The Best Rugged Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker?

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Bluetooth speakers are great — but what if you want to listen to music outside? You’ll need something rugged that can take a beating that you’re not worried about scratching up. That’s the Big Turtle Shell speaker from Outdoor Tech.

Video transcript: Outdoor Technology calls their Big Turtle Shell the greatest wireless speaker ever created. While I’m not sure about that, it does have a great list of features: it’s water resistant, dust proof and shock proof and can charge your phone while it plays. That’s right it doubles as a portable power pack — how cool is that? Basically this is meant to be the perfect outdoor speaker.

Now this speaker’s been around for a few years by now but I felt it deserved a review because it really is so unique.

Now let’s start off with the sound quality. How good is it? Well the box makes some pretty interesting claims as to how loud it can get. And while I didn’t feel like making my neighbors cranky (although believe me I was tempted) I can say without a doubt that yes, this speaker get’s loud. To be honest I wish the bass thumped a bit louder but the audio is clear and you can definitely hear it outside from several houses away.

I seriously love the looks of this speaker. It’s unconventional and the geometric shapes on top make it look just really cool. If you blew this up to building size it would make a perfect Frank Gehry museum. In any case it’s the opposite of boring.

Probably the best feature of this speaker is just how rugged it is. I put it through some serious punishment including soaking it with a high-pressured water hose and dropping it multiple times from several feet in the air. Not only did it survive crunching head first into a pile of rocks but it barely had a scratch to show for it. Whatever this speaker is coated with really takes a beating without looking all that worse for the wear. It’s pretty impressive.

The ability to charge your phone one the go is a really nice touch. Actually I think it should be a standard feature for all Bluetooth speakers.

If I have one big gripe other than the missing mega bass, I’d say the buttons are a bit confusing to use. What looks like arrow buttons for skipping tracks are actually volume buttons first and foremost — and skipping a track requires holding them down for several seconds first. Without a doubt the buttons could’ve been designed a lot better.

Other than that I really like the handles on the bottom side of the speaker that make it easy to carry and the fact that you can set the speaker on it’s side to concentrate the sound in a particular direction.

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