Portable Bluetooth speakers are must-have if you love music. Outdoor activities like camping, hanging out on the beach, or pool parties call for additional features like boosted power and water resistance. The EcoSlate from ECOXGEAR wants to be your go-to portable Bluetooth speaker by taking outdoor appeal to the next leve —even replacing your flashlight.
Rugged and Waterproof
When choosing a portable Bluetooth speaker, you’d be hard pressed to find one that outdoes the EcoSlate in toughness. It’s built rugged, with a drop-proof design (MIL-STD 810G) that features big rubber bumpers on the corners to absorb shocks. Ports are all hidden behind a locking door that’s sealed with a rubber gasket. Buttons are covered with a rubber membrane and the speaker is rated IP67 waterproof—you can dunk it under three feet of water for 30 minutes with no ill effects. It floats, and, unlike many waterproof speakers, ECOXGEAR says you can safely expose this one to the ocean and its salt water (just rinse it after).
In a vote of confidence for that durability, ECOXGEAR backs the EcoSlate with a 3-year warranty.
For a compact Bluetooth speaker, the EcoSlate performs pretty well. Beneath the speaker grill are a pair of full-range drivers and two passive radiators with a total of 20W of power. Music tends to be heavy on the mid range, with respectable bass. There isn’t a ton of depth, which isn’t surprising given the small form factor and driver setup, but it packs plenty of volume—even at the higher levels needed for outdoor use. The sweet spot is about 50% volume, where there’s enough power for some bass thump, the upper range is still crisp and it’s loud enough to provide the soundtrack for a crackling campfire.
Get close to the maximum though, and while the passive radiators furiously pump out the bass, the high end gets harsh.
ECOXGEAR includes features that can improve your listening experience, including support for Siri or Google voice control and the ability to pair two speakers wirelessly for stereo sound. But the EcoSlate also offers options that make it very useful for having around your campsite, or when the power goes out at home. Its 12-hour battery can be used as a power bank to top up a smartphone that’s running low on power. There’s a very useful built-in 200 Lumens flashlight with three intensity levels. The buttons themselves are backlit (that can be turned off) and there is an LED battery level indicator. There’s also a master power switch you can turn off to ensure the EcoSlate remains at full charge and ready to go during extended storage.
ECOXGEAR throws in a carabiner clip and there are also metal-threaded tripod mounts on two of the speaker’s sides.
The ECOXGEAR EcoSlate would make an excellent speaker to bring along for camping or other outdoor activities. It’s relatively compact (8.6 x 5.5 x 2.2-inches and 1.8lbs), delivers solid audio performance for the size, it’s built like a tank, and offers additional functionality besides music in a single device.
The EcoSlate is offered in a variety of colors, including the Mint of my review unit. MSRP is $149.99, although it can currently be found on Amazon for $120.
Disclosure: ECOXGEAR provided an EcoSlate speaker for review purposes but had no editorial input.