Tech News on G4
ECOPEBBLE Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
May 20, 2015
By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin' - G4 Canada
There are many portable Bluetooth speakers on the market, a number of which are rated to resist occasional splash. However, the new ECOPEBBLE by EcoXGear has a waterproof/dustproof rating of IPX7, so it’s designed to not only keep out debris, but also water even when fully immersed to a depth of one metre for 30 minutes.
The ECOPEBBLE speaker is tiny and almost square, measuring 2.8 inches high, 2.9 inches wide by 2.8 inches deep and weighs a mere eight ounces. Its perimeter is fully rubberized with big button controls on the top and threaded camera mount screw post on the bottom to attach accessories or mounts. On one side is a colour grille and the other cleverly hidden panel behind a lanyard mounted lens-cap style cover that hides a 3.5” AUX audio-in jack for a wired connection, a microUSB input port for charging, a status indicator light and a main power switch.
Dual Power Switches
One of the rubberized buttons is actually a secondary switch button that can be used to power up the unit or power up/down the unit when in standby mode. Even when this position is set to OFF, there still a little bit of power draining so you’ll need to remember to power off the main, if you're not using the unit for a long period of time.
Under the hood is a built-in 3.7V 500mAh lithium-ion battery, rated for approximately 6-7 hours of playtime or talk time from a full charge when playback is running at about 75% of volume level. Of course results will depend on how often you use the device and the buttons. Recharge time is roughly 2 1/2 hours, which you can do by plugging it into a 5v AC adapter or directly into a computer via USB.
The speaker is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and designed to sync and wirelessly pair with most Bluetooth enabled devices. It's smart enough to remember the last device paired and will automatically seek out previous connections when you either switch it on from standby or device happens to come back after being out of range. It offers built-in voice alerts that will tell you when you're powering on and ready to pair or the devices connected so that you know that you have a connection.
It has a built-in LED that flashes red when it's charging, green when it's fully charged and blue when powered on and your pairing is complete. It will also flash blue while powering up when pairing.
What I really like about this unit is its size. It's small and easy to attach to your backpack or belt loop if you will. Its 5W output offers quite a respectable sound, but sadly, it only mono, not stereo. Now while you don't expect ultra high fidelity from the speaker that hangs off the edge of your backpack or belt loop, it would be really nice to have at least a little stereo reproduction.
Fully Waterproof and Floats
It’s quite ruggedized, but you do need to, be careful if you do decide to use it where there’s lots of water. To ensure that your ECOPEBBLE remains fully waterproof, it's not only important that the cap is attached to the unit but it has to be exactly flush with the back panel. If it isn't, the opening is not completely watertight and you may get leakage if the unit is submerged. Oh and did I mention that not only is it waterproof, it will actually float in water.
Mounting Options and Caution
I also like the idea of the threaded mount. This certain give you additional mounting option. You can attach the included nylon lanyard caribiner clip, an optional bicycle mount or even set it on a tripod. It is important to note that the keyring that attaches the thread mount screw to the lanyard seems more like chicken wire rather than a solid stainless steel ring. One pull and it unraveled. Replacing it with a 25-cent keyring, which would likely only cost the manufacturer a few pennies, solved the problem. It’s minor, but one would hate to lose a valuable speaker for the sake of a simple fix.
Overall, it’s still a nice little speaker and ideal for the right individual who wants a compact, rugged and truly waterproof portable speaker
The ECOPEBBLE by EcoXGear come with either a black, blue or orange grille. The rubber on all models is black. In the box you'll find a caribiner clip and lanyard along with the USB cable. It retails in Canada for $79.99 and available from Grace Digital at EcoXgear.ca. At the time of writing, you can also find it at Cabelas or Amazon.ca for less.
Rating: 4 / 5
About G4 in Canada
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