Last week I talked about using my new Bose noise-cancelling headphones on the plane. This week, I want to tell you about another piece of my portable gear you might be interested in.
I like to have music playing while I get ready in the mornings. At home, that’s no problem – I have an Altec-Lansing portable speaker with an iPhone 4 (long deactivated) as an iPod to provide my music. It’s easily loud enough to hear during a shower or with the hair dryer running. (And yes, I am the last one up in the morning, so I’m not waking anyone else.)
But I don’t want to bring that along on the road. First off, I’d need to bring along the power brick – I’ve had it for several years, and the built-in battery is good for awhile, but it would never last a week. In addition, it’s not huge, but it’s still bigger than I’d like to bring along. Finally, it’s got the old-style iPod connector, which would mean I couldn’t use it with my iPhone 5, so I’d have to bring along another device (like my old iPhone 4) to use it.
In addition, while on the road, I’m probably one of the first people up rather than the last in the hotel. So I really don’t want something blasting. I can use headphones in the room most of the time, but not while in the shower. And sometimes, you just don’t want to be tied to headphones.
So I picked up a PyleHome Splash SoundBox. It’s a Bluetooth portable speaker unit with a rubber outer shell. It’s shock and water resistant (not “proof,” so don’t leave it under water) and has a pair of stereo speakers (15W per channel). The speakers are powered by an internal battery that can be recharged via a USB micro port.
It’s not easy to see in this photo, but there are 3 buttons – a power/play/pause, volume down/previous, and volume up/next. You hold down the power button for 5 seconds to power it up (it will play a sound and a green light with turn on) . Then that button works like a play/pause button with a quick tap, or a power off with another 5 second hold. The previous and next buttons are similar; tap them quickly to go back or forward to the next song/video, or hold to change the volume. The larger looking round area at the bottom is where the charging port is (under a rubber door).
The sound quality is pretty good – it’s not going to rival a good stereo, but it’s not bad for a small portable speaker. The device is only 2.5″ W by 8.3″ L and 2.7″ H. Because it’s so small, you aren’t going to get fabulous stereo separation, but it isn’t a room sound system. It’s a bit heavier than it looks at 1.5 lbs., but it’s still not adding much weight to my baggage. At the top is an eyelet so you can tie it or hang it from a hook if you like. The battery is supposed to be good for 6 hours; I’ve never used it more than 3 or 4 without charging, but that’s because it was just convenient to charge it. The speaker was easy to pair up – power it up, go to the Bluetooth Settings screen on my iPad, and select the “E-9150” device (not sure why it shows up that way, but the manual does say that’s what to look for, so it won’t be a surprise if you read the instructions).
The nice thing is, I can put this right in the shower with me, so that it doesn’t have to be up very loud. It’s probably inaudible over the shower itself to my hotel neighbors (and if not, it must be barely perceptible, because I don’t turn it up high at all). I don’t have to worry about it getting wet in the shower (it’s gotten fairly wet on occasion with no ill effects).
Sometimes I use it when I want to watch a video on my iPad with better sound than the built-in speaker (and I can’t use the TV because I’m outside or it’s otherwise unavailable).
I’d never buy one at the $147 list price though – pick one up instead at Amazon for $45. There are several colors to choose from (black, blue, green, orange, and white).