The world of the music listener is changing pretty fast, we’ve gone from that recent obsession with oversized, gaudy, headphones to minuscule wireless models in a couple of years, and Apple’s jack-less new iPhone will only accelerate that trend.
For group or louder listening, speakers have become mobile, bigger, tougher, and more rugged, as demonstrated by the Turtle Shell range. Let’s have a look at the Turtle Shell 2.0 Speaker, shall we?
Key features of the Turtle Shell 2.0 Speaker
Ready for Rough Play: The ruggedized and water-resistant Turtle Shell 2.0 is the speaker you can take pretty much anywhere, unlike those models that will panic at the sight of a rain shower. Featuring a wireless Bluetooth hi-fi speaker, the new model is as tough as they come. That’s a far cry from the light-up or gentile coke-can style models out that there, that look like they will break on the first impact.
Key Specs: Inside the solid protective housing, which measures 2.3 x 6.6 x 4 inches and weighing just over 10 ounces, is a 96-decibel speaker system to pump out 10 watts of audio for tunes lasting up to 16 hours on a single charge. Inside the rubberized housing are two 1.5-inch tweeters plus a 2.5-inch subwoofer to provide some low-end.
Unique Waterproof Housing: The special housing means this unit can be knocked about and still play on. It is rated to IP65 waterproofing standard, which means it will keep going if it gets splashed or showered on (I like to think of this as “water-resistant”). It will float if knocked into the water, but you need to get it out before it gets swamped.
Multiple Connection Options (Bluetooth Included): You can stream music from your phone via Bluetooth, or plug them in via a speaker jack. It also has an in-built microphone, so you can take calls when your phone goes off, assuming you’re just relaxing in the quiet. The polyhedron design makes it look rather stealthy, although you’ll always know where it is thanks to the constant stream of noise.
Multiple Color Options: The unit is available in a range of colors: Black, green, orange, purple, red, white, electric blue, and seafoam, a lighter shade of blue, with prices from $80. On the case are a couple of buttons to answer calls or skip back and forward across tracks if you don’t want to touch your phone with wet hands.
Pros of the Outdoor Tech OT1800 Turtle Shell 2.0
- Competent for Parties: While the Turtle Shell 2.0 might not be the loudest or most focused speaker, it does well at filling an open space with noise, suitable for a gentle pool party, BBQ on the beach, or similar event. If you want some sound in the bathroom, it comes with a suction cup so you can stick it to the back of a shower wall or similar and enjoy music there too.
- Portable AND Rugged: Compared to many portable speakers, the Turtle Shell is certainly among the most rugged, designed to survive drops and bumps off any surface. Feeling it, you get the impression that it could bounce down a steep rocky hill and still come out okay on the other end.
- Customize it to You: With a range of colors to suit the mood or outside decor, the Turtle Shell 2.0 makes a great travel accessory, holiday essential or is just good for sticking in the shower.
Cons of the Outdoor Tech OT1800 Turtle Shell 2.0
- Not the Latest Model: The Turtle Shell 2 was the result of a crowdfunding effort on Kickstarter, however, it has just been usurped by the Turtle Shell 3.0, which was recently funded with over $120,000. It is now approaching launch, due in September and this new model features chaining of speakers to create a wider stereo effect or a wall of noise depending on your needs. The new generation model features a twin-speaker connection over Bluetooth 4.2, and improved water resistance, so it can be immersed in water and still function.
- Some Issues with Bluetooth Connectivity: Hopefully, that will also solve the short-range issues that many buyers have had with the 2.0 model. While we didn’t seem to have trouble out to 25-feet, many people report signal drop-off when their player device was more than 10-feet away from the speaker. That’s pretty bad but is common among battery-powered Bluetooth devices, straining to send and receive a low-power signal in often chaotic environments.
- Won’t Dominate the Party: Finally, don’t expect this hand size speaker to provide the beats at any event with lots of people talking, or kids shouting, It really doesn’t have the juice or the power with little bass to dominate. In fact, it’s a rather passive bass at the end of the day. Aside from the fact that it is about to be replaced, there is little wrong with the 2.0 model, except that it is only splash-proof, and while people have taken this thing rafting with them, total sustained immersion is likely to end the party.
Summary of the Turtle Shell 2.0
With more smartphones ditching the headphone jack, expect more wireless speakers like this to hit the market, but as it focuses on outdoor, rough, use, the Turtle Shell models are the way to go. It might take some long-term use to get the speakers to bed in properly, but once the sound quality is right, they produce decent results and can be used anywhere you wouldn’t want to risk your phone or a traditional stereo.
Outdoor Tech’s products are focused on just the one thing, your music playing in environmentally unfriendly locations, and they do this very well. If you really need some power, there’s a Big Turtle Shell model with more battery life and bigger speakers for 110db output.
So, either wait for the new model, snap up the existing one at a good price or go large, and whatever you choose, you should get decent music without the risk of wrecking your speakers, all in a stylish design, that will work with any smartphone or another audio source.