing we spent most of our time lounging around our campsite. My pack was fairly light on this trip as parents brought the food and drinks.

Location: Oldenburg, IN

IMAGE 2


Type of Trip: Family camping
Distance: 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Length of Trip: 1 night
Backpack Weight: 22 lb (10 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Partly sunny with brief but heavy rain storm in evening
Precipitation: 0.4 in (1.0 cm)
Temperature Range: 70 F to 78 F (21 C to 25 C)








PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Fugoo has performed exceptionally well during the past two months of Field Testing. It was simple to setup, has awesome sound quality, is exceptionally durable and has great battery life. What's not to love! Oh, and it's a blast to play with too (literally).

IMAGE 3 Initial Setup - The Fugoo speaker was a cinch to setup as described in my Initial Report. When I first paired it to my iPhone, it established a device name called 'Fugoo Speaker' on my phone's Bluetooth settings page, and ever since then it automatically connects to my phone as soon as I turn the speaker on. My son has an older model iPhone, my oldest daughter has an Android phone and my younger daughter has an iPod and all three of them were able to connect to the Fugoo as quickly as I did, with no help from dad. The only problem they had at the beginning was getting my phone to disconnect from the speaker so that they could connect with one of their devices, but that issue was quickly resolved once they gave in and read the directions. Using the Fugoo as a speakerphone for phone calls has also been incredibly simple to do as no additional setup is required once the two devices are paired and connected.

Sound quality - For its size, the Fugoo speaker delivers fantastic sound both indoors and out. It does this despite the fact that it only weighs about 1 lb (0.45 kg), is battery powered and is streaming music wirelessly via Bluetooth. Indoors, the speaker offers impressive bass and treble as well as a balanced tone that makes it easy to listen to for long periods. In a quiet room, it has crisp full sound and is easily able to reproduce deep lows and bright highs with good overall vocals. Outside, with the volume turned up, it can effortlessly fill a patio or driveway with music for everyone to hear. And despite its small size, there's no need to sit directly in front of the speaker to enjoy as the cross mounted drivers spread the sound out in all directions. In fact for my daughter's graduation party, I simply set the Fugoo on our back patio for instant tunes and rave reviews. One thing I found is that music sounds best when the speaker sits lower, given the fact that the drivers have an 8 degree tilt which projects the sound upward. My son and I even took the speaker to the soccer fields for an afternoon kick around. We knew the wide open space would be a huge challenge for the Fugoo but it did a decent job in a setting where speakers two or three times its size would have trouble.

The quality of sound I experienced while using the Fugoo as a speakerphone during phone conversations was excellent. I had no problem hearing whoever I was talking to and they had no problems understanding me, even when the speaker was sitting several feet away from me. In addition, connecting and disconnecting from the speakerphone for private conversations was very simple.

Durability - I've had no durability issues with the Fugoo speaker during this test period. It survived dirt and mud while I was mountain biking in a local park and it got rained on quite heavily on two different occasions. The first time was during a brief downpour while camping in Oldenburg and the second time was when it happened to be sitting out on my back patio table during a thunder storm, oops. The only time I really worried about the Fugoo's safety was when I accidentally knocked it off its perch with an errant shot while playing basketball in my driveway. Luckily it survived despite some nicks, scrapes and a few tense moments.

As a testament to its ruggedness, whenever the speaker looked really dirty, I simply rinsed it off with warm water from a faucet per the manufacturer's instructions and it was good as new.

Battery life - Fugoo claims this speaker can get up to 40 hours of battery life at half volume. I found that to be true the first couple times I used it but now I get 25 to 30 hours of life on a full charge. Of course there are a lot of factors that go into battery life and so it's hard to say why I am experiencing this drop off. I will continue to monitor the situation and try to quantify my observations over the next few months.

IMAGE 4 Bluetooth range - Fugoo claims a range of 33 feet (10 m) for Bluetooth connectivity, and I found the distance they quoted to be accurate both indoors and out. In fact, while standing on my driveway with my phone connected to the Fugoo and playing a song, my daughter was able to carry the speaker almost 45 feet (14 m) away before it cut out. I found the indoor range to be slightly shorter but still quite good at 30 ft (9 m).

Bike / handlebar mount - After several attempts mounting the speaker to this accessory, I am having problems getting the slide mechanism to lock in place. I've only tried securing it a couple of times but have already noticed that the metal tab is worn down to shiny metal from rubbing so I think there's a clearance issues between the metal tab that locks the mount in place and the speaker housing. When the speaker is not attached to the mount, the slide easily latches so this confirms my suspicion. I will continue to evaluate this during the next test period.

SUMMARY

The Fugoo is a terrific speaker in my estimation based on its ability to do a number of things really, really well. It sounds great indoors and out and has well balanced and natural tones even at high volume, a remarkable achievement for a speaker of its size. Its sound quality, portability, durability and battery life make it a favorite of everyone in my family.

This concludes my Field Report for the Fugoo speaker. I will post my Long Term report in approximately two months so please check back for further information. Thanks to Fugoo and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this speaker.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Fugoo Corporation gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman

Reviews > Electronic Devices > Earphones and Speakers > Fugoo Bluetooth Sport Speaker > Test Report by Brian Hartman



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson