A day at the beach or in the pool isn’t really complete without some tunes. Most electronics and portable speakers don’t do very well with the elements, though—especially water. The Splash Speaker from Thumbs Up, however, is designed specifically for pumping out jams near water.
The Splash Speaker is fairly simple. It’s a 3.375-inch square that’s 1.75 inches thick. It weighs about half a pound. With the speaker facing you there is a rubber wrist strap attached to the top left. On top there are four buttons—Power, Phone, and Volume up / down buttons.
The right side has an access panel that covers an auxiliary input port and the micro USB charging port. The entire unit is splash proof and connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth 3.0.
Thumbs Up claims the wireless range of the Splash Speaker is about 33 feet. That seems like a fairly safe distance for your smartphone or tablet to be safely outside of the splash zone. The Splash Speaker will last three to four hours on a full charge—adequate, but not the best battery life.
As soon as you turn it on it goes into pairing mode. It shows up as BLSPLSPK on your mobile device. It can only be paired with one device at a time, though. Once it’s been paired the only way to re-pair it with a different device is to remove or forget the Splash Speaker from the connected mobile device to break the association. Then the Splash Speaker will automatically go into pairing mode again.
This little speaker can crank out some music. I have louder Bluetooth speakers, but for its size the Splash Speaker is impressive.
Keep in mind that the Splash Speaker is splash-resistant—not waterproof. That means you can set it on the side of the pool and it won’t be damaged by splashing—and you can even touch it with your wet hands to push the phone button and answer a call—but if you drop it in the pool it’s probably going to be fried.
If its paired with a smartphone the music will stop when there is an incoming call. Answering is as simple as pushing the phone button on top of the unit. The volume and clarity of the phone call is pretty good—for both you and the party at the other end of the call. Once the call ends the music resumes automatically.
My only complaint is the difficulty of opening the access panel on the side. It closes tightly to seal the auxiliary port and micro USB port from water damage. I respect that. The tab on the end that you pull to open it, however, is too small for me to grip tightly enough to open it. I have to use some sort of knife or screwdriver to pry it open.
If you use the auxiliary input to connect a music source rather than Bluetooth you’ll be giving up the splash resistant aspects of it. Unless you have a very long cord the device you’re connecting would need to be right next to the speaker, and having the panel open to access the auxiliary port on the Splash Speaker exposes it to damage from water.
The volume and quality of sound from the Splash Speaker is impressive given its size and price. If you have the money to spend there are better outdoor sound systems available—especially if we’re talking about delivering music poolside in your own backyard. Most of those won’t also allow you to answer calls from your phone while you’re swimming, though.
At $70 this would be a bit pricey, but it’s actually available from Amazon for under $50—with free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. If you visit the pool, lake, or beach often I would recommend picking up a Splash Speaker.
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