Fugoo Speaker Review – A 2020 Deep Dive
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As with most of the portable speakers on the market, this one is waterproofed to let you take it with you to the beach, the pool, or even the shower.
At IP67, it should resist most casual wetting and even a brief dip, but should not be fully submerged in water for any length of time; this rating also guarantees it is resistant to damage from snow, dust, and rain.
It pairs quickly and easily with any device through Bluetooth 4.0 but adds another layer of universal compatibility that some competing devices lack by also including an omnidirectional microphone and support for most leading digital assistants.
This machine can receive input for Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Google Now, or Amazon’s Alexa from anywhere in the room and immediately relay it to the paired device; if you have linked it to your mobile phone, it can also receive calls and serve as a hands-free receiver for your conversation.
See Also: Focal Speakers Review
The battery life is something to behold; at nearly 10 hours of playtime, it more than doubles the lifespan of the last generation of speakers. This makes the speaker an ideal choice for long days of sports or parties on the beach, and its sleek and fashionable exterior even lets you blend it with any outfit for going out with friends.
A combination of both passive and active drivers points in every direction but down, giving a rich sound quality to anyone gathered around. The controls are relatively minimal, as excessive interfaces would reduce the effectiveness of the waterproofing, but are also large and easily manipulated even with one hand and without looking at the device.
Both power and data transfer are accomplished by a micro-USB port, with a universal cable included for that purpose. The speaker does not include an SD card port of any description, so your media options will be limited to Bluetooth and the charging cable; that said, it is possible to link several of these speakers to one another, effectively using the speaker as a repeater for the device and creating a bigger and more complete audio experience.
One of the things that makes this brand, in particular, stand out is the array of mounting and carrying options they have on the market. Under the name Fugoo Style, there are wristbands, bicycle mounts, car holders, and more. This speaker is compatible with all of them, giving it considerably increased portability over other, less versatile speakers.
Who’s It For?
The short answer, of course, is ‘anyone.’ These speakers are rigged to join any operating system that can connect to Bluetooth in making a great sound production. They are certainly for anyone who will be away from their home systems for any length of time and can be recommended for outdoor events and listening to your favorite songs or radio in the car.
These are not recommended for anyone seeking a surround sound experience. They are too small for the sound to be properly projected in the listener’s direction, and are often incorrectly positioned. They are not rated for use at any depth of water and are not recommended for gaming or classroom needs where a more permanent setup is recommended.
What We Like About the Fugoo Speaker
Right off the bat, this speaker is a great example of keeping things as simple as possible; there are practically no controls, so it is exceptionally hard to make a mistake setting it up. The Bluetooth is 4.0, allowing it to pair and perform easily, and the battery charges at a respectable speed.
It is also physically pleasant to carry, with small dimensions, low weight in the hand, and the appearance of a trendy clutch if no one looks too closely. For those who need their hands while they’re on the go, the range of carrying options the company offers goes a long way to ensure that you really can take it anywhere you want, especially since it is waterproofed.
What We Don’t Like About the Fugoo Speaker
The speaker has been reported to have problems with Alexa and Cortana, making it somewhat less reliable for those systems than it should be. It would also be nice if there were a few more media options. There is a lot to be said for being able to simply insert a microSD card and forget about it, especially when the alternative is a Bluetooth connection that can quickly drain your phone’s battery.
It should not have been too hard to get this speaker’s waterproof rating up to IP68, which would make it suitable for full immersion and not simply splashproof, also it is not as impact resistant as many other speakers are. There is also no way to turn the various drivers on and off, lessening your control over the exact tones you will hear.
A common concern for many buyers is value for money. This speaker delivers excellent sound quality and for a long time, but similar effects can be achieved with cheaper alternatives, leading many buyers to hesitate before buying this speaker. Even if there are some added features, they may not be enough to convince someone on a budget.
- Discreet and trendy exterior
- Simplified control interface
- Pairs with nearly every operating system
- Links with other speakers to make a full audio array
- Long-lasting battery life with quick charging
- Relatively few input methods, including no WiFi adapter
- Plenty of carrying options, but none are included and all cost extra
What’s In The Box?
This speaker, like most electronics, packs the bulk of its value in the device itself – the box contains a brief instruction pamphlet, generic USB to micro-USB cable, and the speaker itself.
It does not include any of the Fugoo Style series of carrying solutions, an extra battery, or an acoustic cone – a large, conical piece of plastic in which one places the speaker to make it refract sound in one direction instead of every direction, improving the speaker power and range.
Overview of Features
This speaker has the same compact dimensions as a number of similar models, measuring just 6.50” x 2.60” x 2.10” and weighing in at .97lbs. Unlike many other Bluetooth portable speakers, this one has a defined base as opposed to being a cylinder, making it easier to place on all kinds of surfaces.
The audio projection is 105 dB, produced by two 40mm active drivers and two 28mm passive drivers to provide a blanched output. It will run both sets at full capacity for roughly 10 hours straight and recharges fully overnight.
There are very few physical interfaces of any kind, only a volume up and down button and a micro-USB port for charging. The controls are gratifyingly simple and are sized and positioned to be easy to manipulate even when you cannot look at your speaker for some reason.
This speaker’s casing is deliberately designed to look like an upscale clutch to allow users to match it with any outfit. Many similar speakers are shaped like a cylinder of some sort and colored in bright pastels, making it hard to match them with any ordinary ensemble.
In terms of software, buyers will find this speaker up to date, if not particularly cutting edge. It connects to other devices by Bluetooth 4.0 and works with all mainstream operating systems.
The manufacturers have taken things a step further by including an always-on omnidirectional microphone that allows you to seamlessly integrate it with your smart home or digital assistant, supporting all mainstream digital assistants, and can also be paired with a cell phone to act as a hands-free receiver for your calls.
In another brand-new twist, one can also link these speakers to each other, creating a Bluetooth chain of speakers that serve to dramatically broaden your Bluetooth range. Additionally, every speaker adds its own power to whatever is being transmitted, making it easy to carry a message across crowded venues or long distances between speaker and audience.
One piece of software that has been reported to malfunction on occasion is pairings with Windows and Amazon devices. Although the manufacturer claims to be working on improving connectivity, these systems remain, for the moment, touch and go proposal that can change between uses of the speaker.
Like many products in its class, this speaker has an IP67 waterproofing rating, which means that it can withstand up to one meter of submersion for brief periods of time and is effectively impervious to snow, dust, and light wetting such as splashes or rain. Although this is undoubtedly a positive feature to include, upgrading an IP67 product to IP68 is not particularly difficult, and the added submersion rating would have been a welcome addition here.
There are, unfortunately, no external carrying solutions for this product. Others typically come with either a grab handle or eyelets for a shoulder strap. Fugoo does sell a remarkable line of mounting options for this or any other of their speakers, under the name Fugoo Style. It would have been nice to have basic options along with the speaker.
Value for money is a touchy subject here; there are several other devices with most or all of the same functions and features as this, but for a noticeably smaller price tag that leaves many in doubt about this product. It produces exceptional sound quality, to be sure, and includes an unusually resilient battery, but is priced just high enough above the standard, not to be considered worth buying.
Review Wrap Up
This speaker is good at its job – it gives any device the ability to project clear and powerful audio over an extended period of time without needing to hook up any extra cables or invest in extra weight. Although it is certainly a defensible choice for that purpose, the elevated cost of the speaker makes it not necessarily the first thing a buyer is looking at when they search for a portable speaker.
Its universal application is enormously helpful, and the ability to receive voice commands is a welcome help in the car or when using a smart home system. It’s also great for livening up outdoor events of nearly any kind and lasts for almost 10 hours on one charge.
The main flaws are the price and the lack of any carrying solution. Any of the many Fugoo Style carriers would have made this product much easier to keep at your side all day.
First and foremost, make sure to compare prices between different vendors before getting this item. With a price already edging out of the standard retail range, it is imperative that buyers at the very least find the lowest offer they can for this speaker.
Check to make sure your device is compatible before buying. The Fugoo speaker runs on Bluetooth 4.0 and charges with a micro-USB port, so make sure that neither of those will be a problem before you settle on this speaker in particular.
It is also worth noting that the batteries on this speaker are built into the device, so there is no such thing as charging them and having a spare on hand. Users will need to prepare their speaker for the day ahead or plan to be near an outlet if they are going to be running it for any length of time.
As there have been a number of reliability issues with this product, users are advised to keep all original packaging and be ready to return it if it proves troublesome. Take note of both store and manufacturer warranties in case the disparity might be of some help in getting your money back.