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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Earphones and Speakers > Fugoo Bluetooth Sport Speaker > Test Report by Jamie Lawrence

Fugoo Bluetooth Wireless Speakers

Test Series by Jamie Lawrence

INITIAL REPORT

April 15, 2014

 

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME:            Jamie Lawrence

EMAIL:            jlawrence286 (at) gmail (dot) com

AGE:   33

LOCATION: Hobart, Tasmania - Australia

GENDER:       M

HEIGHT:         5' 7" (1.70 m)

WEIGHT:       165 lb (74.80 kg)

 

I was introduced to bushwalking/tramping/hiking as a young child in Boy Scouts and through my school physical/adventure education. After leaving school, I mainly did short daywalks until recently when I have started to again re-walk some of Tasmania's key hiking routes and try walks I have yet to attempt. I mainly walk in the winter months, in Tasmania's central highlands areas. I prefer light gear, extended walks (3-5 days) in a group of 3 or shorter walks (1-3 days) walking solo. I would generally carry a base weight pack of around 8 kg-10 kg (17 lb-22 lb).

 

INITIAL REPORT

 

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Fugoo

Year of Manufacture: 2014

Manufacturer's Website: http://www.fugoo.com/

MSRP: US$199.99

Listed Weight: 1.1 lbs (519 g)

Measured Weight: 1.2 lbs (535 g)

There are 3 models of Bluetooth speaker unit, Style, Sport and Tough. All use the same internal speaker “core’’ (the Core) with interchangeable outer jackets. I am testing the Sport model which is shown on the left in the photo below. The Style is in the front and the Tough to the right.

three-models-650-2.jpg

Fugoo Speaker Units (image courtesy Fugoo)

The internal speaker Core features 6 symmetrically placed speakers to produce, as Fugoo claim on their website, 360 degree sound. All 4 sides of the Core contain a speaker, the long sides housing the woofers and tweeters for low end and high end sound, with the 2 short ends each housing the mid-range tweeters for full sound. The Core is also sealed, to be both airtight (to improve sound quality) and water/dust/snow proof, making it ideal for outdoor use. Fugoo claims the symmetrical design layout and airtight construction both reduce vibration and improve sound quality.

The Fugoo website has a full list of all the technical specifications, however I am not highly knowledgeable in all things audio, so they did not mean a lot to me. However the simple key facts are the speaker unit uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect, with a range of around 10 metres (33 feet). There is also a 3.5 mm stereo input for ‘wired’ connection (say a non Bluetooth audio device). The frequency response range of the unit is 60Hz-20KHz, which appears to me to be quite a wide range of response for a small device. There is also the added bonus of an omni-directional microphone with echo cancellation and full duplex capacity in speaker mode, basically allowing the Fugoo to be a handy conference phone style accessory to a smart phone.

 

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

When I received the Fugoo, it was packaged in a really neat looking hard plastic case. I was immediately impressed by both the quality of the presentation of the product and the robust nature of the packaging. My immediate thought was this would stand out on the shelves in a store!

photo(24).JPG

Fugoo Sport Speaker Unit Packaging

 

I was pretty excited to try out the speaker unit and didn’t even bother with the instructions manual (which I read later and found it really handy!) but immediately turned the unit on and tried to pair it to my iPhone. I figured if I could do this easily without referring to the instructions this would be a good test of ease to use as I have previously found pairing Bluetooth devices can be a bit hit and miss.

By simply pressing the small power button, the Fugoo immediately fired up and with a bit of a surprise to me a voice clearly said “Speaker is on. Pairing mode”. Obviously having never paired a device to it, I was really surprised to grab my iPhone and turn on Bluetooth and my phone immediately discovered the Fugoo unit and easily connected. All up it took no more than around 30 seconds. This connection was confirmed by the voice in the speaker clearly saying “Speaker is connected”. Music immediately followed and I was pretty impressed.

I had no idea how much battery charge was available as there was no noticeable indication on the speaker unit. However a battery meter appeared in the top right hand corner of my iPhone, showing around 50% charge. I thought this was a handy way of displaying the amount of battery. I decided I wanted to commence my testing with a fully charged battery so I connected the micro USB cable (supplied) that doubles as a charger. Unfortunately for me, the supplied USB power adapter is for USA power sockets (I am in Australia) so I could not use the Fugoo power adaptor but quickly checked my iPad USB power adaptor and noticed it was the same so plugged the cable into that and the unit started charging. It took around 1 hour 20 minutes to fully charge.

Fugoo have produced a range of accessories and mount kits for the speaker units. I also received the optional rail/bike mount kit which for me is a handy bonus. I plan to utilise this mount on both my mountain bike and the rail of my small racing yacht during my field testing.

My very initial test of the Fugoo was in my lounge room streaming music from my iPhone. Before selecting a song I was like ‘hmmm, what do I play first!’. I settled on the song Get Lucky by Daft Punk as it is currently both one of my favourite songs but also features a fair bit of bass and I wanted to see just how the Fugoo would go with a track of this nature. My underlying concern was that the speaker unit is quite small and therefore might have that tinny, small speaker sound. I was very pleasantly surprised to hear a rich full sound come flying out of the Fugoo! The song sounded great, the volume was pretty good (I had it at around 75%) and easily filled my lounge with music. I sat the speaker on the coffee table in the middle of the room and walked around to see if I could hear any differences in the sound depending on the angle. Nope! I guess the 360 degree sound feature really does work.

SUMMARY

I listen to music daily. Whether this is the morning news whilst I am getting ready to go to work, cycling to work or when cooking dinner, I always seem to have music playing in the background. I also love being able to listen to music when I am outdoors in the garden or on my boat or walking trails close to my home. As a result, I am really looking forward to testing the Fugoo speaker, using it around the home and also when I am out and about outdoors. Based on my initial use at home I really like this product. It looks great, tough yet stylish. It isn’t that heavy (for what it is) and it was super easy to connect to my iPhone and the sound quality (indoors) was really excellent for such a small unit.

This concludes my initial report for the Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker Unit. Please check back for the results of my Field Testing in the near future.

My thanks to Fugoo and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 


FIELD REPORT

 3 JULY 2014

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have used the Fugoo Bluetooth speaker pretty much daily since I commenced testing. The majority of my usage has simply been at home, either indoors when I am doing the dishes or cooking or outdoors in the garden. In addition I used the Fugoo on a 3 night camping trip in April and have also taken it in my day pack for short day hikes. I have also used the Fugoo out on the water when yacht racing with my local sailing club.

My 3 night camping trip was over Easter in April was with the family in Coles Bay, on the East coast of Tasmania. We were camped at sea level in a large campsite near the beach. Conditions were mostly sunny in the low 20s C (around 70 F) during the day and around 10 C (50 F) during the evenings. We camped from our car and took day walks around the nearby beaches and mountains. There was no rain and only light winds.

 

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I was immediately impressed with the Fugoo as soon as I received it and I have only grown more fond of this great little speaker unit during my testing. My most extensive period of testing so far has been a 3 week period where I was repainting my house. I used the Fugoo daily for 3 weeks as I moved my way through the various parts of the house which I was painting. I would usually have music playing through the Fugoo anywhere from 4-6 hours each day, usually streaming digital radio from my iPad. It was during this period of painting at home that I really fell in love with the Fugoo. I was seriously impressed with the sound quality. Regardless of what I was listening to, whether it was rock music or talk back radio, the sound quality was always fantastic, regardless of which sized room I was in. The 2 key features of the Fugoo became clear; excellent sound quality and battery life. Throughout the time I was painting I can only recall charging the Fugoo twice, with the battery easily lasting nearly a week of use. Simply impressive.

I also discovered that the Fugoo is quite strong, by accidently knocking the Fugoo off my ladder and onto the hard wooden floor. The drop was around 2.5 meters (8 ft) and the Fugoo landed on one of its corners, bounced and tumbled and landed on its side. Apart from me nearly falling off the ladder from the fright from the loud bang, there was simply no visible sign of damage or interruption to the music, the Fugoo just continued pumping out the music as though nothing had happened!!

I have also used the Fugoo on several occasions out on the water, utilising the rail mount attachment. This is a great attachment, it is quick and easy to attach and seems very secure. As can be seen in the photo below, I was easily able to mount the Fugoo on the rail at the back of the yacht I was racing on in a local race series. It was great to be able to clip the Fugoo on the rail, connect it to my phone and stream music then secure my phone below decks away from water. On several occasions the Fugoo got splashed with water but just kept working. A handy bonus was when I was motoring back to the yacht club after a race was when my friend on another boat called me on my phone. I was able to use the speaker phone option to easily receive the call, speak to and hear my friend clearly, then return to music once the call ended.

photo(25).JPG

Fugoo mounted on a yacht rail

 

During my camping trip the Fugoo was a great lightweight option for mobile tunes. I could throw it in my day pack when I was heading out for walks with my small children and when we arrived at the beach (around a 5 minute walk) I could just fire up a bit of music and sit and read whilst the children played on the beach. I did find that I had managed to get a bit of sand inside the unit but this was easily fixed by simply undoing the 2 screws in the base of the unit and unclipping the black outer bracket. This then allows the internal core (speakers) to slide out and I could then just blow all the sand out and the Fugoo was good to go again.

 

FIRMWARE UPDATE

During my field testing I was advised via email that there was a firmware (the Fugoo’s operating software) update available which included a few updates, such as better indication of battery charge level. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to apply the firmware update but was surprised when I simply downloaded the required update from the Fugoo website, connected the speaker to my computer with the USB cable and 3 minutes (or so..) later the update had been applied and I was good to go again. Whilst the additional features appear to be handy, based on the description on the Fugoo website, I can’t say I’d actually found there was a need for an improvements, as I could easily work out how much life was left in the battery and the other updates were only minor, such as the ability to adjust the voice from start up (speaker is connected etc..) but this hasn’t worried me to date.

 

SUMMARY

So far I am genuinely enjoying testing and using the Fugoo Bluetooth speaker unit. For its size, it packs a great punch in terms of sound quality, has a fantastic battery life and is lightweight and strong. I have found it a great unit to use at home and out in the garden and also suitable for ‘sports’ use such as sailing and camping. The added bonus of being able to use it with my smart phone for listening to music and seamlessly switch to telephone calls and then back to music is a great feature. I look forward to continuing to test this great unit.

 

My thanks to Fugoo and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 



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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Earphones and Speakers > Fugoo Bluetooth Sport Speaker > Test Report by Jamie Lawrence



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