The ECOSTONE from ECOXGEAR is a rechargeable waterproof bluetooth speaker for those times when you want the big sound you just can’t get from more personal sized portables. It’s 5 inches tall, 10.1 inches wide, and 3.7 inches deep. That makes room for a pair of 3.5 inch, twelve watt drivers, and a subwoofer on the back, so this speaker really delivers.
ECOXGEAR provided one in basic black for this review, but you can also get the ECOSTONE in blue, orange, or even camo. Upon unboxing, we gave it a full charge, which takes 2.5-3 hours, and provides up to twelve hours of music. That should get us through a weekend outdoors, or about a week of listening while working or playing in the yard. Pairing was easy, and it will remember devices it has been paired with, and connect as soon as it’s powered up. A female voice announces that it’s connected. Other controls on top include the up and down volume controls, arrows for playback, a button for the speakerphone option, and one for the white LED light, which is a nice touch, and pretty bright. There is also a four LED battery status indicator, as well as a green light for power, and blue for Bluetooth.
Rubberized heavy duty plastic encloses most of the unit, with the speakers protected by metal grills. Hidden behind a twist locking O-ringed cap on the back is the master on/off switch, along with a micro USB input for charging. There’s also a 3.5mm audio input jack, and a USB out for recharging a phone or music player. Since the battery is only a 2800mAh lithium polymer unit, using it to charge another device will limit your playback time. The ECOSTONE ships with a carabiner for hanging it from any handy loop or hook, and it’s got a standard 1/4-20 hole in the bottom for mounting just about anywhere you might mount a camera with the same threading.
Once connected, we were impressed by both the volume and overall sound quality. True audiophiles may question our enthusiasm, but until you can float your fancy home audio system in your swimming pool, the ECOSTONE is a good choice for portable music. Note that it will only ever be as good as the signal you send it. That MP3 you downloaded from some dodgy internet site will not sound as good as one ripped from a CD without compression. A quick test with a 3.5mm audio patch cable and the Forrest Gump soundtrack confirmed that at normal volumes, the sound is crisp, with voices and instruments distinct, along with a modest amount of bass response. Turn it up (coincidentally, I had just gotten to Sweet Home Alabama when I typed that), and it comes to life even more.
Moral? If you’re going to buy the $149 ECOSTONE, do yourself a favor, and make sure your tunes are up to snuff. Send it a good signal, and it will reward your ears. Note that you can also use it as a speakerphone, but we don’t take calls when we’re having fun outdoors. ecoxgear.com