The shower and the beach aren’t usually friendly places for electronics, but the new Turtle Shell Bluetooth speakers from Outdoor Tech seem right at home in either locale.
Although they have some minor drawbacks in design and sound quality, I was impressed with the speakers after testing them for a few days. The Turtle Shell costs $130 and its larger brother, the Big Turtle Shell, is priced at $230.
Weighing 10.4 ounces, the Turtle Shell is a good pick for indoor use or a small outdoor gathering. With bass-heavy songs, the sound quality can be a bit muddled, but the speaker generally offers good performance. It charges via micro USB and offers 16 hours of playback. It can also be mounted on bike handlebars or a beach chair with an accessory called the Turtle Claw.
At 2.3 pounds, the Big Turtle Shell can easily fill a backyard with sound, though it suffers from some of the same bass issues as its smaller brother. There are handles on the bottom that make it easy to carry around, but it doesn’t have the Turtle Claw mount. It does have its own AC adapter for recharging. The tradeoff is that the Big Turtle Shell has a 7,800-milliamp-hour battery and outbound USB port to charge your phone or tablet.
The draw for both of these speakers is their durability. They’re rated to IPX-5 standards, so short of being submerged they’ll continue playing your tunes. They tend to hold a bit of water when they get wet so it’s a good idea to shake them out after use.
The multifunction buttons on the front of the speakers are a nice improvement over some competitors. The three buttons allow you to increase or decrease the volume, skip forward or back a track or pause the music.
The speakers were easy to use, had long battery life and produced reasonably good sound. While they’re probably not for audiophiles, someone who wants a good rugged speaker for use on the go will appreciate them.
I'm the director of online video for IDG News Service. I cover general and breaking technology stories in text and video.