Bold, tenacious and pushing colossal sound, this is FUGOO Sport XL.
From the opening of the box, the Fugoo Sport XL is designed to impress. The box features a finger and vent hole to allow the packaging to open effortlessly. This theme was carried throughout my experience with the Fugoo XL Sport. Only a few products manage to captivate me to this level with their quality and function. I imagine this is how Yeti Cooler owners feel. Others scoffing at them due to the price paid, but owners know there is a real value to products that are simply better than anything out there. I’ve used and seen portable bluetooth speakers that claim they are waterproof, snow proof, mud proof, etc, but most have manuals that warn you not to really put that to the test. The Fugoo however shows you in the marketing materials and manual how to really use the device in your daily adventures, without asterisks. Even going so far as to let you know that the unit floats for easy recovery when you dump it in the water.
One of the first things I said to myself is “this is big and suprisingly hefty” coming in at about 3 pounds, a foot long, 5″ high, and 4″ deep it is substantially larger than the original Fugoo speaker. Surrounded by a thick plastic case that is designed to take impacts, you can believe its 3′ drop test results.
On the top the Fugoo XL features volume, action, track skip, and play buttons that are conveniently glow in the dark which really came in handy when I was using it outside around the fire a few nights ago. On one of the ends you will find a waterproof cover with easy pull fabric handle that pulls the cover plug out to reveal a standard USB A port for charging devices, a barrel type connector for the included charging supply, and a USB micro port which seems to only be used for firmware updates that might be released in the future. On the other end you will find a bluetooth sync control button, power button, and 1/8″ stereo aux in jack for wiring the speaker up directly to your music playing device. On the bottom you find the thumbscrews needed to replace the cover with one of the other Fugoo XL skins or future ones that are released. Also you can use this to dry off the unit after it gets wet.
The Fugoo XL Sport features 4 tweeters for high end, 2 woofers for mid and low range, and 2 “passive” subwoofers, which by my guess are resonation areas in the case to really drive the low end that modern music listeners expect. I was just astounded by the quality and volume this thing can pump out. It clearly reproduces the full range of my music over Bluetooth or through the AUX jack. Its special outdoor mode gives the sound a punch and helps get even more volume out the device at the expense of some quality, but outdoors it rarely matters as much. If you are using it indoors or out, it really has the advertised 360 degree sound output. Just put it somewhere close and everyone can clearly hear the music.
Bluetooth sync was a breeze and switching to another player is simply a press to disconnect and a quick bluetooth search on the other device. It behaves adequately as a speakerphone when linked to a phone with ability to answer or reject a call with a button press. A voice guides you to what mode the speaker is in, and with a simple press of the power button quickly reminds you of how much battery charge is left.
As a bonus the unit offers USB charging of your devices while it is on. You can charge your phone while it is playing music, which is just a great extra. You can also charge external devices when the speaker is power off, as long as it is connected to DC power. It does charge at full AC charge rate on my LG G3 though, so it doesn’t have to be connected to long to get a great boost.
Battery life is very respectable. In the marketing materials it promises 35 hours of 50% volume playback on a single 3.5 hour charge. My longest play session was 8 hours at pretty loud levels in additional to giving my phone a 50 to 100% charge. It still reported “about half” when I pressed the power button.
Trying out the ruggedness and claims of this device I somewhat reluctantly tossed it in the water while it was playing. I’m pleased to say that it does indeed float, but just barely. It bobs above the water just about 1/4″ above the waterline. With its speakers below water, you won’t hear it, but you will be able to retrieve it and get it back in the boat without worrying about it playing to catfish on the bottom of the river. After it’s been in the drink, I recommend taking the cover off and wiping the “core” dry because it holds a suprising amount of water in every nook and crevice of the case. Inside you will find everything nicely sealed. Every driver is made with a flexible rubber, with no cloth or cardboard to crumble or rot like some other speakers.
This is a fantastic device that will be coming with me on boat trips, kayaking, camping, and playing music when friends are over. I’m beyond impressed, and barring the small matter of charging devices while off and some might say the price at $299, the Fugoo XL Sport is nearly a perfect device.
Buy on Amazon: FUGOO Sport XL