I have reviewed a lot of audio equipment. There are two primary categories for that slew of reviewing with one thing in common. The categories are headphones (either earbuds or over-the-ear types) and portable BlueTooth speakers. The one thing in common is that not a single one of them would be considered rugged or even tough. In fact, most can’t handle a week of gym sweat on the cables or getting accidentally knocked off the workbench. So of course, when offered the FRESHeTECH All Terrain Sound BlueTooth Speaker how could I refuse?
The FRESHeTECH All Terrain Sound speaker follows up their popular Splash Shower Tunes speaker, which (as implied) was intended for the shower and other wet situations. The All Terrain Sound Speaker is also as implied, a speaker for all terrains and conditions. Save for a sturdy little spring-loaded closed hook, the speaker is a rounded affair, with tired treads around the sides. The first test was to hand it off to my 13yr old, who has a penchant for destroying things. After bouncing it off the ground a couple times and rolling awkwardly down the driveway it showed no discernible damage, which was good enough for this review.
As for the sound, the speaker is a single speaker device so is going to have a few predictable drawbacks. There is the normal lack of depth that I have found in BlueTooth speakers, using the latest Matisyahu album and some of the Fatboy Slim library to fully test the range. Regardless, the speaker delivered a generally crisp and loud sound, with only a tiny bit of distortion on some of the higher treble tracks. I found it to be a step above other single speaker devices, just for the sheer volume of the delivery. While the speaker does reside in a housing that protects it from the elements, it still manages to pump out tunes that will make your neighbors at the park raise an eyebrow.
There are buttons for volume control, next and previous track and play/pause. In addition to the power button, 3.5mm line-in and USB charging port (hidden under a tight rubber cap). The cap is the only possible vulnerability for the waterproofing. It is rated IPX5 water proof, which means it can be dropped in the water, played in the rain or taken on the river with no concern to ruining the device.
It also should be noted that it floats! Although submerging in water will result in a loss of BlueTooth connectivity.
Aside from floating, it also has a mic on it, in case you get a call while it is dangling from your harness while rock climbing. I’m not sure why you’d want to take a call while you are rock climbing, but I’ve taken calls in stranger places so it’s all good.
All BlueTooth speakers have their pros and cons, thankfully the cons of this one were actually quite short. In fact, there was only one major con for me and that was only because I am much more of an avid biker than camper, hiker or anything else that would involve suffering the Florida heat for longer than I had to.
While the speaker does have the hook on it, to attach to a tree branch or tent pole perhaps, it would have been nice to have some sort of stationary holster to attach to a bike. On the website it shows the speaker hanging from underneath the seat. This is all well and good and is one of the few places the hook fits, but that certainly affects the sound. Unless you are biking on a smooth, recently paved parking lot, the speaker swings and bounces around.
I found when biking, it just swung back and forth so I ended up either carrying it (not a wise idea) or jamming in my cup holder. Of course the latter meant the sound had to travel through my thighs first, so that wasn’t ideal either. It did come with a suction cup, but I never found a plate of glass that I wanted to stick it to that I couldn’t just set it against. This is a small complaint though, because even if the music was changing directional based on terrain, the speaker never fell off and didn’t skip like a CD player would back in 1992.
Overall, for the price point of under $100, the FRESHeTECH All Terrain BlueTooth Speaker is a pretty sturdy deal. It sure beats carrying a boombox around, is much stronger and louder than most BlueTooth speakers on the market and has a good clean sound to boot. Supposing you go hiking, camping, play racquetball, tennis, basketball, go canoeing, spelunking, rock climbing, paddle boarding, hang at the beach, in mall parking lots or like to annoy people on public transportation, the FRESHeTECH All Terrain BlueTooth Speaker is a great buy. Plus, it looks like a little tire.