The Fugoo Tough XL is an awesome waterproof speaker for campers and beach bums.
Natalie’s quick and dirty comparison between the The Fugoo Tough XL, Braven BRV Pro, Altec Lansing Life Jacket 3, Scosche Boom Bottle H2O+, and the JBL Charge 3.
I love portable bluetooth speakers. They are one of those things I just can’t live without.
When my speaker slowly started to die, I knew it was time to shop around for a new one. I take speaker shopping pretty seriously, especially when I’m throwing a big chunk of change at it. We decided to split the cost to find a great speaker, and ended up with the Fugoo Tough XL.
There are so many speakers out there with a variety of options, it can take a while to choose one. I’m one of those people that pores over reviews and compares them for months before purchasing something, and so I did a lot of work. It takes a lot of time to sort through the reviews and torture tests. Here’s a quick breakdown of my top contenders and why I chose the Fugoo Tough XL over the other speakers.
The speaker I was looking for had to be bluetooth compatible, tough, loud, have great battery life, and be water and shock proof. I find that most speakers tend to have great battery life in the beginning but slowly lose charge over time, which really sucks. Also, I find that the claims of battery life are often exaggerated and do not consider playing at a high volume. I make sure to look at things that have been around long enough to have good reviews on the battery. I’ve tested my speaker for a month now, and I will be updating this review as time goes on.
The contenders on my list were:
The Fugoo Tough XL, Braven BRV Pro, Altec Lansing Life Jacket 3, Scosche Boom Bottle H2O+, and the JLB Charge 3. All of them seem to be pretty awesome speakers within the $150-$300 range. They are all pretty rugged and waterproof, which are must haves in my world. After watching tonnes of videos and reading hundreds of reviews I finally chose the Fugoo Tough XL. There are a tonne of websites and youtube videos where you can compare actual specs on the speakers. Instead, I’m giving you the negatives I found from my research. Here’s what dropped the other competitors for me.
The Braven BRV Pro had pretty good reviews and claims to have 15 hour battery life. I was concerned however with the clip on the back of the speaker that holds a cap over the charging ports. The cap is what keeps it waterproof and anything with hinges will break down eventually. I bring my speaker on the lake and take it tubing down rivers with me, so waterproofness is imperative. Had the clips been made with metal instead of plastic I might be more confident in it. Sitting in the sun makes plastic brittle over time, and I just didn’t trust it to stand up over time with heavy use.
I was pretty sold on the Altec Lansing Life Jacket 3 for a while. It boasts about a 16 hour battery life, which is pretty decent. After reading a lot of reviews about it turning into a brick and quit working however, I decided not to risk it. Charging port issues seemed to be a common problem as well. It seems like a great speaker when it’s working, but there were just too many people complaining of charging issues and the speaker breaking. Some people complained about the bass not being that loud either and distortion at high volumes.
The Scosche Boom Bottle H2O+ was another great contender. It has awesome reviews, although only a few were to be found. They also have an awesome video of people river surfing with it, which looks like a lot of fun! The fact that it’s shaped so that it will fit anywhere a water bottle will is pretty cool as well. It only claims 11 hours battery life though, and that’s just not enough for me. I need all day charge. I couldn’t find a tonne of reviews either. Other versions of the boom bottle have more reviews, but I don’t like to jump into anything so new it hasn’t been tested a lot yet. It has potential to be awesome, but only time will tell.
The JLB Charge 3 was the final competition with the Fugoo. It was a hard decision between the two. The JBL Charge 3 seems to be an awesome speaker with great sound. It claims to have a 20 hour play time, which is super. The majority of the reviews were positive, but when digging a bit deeper I found issues with bluetooth connectivity and breakage. It seems there are quite a few knockoffs of the JBL Charge 2 and 3 on the market. This probably contributes to the bad reviews, so while the original is probably better quality, be careful if you are purchasing this one. My other concern is with the exposed subs on the ends. While I’m sure it helps the speaker to sound great I could see potential for damage if it is dropped the wrong way.
And now for the winner!
The Fugoo Tough XL was my final choice, and so far I’m very happy with it. It claims to have a 30 hour speaker, and even specifies at medium volume. Most speakers don’t specify battery to volume, so that is a big plus to me. I have tested this for a month now and it holds true to it’s claim so far. It has an indoor and outdoor mode, and sounds awesome on both. The Fugoo is an interesting design and is actually a self contained speaker that rests inside a removable case. You have a few style options to choose from. I chose the tough because I usually take my speakers outside, and I want it as rugged as possible.
Another cool feature is how the speakers are aligned. Drivers on all 4 sides give it an awesome 360 degrees of sound. It really does sound the same whichever side is facing you. Charging time is a super fast 3 hours, and you can fast charge your phone or ipod off of it as well. One negative, is that it only has wall charging capabilities. I really wanted something with a USB charger, but I’ve since bought an adapter to allow me to charge in my car. I usually have a portable battery bank for camping trips, but unfortunately I can’t use it with this speaker yet. I’m hoping to find an adapter that will allow me to connect a wall plug to a USB port. Shoot me a comment if you know of one!
I’ve taken it swimming with me in the ocean multiple times and it works great! When it’s full of water the sound stops, but as soon as it drains out the music plays again. It claims to float, but it doesn’t actually, it sinks. It’s pretty heavy so I’m not surprised. It does have a floaty accessory you can purchase though. I’m actually considering it, ha ha! Swimming with music is the coolest thing ever. Seriously, you have to try it!! Now that speaker tech is becoming so versatile you can pretty much take your tunes anywhere. It’s amazing!
The tough XL version doesn’t heat up super quickly in the sun, which is good. I do generally try to keep my electronics in the shade as much as possible, but I have used it on the beach all day in the sun and it didn’t overheat. It stayed fairly cool for most of the day, even in direct sunlight. I tested this in the spring though, and I’m on an island that isn’t overly hot. We will see how it fares in the middle of summer.
The sound is amazing! It has good bass and treble and has a much better mid range than any other speaker I’ve used before. I listen to all types of music, and it all sounds awesome. Everything from metal to dubstep to alternative and R&B. Even at full volume I get a full day worth of tunes before it needs a recharge, and at half volume it easily lasts 2 or 3 beach trips. I’m hoping to take it on a camping trip soon to see how many days it lasts on a single charge.
Occasionally I have a few issues connecting the bluetooth to my Samsung cell phone. I find that I have to make sure I turn on the speaker pairing mode before turning on the phone bluetooth or sometimes it doesn’t want to find it right away. As long as it’s in the proper order it’s fine, but it is a little annoying sometimes if I’ve forgotten. The voice on the speaker is the least annoying voice I’ve heard on a speaker so far. You can actually change the voice volume as well, which is awesome! No more high pitched woman yelling “battery low” way louder than the music! lol!
So far I love our Fugoo Tough XL waterproof speaker. It has a one year warranty and I plan to test it thoroughly over the next year. Depending who you buy from there are options for additional warranties as well. I plan to update this post again after 3, 6, and 12 months and let you know how it’s working and if the battery is still holding a 30 hour charge.
Check out the Fugoo website HERE for more info and specs on this speaker and their other products. I pair my speaker with my Android phone in a CaliCase. The CaliCase is a double thick waterproof bag for mobile devices. It comes with a carabiner that clips onto the Fugoo hand strap, so my set up is completely waterproof and ready to go.
Hair whipping to tunes on the beach! lol!
3 MONTH UPDATE
We’ve now been enjoying our speaker for 3 months. I’m very happy to report almost everything is working great! I have taken it to the beach numerous times, and we have taken it on an almost month long camping trip.
The battery has held up nicely so far. I have tested it thoroughly and it does indeed live up to it’s 30 hour play time. Playing it on a medium sound level we can get around 3 days of tunes. If you have it on a lower level you can get even more out of it. The sound quality is amazing! Every kind of music sounds awesome, even when you crank it! When listened to on high volume, you still get most of a day’s worth of tunes out of it, which is pretty awesome! In fact this speaker sounds much better than the speakers in my car. I have taken it out in my floating cooler onto lakes with no problems. Just make sure the little charging port door is completely closed and you are good to go! So far the door has been holding up nicely as well.
The only negative comment I have about this speaker is the bluetooth range. It’s terrible! I normally play music off of my Android Samsung 4 SG Neo. Whether it’s in a waterproof case or not, the range is very short. My phone pretty much has to be right beside the speaker. If I walk away with my phone in my pocket more than a few feet away it drops the signal. It’s a bit annoying to be honest. But other than that it’s a great speaker, and I believe it’s worth it for such great sound quality and battery time. Luckily when I come back within range it easily picks it up again and continues when I press play.
While it does charge super quickly, it does have to be charged with a wall plug. When you are on a long camping trip this can be an issue. My solution was to purchase an AUKEY 300 Dual 110V AC Outlets Car Power Inverter, to charge in my car. Now I can charge my speaker along with other items while driving. It can be plugged into the cigarette lighter or even attached to the vehicle battery, which makes it quite versatile. See my review on the AUKEY 300W here!
Overall, I’m still very happy with the Fugoo Tough XL’s performance so far. I will be updating again in another 3 months to let you know how it’s holding up!
Hopefully this quick review will save you some time and help you next time you are shopping for a waterproof speaker!
Take care and see you on the water! Cheers!