Scosche H20 BoomBottle
- Waterproof/floating Design
- Attractive Color Scheme
- 1/4 inch universal thread
- Strong sound output and EQ choices
- Weak Bass
- Weird button combination for next/previous tracks
- No cue as to which EQ mode you are in
- No battery widget on iPhone/iPad.
The H20 BoomBottle + speaker is an Outdoor, Take Anywhere, Listen Anywhere device that can fit into your cupholder.
When it comes to speakers and headphones, quality sound beats appearance every time. However, the appearance draws your attention and ultimately your dollars. The H20+ BoomBottle, as you will learn, did not suffer from charisma. In fact, the tiny, nearly one pound speaker excelled in appearance and packaging. The BoomBottle H20+ speaker arrived in a 4 3/4 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall by 4 3/4 inches thick retail package. Scosche did a great job packaging their speaker, utilizing a pristine white slipcover surrounding a silver inner box. The Tech Sport Blue speaker was attractively displayed, obliquely, across the front and the left side panels. The turquoise, black and lime green IP67 waterproof wireless speaker promised an “Optimized Outdoors” experience. The right side panel displayed eight icons detailing the IP67 waterproof status, 11-hour rechargeable battery, included micro-USB cable, dual paring “true stereo” sound, selectable indoor/outdoor EQ modes, built-in music controls, bottle design for bikes/cages, floating design and 1/4 inch threaded for mounts/stands. Scosche further detailed the specifications upon the back panel: omnidirectional speaker, Bluetooth 4.2, AVRCP and A2DP Bluetooth profiles, 33-foot wireless range, 50mm speaker, 12W output, a carabiner clip, and a 3100mAh internal battery that should last at least 11 hours. To access the speaker, grip the rotating hanging hook and slide the slipcover upward. The silver inner box beautifully detailed the SCOSCHE name along the bottom of the cover and the bottom of the left side panel. Hidden beneath the slipcover, Scosche provided an attractive black rectangular title “BOOMBOTTLE H20.” Lastly, the bottom panel listed the typical product labels.
Removing the lid from the silver box, you will immediately notice the cylindrical speaker and the words “Where Do You Take Your Music?” The 2 3/4 inch diameter blue/green speaker, with black bookends, measured 6 inches tall and weighed 488 grams (17.21 ounces). Along the front of the speaker, you will find the three lime green buttons labeled: +, S, and -. You can find “Scosche” etched across the top, and BOOMBOTTLE H20 etched across the bottom. Rotating the speaker 180-degrees, you will find the masterfully designed 1 1/16 inches wide by 2 7/16 inches tall access port. I absolutely loved the access port cover, as it had a recessed pull strap that opened the waterproof compartment. Inside of the access port, you will find a micro-USB charging port, Aux input, 1/4 inch diameter EQ and Dual Pairing buttons. LIned with a rubber ring, the access port does a good job at maintaining the waterproof nature of the speaker. Looking directly at the back of the speaker, you will find a carabiner clip and along the lower border, two speaker cutouts. Along the bottom of the cylinder, Scosche intelligently added a 1/4 inch threaded port to accommodate tripods and other mounts.
Make sure that you do not throw away the silver box until you remove the hidden accessory box. Located above the clear plastic speaker tray, you will find the 40 1/2 inch micro-USB to USB-A cable, a small black carabiner in a small ziplock bag and a tri-lingual instruction manual. Each of the three languages (English, French, Spanish) are given eight pages to discuss the product. I cannot attest to the accuracy of the French/Spanish translations, but the English instructions were well written. The first page proved to be the most useful, providing a detailed legend of the features of the speaker. The second page provided information about the product specifications, many of which were detailed on the back/side of the slipcover. I did find it odd that the frequency response was listed at 150Hz-20Khz, as the range of human hearing is 20Hz-20kHz. This was already depressing as most of the juicy, heavy bass would be missed. To turn the speaker on, short press the central “S” multi-function button and you will hear an audible tone. To turn off the speaker, hold the same button for five seconds, and you will hear the same tone. The central button is a tad overloaded with this speaker. Instead of using the plus/minus buttons to change tracks, you will need to use the multi-function button. Short press the MFB button twice to progress to the next track or three times to reverse to the previous track. The plus/minus buttons are only used for volume. For people who use other devices this difference almost goes against the industry standard button layout. Excitingly the speaker has a ten-minute auto-shutoff and preset EQ indoor/outdoor settings. I found it smart that the company chose to default the settings to indoor and made the user choose to adjust the sound for outdoor usage.
To pair the speaker with your smart device, turn on the speaker with a single press of the central button, wait for the “whoop” tone and then hold the central button for three seconds. The upper led will then alternate between blue and red colors, and a high pitched tone will alert you to the pairing status. Navigate to settings, Bluetooth, and select H20+ from the list and yet another high pitched tone will ring. This pairing status will remain set, when turning on/off the speaker, but will re-enter pairing mode if unsuccessful after about 30 seconds (25 seconds in the manual). Having only a single device, I was unable to test the dual pairing mode for true stereo speakers. I have used this feature with other speakers, namely Fugoo and sbode speakers. I liked that the Fugoo paired speakers could be used in stereo or mono combined, which was a feature that the sbode speakers did not possess. Without a second H20 speaker, I was not able to determine if this could only pair in L/R form. Another interesting feature of the Scosche H20+ was the ability to pair a second device simultaneously. Essentially, you can pause one device and play from the second device. I could not think of a reason that I would need a feature like this. To estimate remaining battery time, you can monitor the lower LED. A blue LED suggests 75-100% remaining, a green LED 50-75%, a yellow LED 25-50% and Red LED up to 25% power. I did love the feature that alerted you every minute to low power. While charging, I was able to enjoy the same LED scheme as listed above. Every few seconds the LED will illuminate and alert you to the remaining power.
Released in 2016, the H20+ was designed as an upgrade to the previous H20 version. The H20+ had a bigger battery, but the bass remained disappointing. The Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz) from Audiocheck.net showed that the speaker was missing out on lower sounds from 20Hz-80Hz. The packaging stated 150Hz as the lower end of normal, and luckily the actual frequency went down to between 70-80Hz. “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner felt flat, “Train Song” by Holly Cole was unexciting and Johnny Cash music missed a little Je ne sais quoi. The High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz) was more limited by my hearing than the ability of the speaker. My six-year-old son stated that he heard sound at 18kHz and I was able to hear sound at 16 kHz, which is reasonable for my age. The sound output at 3/4 to full would fill a living room and a small deck but would be easily drowned out by ambient noises. Pressing the EQ button gave the speaker a little boost and seemingly provided a 10% power increase. I did not feel that the speaker became tinny/raspy at higher volumes, but the lack of bass was stunningly obvious. In addition to the lack of bass, I was a little disappointed with the accessories. First, the device was capable of 3.5mm audio input but did not come with a 3.5mm cable. Even though we likely have dozens of these in our tech drawer/tote, I would hate to buy this device for a trip or event and find out that there was not an included 3.5mm cable. My second critique revolved around the use of the bland black carabiner, as I felt this was a glaring inattention to detail. Imagine if there was a piece of reflective paracord or if the carabiner was neon green, reflective or glow-in-the-dark? The color scheme was ideal for the outdoor world where dark colors like black/green/browns serve as camouflage. If you drop the carabiner or unhook it from the speaker, you may not find the carabiner again.
I absolutely loved the 11-hour life, which seemed to last forever with sporadic use. Plugging the device into power overnight, you can enjoy nearly limitless sound from this speaker. I wanted to make this my go-to outdoor speaker, but the lack of bass made me want to move on to other devices. The output of sound from the top of the speaker meant you could hear the sound in all directions. For a really interesting experience, place the speaker upside down and listen to the muffled sounds. Or, you can use your hand on the top of the speaker to create a “wah wah” mute experience. The ability of the speaker to float was a very useful feature, as was the 1/4 thread on the bottom. My overall feelings about the speaker were mixed. I would like to try the second device to evaluate the true stereo experience. However, once I had ~$150 invested, I would want to simply buy a more powerful $150 stereo output speaker. My children liked the speaker, and the nearly indestructible shell meant that they could play music while they rode bikes or swam. This device is ideal for the outdoor environment, where other less rugged gear would fail. The BoomBottle H20+ has its place in my speaker army, but like some of the Iron Man suits it only serves a niche role. The speaker was a great effort and seemed to have advancements over the previous iteration of speaker. I have known Scosche for their mounting gear and like to see that they are expanding into new avenues. If they continue to improve upon this design, other speaker brands will feel it in their pocketbooks.