One of the unusual things about our new house is that it has an indoor Endless Pool. I never thought that I’d have a pool inside my house, but I’m certainly not complaining that I do. Swimming is a good, low-impact exercise, and something that I really enjoy (even if I’m not all that good at it). The kids love being in the pool when there’s snow outside, so that’s fun, too. But while I’m floating (ahem, swimming) around, I love to listen to some lively music. What to do about streaming my music near a body of water?
Last summer, Philips gave me a Shoqbox Portable Bluetooth Speaker to try out and, although I haven’t shared about it, I have been using it non-stop. I love it. It’s splash-proof and sand-proof, making it ideal for the beach, or a hike, or sitting by your pool (indoor or outdoor, of course). It will survive a quick dip in the water, as long as you catch it before it’s in there too long (or goes too deep), but it really shines in wet or dusty environments where you don’t want to bring your phone or portable radio.
Our pool sits in an atrium that gets pretty hot. It’s about 60 degrees outside today and the sun has brought the atrium to a toasty 90 degrees. I hate bringing my phone out there because it’s just too warm. Instead, I’ve paired it with the Shoqbox and can leave it inside (plugged in) while I take the rugged speaker with me. But, you may ask, what do you do if a song comes on that you don’t like while you’re in the pool? The Shoqbox has an sensor (you can see it in the top right of the device) that recognizes hand movements. Moving your hand toward the sensor pauses the music, while sweeping your hand left or right will move backward or forward a song.
Poolside and the beach aren’t the only great places for the Shoqbox. I have used mine extensively while painting because I can control the song choice without getting paint all over the speaker (or my phone). I hang it in the bathroom while showering (It has a handy little carabiner that is just perfect for such things) without worrying about the humidity. And I bring it in the backyard without worrying about the dirt or a fall. It pairs quickly and easily, can tell you how much battery life is left (it should get up to 8 hours), and can pair with a second speaker for a stereo experience. If it’s paired to your phone, and a call comes in, the music is paused so you can answer the call and use the speaker as a speakerphone. It also has a 3.5mm jack for music sources that don’t support Bluetooth.
As much as I enjoy using the speaker, it is not without its quirks. The biggest issue is that the sensor is, well, sensitive. A shift in light (or the shadow of someone passing by) can cause it to pause or skip a song and I frequently do that on my own by passing too close. You can turn the sensor feature off easily by pressing the mode button twice, but that doesn’t help when you want the best of all worlds. I don’t have any issues with Bluetooth connectivity over distances (although I heard that complaint from other reviewers). I am able to leave my phone on the second floor while going downstairs with the speaker to use the pool. It does occasionally cut out on its own, however, and I can’t quite decide if it’s my phone or the speaker. I do find the single-button controls a bit frustrating. There is one button for on/off, language select, and sensor on/off. If you hold it too long or press it more than you should, you can easily find yourself with no sensor and a speaker that is speaking to you in Spanish. The only last negative I would give it is that it’s not particularly loud for its size. It gets loud enough for me, but if you’re having a pool party, it may not have the oomph to be heard about the crowd.
The Philips Shoqbox Portable Bluetooth Speaker is currently available in purple (the color I have) on Amazon for $89.99. It comes with an AC power cord as well as a special USB cord for charging (it requires two USB ports to charge). If you’re looking for a sturdy portable speaker solution heading into the summer season, this is a great choice. It’s not as small as some others, but you won’t have to worry about getting it a little dirty or wet, and the rugged exterior keeps it safe while if you’re hiking or climbing in rocky terrain.
Disclosure: Philips provided a unit for the purpose of this review. No additional compensation was provided and the opinions in this post are my own. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.