Fugoo GO Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker REVIEW
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When it comes to music, there are times to enjoy private listening and then there are times to crank it up. I have had the pleasure of testing multiple varieties/brands of Bluetooth speakers. Each claims to have a niche, to have strengths and features that you would want in a speaker. For a portable Bluetooth device, I am looking for a few simple features that must be present. If I am going to be camping/hiking/backpacking, I want a lightweight, yet rugged device. Most importantly, I want good quality, full sound. Few have had the features, the ability to pair and the promise of portability of the Fugoo Go speakers.
The pair of speakers arrived, individually, in rather attractive retail packaging. The cardboard packaging displays a windsurfer enjoying the open sea, with a Fugoo GO speaker on his crossbar. In the center of the packaging is a clear window, which allows you to have a direct view of the product. The speaker is detailed to be 100% waterproof (IP67), parable, shockproof, dust/snow proof and to have both 360 degree and direct sound. The battery has a 10 hour life (50% volume) and is listed as being outdoor loud. With an integrated mounting cord, there are very few places that this speaker cannot go. You can combine the speakers with your PC/Mac, tablet, phone or MP3 player.
Searching the website, the Fugoo Go has 52mm 6W dual drivers and dual bass radiators, to improve the quality and strength of the bass. The device uses Bluetooth 4.2 and has the typical low energy features and the typical 100 foot, 30 meter range. One of the features that I did not believe was the 92 decibel sound output, This is a bit loud, similar to a power mower, motorcycle at 25 feet from you. You can expect damage if exposure >8 hours. This is a little different than the damage that you may have with earbuds at decibels of 85 or more. The outdoor loud effect is a benefit to this device, as it seems to fill the sound, without becoming tinny at the higher volumes. This was the most evident in some older recordings, such as those by Queen. The loud boost helped most, while listening outdoors or at a distance. If you are up close to the speakers, leave them in indoor mode. You will notice the difference. A simple press of the O button for 3 seconds will interchange between the modes.
Across the top of the speaker are two buttons, a power button and a Bluetooth button. Across the front, you will find 3 buttons: -, 0, + buttons. Each speaker has a rubber lined plastic port that houses the micro-USB charging port. Unfortunately, there is no 3.5mm jack insert on these speakers. When you turn on the speaker for the first time you will hear a nice little jingle “Speaker is on, Pairing mode, Use the Bluetooth settings on your device to connect.” Once connected, you can control the speaker with the phone or you can press the buttons on the speaker to control the phone (thanks to AVRCP 1.5). You can press the power button and a male voice will tell you how much power is remaining: “the battery is full, the battery is about about half, etc.” The battery will take a variable amount of time to charge, depending on the level of residual charge. From empty, it should take approximately 5.5 hours to charge the battery. I found that it took just at 4–5 hours to charge completely. I was impressed to have 75% power out of the package.
I really enjoy the speaker button combinations. If you short press the + or — symbols, you will quickly change the volume of the speaker. I love this feature. If you press the + and 0 or — and 0 simultaneously, you will change the track and if you press the 0 button alone it will play/pause the selection. If you hold the center 0 for 3 seconds, you will change from normal mode to outdoor mode. The normal mode is designed for smoother music, with the best overall sound, whereas the loud sound is for more open spaces. As previously mentioned, this feature is really helpful. The largest strength of this device is the fact that you can pair 2 devices to get a much more powerful sound. Once you have a device connected to your phone, turn on the other device and press the Bluetooth button and + button. This will pair the 2 devices together. The sound output is amazing. Place one speaker on either side of you and experience the effect, it is amazing.
One of my favorite aspects of this speaker is placing them on either shoulder. Placing your head between the speakers is an amazing sound experience. I found that I enjoyed both the double mode and the stereo mode. By pressing the Bluetooth symbol and the — symbol, at the same time, you can convert the speakers from combo mode to stereo mode. They work very much like a pair of headphones, with left and right channels. This works really well combined with amazon prime and with iTunes. Having recently tested a pair of Bluetooth wireless earbuds from SmartOmi Boots, I was concerned that there would be some audio/visual discordance. I was unable to watch video with the Boots as they did not sync with video. The Fugoo Go speakers work amazingly well to watch movies. The algorithm appears to be well done as the sound and the video linked up perfectly. I watched a variety of youtube videos and Amazon Prime videos, while utilizing the portable speakers. When it gets warmer outside, I want to try to pair these with my projector and see how the system works.
To test the sound of the devices, I turned to audiocheck.net to test the sound range of the speakers. The typical maximal range of human hearing is from 20Hz-20kHz. As you get older the upper range is limited by your hearing and not the device. I can personally hear 15kHz in nearly every speaker I have tested. My sons, aged 7 and 5, can hear up to 18 kHz regularly. The Fugoo speakers are no different, and produced clear 15kHz tones. The low range was a little disappointing as I was able to hear 50kHz at about 25% volume and I had to crank up the volume on my phone to 3/4 to hear 40Hz. I was never able to hear 20Hz-40Hz. This means that some of the deeper sounds are missing. This was notable in the opening sequence of Star Wars Episode 3 Attack of the Clones and in my bass testing track Dark Knight Rises “Why So Serious?” Joker theme. Hotel California by the Eagles was pretty good and you could hear the fun bass line of CeeLo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City.”
The speakers do quite well in the mid range and upper ranges. Billy Joel “The Longest Time” and “Bohemian Rhapsody and Somebody to Love” by Queen sounded great. I listened to the Braveheart soundtrack, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Sound Track and the Gladiator Soundtrack and really appreciated the instrumentals. Some other speakers require you to increase/decrease the volume depending on the song. It seems that these speaker do this dynamically and it works really well for some of the older music. In fact, I am lying here typing this review with the speakers on either side of me blasting some Meatloaf. You can either face them at you for directional sound or you can place them on their backs for 360 degree sound.
The speakers are rather lightweight weighing just at about 1 lb each. They are cable of surviving a 3 foot immersion, in water, for 30 minutes. Measuring at 1 7/8″ x 8 7/8″ x 3 5/16″ (47.5mm x 225mm x 84mm), the speakers are the right size to attach to your Polaris, to your windsurfer, Golf cart, Bicycle etc. Each speaker has its own elastic bungee like cord that can be used to attach it to a variety of surfaces. To utilize the feature, simply grip the hoop and pull towards the back of the speaker. You will notice a fixed hop and a thick plastic hook, on one end. You can place the hoop around a given attachment point and then onto the plastic loop for attachment. I have searched the website for accessories and there appears to be a bicycle attachment and a strap attachment that will plug into the square port on the back of the speaker. The remote control is listed as not working with the Fugoo Go.
The perks of these speakers are numerous, from their weight, to their sound, to the 360 sound, to the loud outdoor mode to the dual/speaker modes. They additionally have power save mode, which will automatically deactivate the speakers after 15 minutes if not connected to a smart device or to power. If they are charging but not connected to a device, they will turn off after about 30 minutes. If connected to a phone but not in use and not charging, it will turn off in an hour. If connected and on charge, it will never turn off.
Having tested numerous speakers, these are some of the most versatile and have become my go to speakers. There are very few places you cannot use these speakers. With the hook/loop, I feel that this device would benefit from an accessory like the Catalyst floating lanyard. The speaker is a little heavier than the 0.77lb buoyancy of the lanyard. However, if you knock it into the water, you will have more time to grab it, than if it was not tethered to anything. I rate these speakers highly. They have a great charge to battery duration, great weight to sound output as well. They pair wonderfully together and their sound is amplified while paired. Personally, I think the strength of the device is in the pairing of two devices together.
BUY FROM AMAZON
You can learn more about them through fugoo.com/go
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Originally published at macsources.com on February 8, 2017.