With literally hundreds of different sizes, brands, shapes, etc, buying a portable Bluetooth speaker can be rather intimidating and confusing, especially if you care about getting value out of the product you buy. With so many manufacturers of Bluetooth speakers and so many different kinds, you can easily assume that Bluetooth speakers are a money making machine.
Bose, Beats, Sony, Samsung, Lg, Logitech, etc, all make speakers, and each focus on sound first, followed by durability, battery life, design, function and features like Bluetooth, NFC, and speaker phone.
Most people head down to their local Best Buy, Target, or Amazon.com to research and purchase their Bluetooth speaker. In noisy environments, it is hard to pick up which speaker sounds the best, and in many cases customers go simply off of loudness and bass to make their decision when in store, or they have to rely on user reviews from amazon.com. For the readers of AndroidGuys, I have a treat for you.The tough Fugoo speaker is the absolute best speaker you can buy for the money. I will explain why in the review. Fugoo, or Fugu, is a pufferfish that is prepared for food consumption in Japan as well as a very few select restaurants in the US. The pufferfish is highly poisonous, and if it is not served properly, it can kill the people who consume it. When you think of Fugu, you think of something that takes many hours of practice to be able to serve it to consumers. You also think of things like, premium, rare, high-quality, and tough. And that is why I believe the Fugoo speaker is the last Bluetooth speaker you will buy.
Fugoo sells 6 speakers, but of those six, they are derived from 2 core models. You have the standard core which I will be reviewing, and you have the XL(larger size) which I hope to review in the future. The Fugoo comes in three different designs, the Style, Sport, and Rugged. I chose to review the Rugged model, as I tend to explore the outdoors in sunny San Diego and I want a speaker that can handle the elements which Fugoo claims it can.
First and foremost, the most important factor when choosing a speaker is the quality of sound. When people think of a manufacturer that puts sound first they usually think of Bose. I am one of the customers who owned a few Bose speakers, and generally I would say they do offer the best sound quality. All other speakers usually sound pretty good, or good enough, and when picking a speaker you can balance all of the features that are most important when making your final decision.
In comes Fugoo. There is absolutely no compromise on sound. You can see the 6 speakers through the grilles on the device, 2 speakers on the front and back, and one on each of the sides. When listening to music, you do not need to worry about which way the speaker is facing. It pumps out loud and quality music in each direction. When watching movies with my Samsung Galaxy Tab S, I place the speaker behind the tablet, and if there were a movie theater experience on a tablet, the Fugoo would be it. You can feel the bass, hear the 3D sound, and hear every word because the speaker is simply loud and clear. Without getting over analytical with sound data charts, I can say this speaker is better than the Bose Soundlink Mini which is a direct competitor. The Bose speaker was the best sounding speaker that I had heard until the Fugoo. Both sound great, but the six speakers on the Fugoo just give a better listening experience. Music and movies truly come alive when listening to the Fugoo.
At 50% loudness, Fugoo claims that the speaker will last an astounding 40 hours. In comparison, the Bose Soundlink Mini gets an estimated 10 hours of use. I can confirm that the Fugoo absolutely demolishes the competition when it comes to battery life. I received this speaker two months ago, and the reason why it has taken me so long to write this review is because I was not only testing in-use battery life, but I was testing standby battery life.
I personally believe this is the best portable Bluetooth speaker you can buy in this price range. Before writing this review and recommendation, I wanted a real life experience in how I would use the speaker so I could pass that on to you.
I never quite made 40 hours of use with the Fugoo speaker, but I did get over 30 hours. That can be attributed to me cranking the volume up because I enjoyed this speaker so much. It truly brought my music to life when I was cooking, taking a shower, hanging out at the dog park, and camping on an overnight trip with a few friends. I never once worried about recharging the speaker until it warned me when the battery was running low. Listening at 50% volume for 40 hours just wasn’t an option for me because this speaker sounded too great to keep it quiet.
After testing the in-use battery life, I tested the standby battery life. I went 30 days without touching my speaker after a full charge. When I went to use it after 30 days, the speaker had 75% battery life remaining. The battery is simply incredible.
I would imagine most of the weight of this speaker, it is heavy for such a small device(1.4 pounds), comes from the six speakers and huge battery. Either way, I don’t mind the extra weight because this device lasts so long. No other speaker comes close when it comes to battery life. Sound quality can be debated until blue in the face, as sound quality is highly subjective, but battery life speaks for itself. No other speaker comes close in matching battery life.
When you spend 200-300 dollars on an accessory, you would definitely like it to be durable. No one appreciates an accessory falling apart. The Fugoo is best-in-class when it comes to durability. I tested the “Tough” version and by all means was it tough. The Tough speaker is built with a heavy-duty cage and frame designed to withstand the elements. My speaker was rained on, dropped, thrown in a backpack, run under water from the sink, dropped in the sand at the beach, and it still worked perfectly. There was not even a hint of this speaker breaking down after two months of solid usage.
Usually when you buy a portable speaker for outdoor usage, the manufacturer puts build quality over sound quality. In Fugoo’s case, the speakers build quality and sound quality are equal. You will not find a more durable speaker than the Fugoo, and you will not find a better sounding speaker than the Fugoo.
Since the Fugoo was designed to be multi-purpose, they offer a wide range of accessories to go with the speaker. They offer a bike mount, a strap mount( to tie the speaker to any object you want, or a multi-mount which can be used to use a tripod, rope/carabiner, or belt clip with this speaker. In addition to the different mounts, Fugoo also offers a remote control with a built-in bottle opener for those outdoor trips.
When you’re done with the outdoors and want to change the look of your speaker for home use, Fugoo also offers a wide range of cases. These cases are not designed to go over the Tough speaker, they are designed to replace the tough case. An allen wrench is provided in the packaging which will allow you to remove the core of the speaker from the case. Once removed you can easily replace the tough cover with a sport jacket, or style jackets which come in a multitude of colors. Your outdoor speaker doesn’t have to look rugged when you use it at home.