Monday, August 4, 2014

We review the Turtle Shell 2.0 Bluetooth Speaker, and it's one decent piece of kit...

So I was fortunate enough to get my grubby paws on a pretty funky piece of techno gadgetry recently, in the form of the Turtle Shell 2.0 Bluetooth Speaker.
Everything today is going wireless - I don't even want to start thinking of all of the wonderful things that are probably happening to our brains as a result, but the reality is that people don't really want to use cables unless they absolutely have to.

Wireless audio just makes life so much simpler.
Step into any electronics or audio store today, and you will be amazed at the choice of Bluetooth speakers available, when compared to just a few years ago.
Trouble is, there are a lot of downright cheap and nasty products on the market - great in terms of convenience and portability, but when it comes to performance and sound quality, just not up to scratch.

While one cannot really expect a small Bluetooth speaker to be capable of window smashing bass, it is still possible to achieve a respectable level of audio quality, while retaining portability and decent aesthetics.
The ability to take a beating would also be nice - after all we often want to take our music with us, don't we?

Enter the Turtle Shell 2.0, by Outdoor Tech:

I don't need to be Patrick Jane, to know that you are already hooked by the look of this thing alone.
Outdoor Tech have paid particular attention to design - the angles actually remind me of the Stealth Fighter - I wonder if it is invisible to radar? :)

So is it any good?
Well I won't venture too far into the tech specs now, as much as I usually love to pretend that I know exactly what they mean.
Instead, you can check out all the important details here, while I proceed to provide a first hand account of my experience with the Turtle Shell 2.0.

From the outset, I was not expecting anything tremendous from something so small - the Turtle Shell 2.0 comfortably sits in the palm of your hand (or hands, if your hands are particularly small :)).
It happily travels wherever you need it to, thanks to the nifty carry bag supplied with it, and you don't have to stress about accidental drops or spills - this thing is built tough (it is IP65 dust proof and water resistant - apparently that's good). :)

Bluetooth pairing is beyond basic, and you can expect up to 16 hours of audio (depending on how loud you pump the bass, that is).
If you still don't know what Blueteeth are, there is also a 3.5mm audio port on the side, where you can plug in a walkman, iPod or other audio player.
Charging is via Micro USB, which is fast becoming one of the most popular charging methods - another thumbs up there.

Moving along - once paired up with my Nokia Lumia 920, the thing that (pleasantly) surprised me most about this speaker, is how well it "threw" the sound, even at soft volumes.
That has to be down to the way that Outdoor Tech designed it - apart from the funky look, those angled surfaces serve to direct sound omnidirectionally (I just Googled that to make sure it's a real word).

Bass, mid-range and treble were all of high quality when considering the device size, and I noticed that the speaker volume maxxed out more or less just short of any distortion, without sounding "tinny", like those walkman speakers of old.

3 simple buttons on the side allow you to navigate through your tracks and control the volume, and a standard camera mount underneath allows for various mounting options.
During my time with the Turtle Shell 2.0, I also found myself setting it up wherever I went, just to have some quality sound in the background.
Soft or loud, this little gem excels.

Of course, once the party is over and it's time to get back to business, you can always use the built in microphone to conduct wireless conference calls - another nifty feature thrown in, just to sweeten the deal.
I have to say that in the congested world of Bluetooth Speakers, the Turtle Shell 2.0 totally stands out from the crowd on several fronts:

  • High quality audio
  • Seriously rugged - dust, water and shock resistant
  • Portable
  • Funky design - available in a range of funky colours
  • Feature packed
So here's what you get in the box - they even throw in some cool Outdoor Tech stickers :):

I sure was sad when I had to hand this back.

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