I’ve had dozens of speaker docks through the house, and, while there have been some variations on the standard form factor, The Ecko Spray is the first time I’ve come across a wireless speaker disguised as a can of spray paint. It’s the right size, has a clear plastic lid (that doubles as a horizontal stand) and even a nozzle. If graffiti is your thing, then this might be your portable speaker system — so long as your musical needs aren’t overly demanding.
The Spray is part of the audio line-up being offered by Ecko Unltd, a designer better known for urban clothing that got it’s start back in the 90s with t-shirts and a few cans of spray paint. That would explain the form factor. Actually the spray can works well in this application. As mentioned, the lid does double duty as a stand. The nozzle is a multifunction control knob, complete with LED status lights. The “can” is wrapped in black mesh, concealing a pair of 1.6-inch drivers (backed by a 3.2-watt Class D amplifier).
Unfortunately, the Spray doesn’t quite live up to its apparent street cred when it comes to audio performance. Bass is in short supply and the treble is exaggerated (common in smaller systems), and, while it can go louder than you might expect from its size, the Spray gets buzzy and distortion becomes noticeable at higher volume. I discovered the Spray doesn’t like garage bands, struggling with noisy guitars and often coming off sounding flat. It does significantly better with electronic music, although it’s still lacking at the low end.
The rechargeable battery is rated at 10 hours, but that’s assuming you’re not cranking the volume. Bluetooth pairing is straightforward (the multipurpose nozzle once again), and the Spray also has an audio/voice indicator of key events. You can use it as a hands free speaker with your smartphone, and there’s a 3.5 mm AUX jack for plugging in non-Bluetooth sources.
The MSRP on the Ecko Spray is $159.99, making it an expensive proposition for what you get. There are a lot of good wireless speaker docs at the $200 price point (like the Sonos Play:1 reviewed last week or the House of Marley Roots Rock), making the Spray a tough recommendation — even with the unique form factor.
But Amazon has it for $79 and that makes a big difference. At under $80, the Ecko Spray is a pretty good deal, and if you’re looking for a wireless speaker you can toss in a backpack and make a statement with, then this one becomes worth considering.