We’ve been road tripping, riding and racing with the Fugoo Tough portable bluetooth speaker this summer.
Portable, rugged speakers aren’t new but the last year or two has seen the industry expand to bursting point with hundreds of options shouting for your money. With so many speakers to chose from, does the Fugoo sing louder than the crowd?
The Fugoo Tough is a waterproof (check out the video below to see us test that out!), shock proof and dust proof speaker that connects via bluetooth or 3.5mm jack. It’s very simple to use, it’s tough enough to survive a season of being dragged around the race circuit and the sound quality is great.
Fugoo’s slick marketing provides all sorts of images of the ‘Tough being strapped to bags, belts, boards and bikes. There’s various mounts available, including a handlebar mount but in reality I didn’t bother with those. Who really rides with a speaker stuck to them anyway? I did however use the speaker in the Team Wideopenmag pits, around the house, in the workshop and as our music source in the various homes-away-from-home we’ve visited this year.
So what’s good about the Fugoo? The audio quality is great and is driven by 6 speakers. The range is very impressive, the volume is loud enough to drown out a room of chatty riders and there’s very little loss of sound quality even at top volume. Also very nice is what Fugoo call “360 sound” meaning that there are speakers on all four side of the ‘Tough and that you can place it in the center of a space and it will pump sound it in both directions. That’s a nice touch when you want to play to a room full of people.
Also worth noting is the battery life. Fugoo claim 40 hours of noise per charge and whilst we haven’t timed it the ‘Tough has gone on and on and on without needing persistent charging. That’s extra useful on the road and I found that it way outlasted the battery on my iPhone 6 that’s usually providing the music. When a recharge is needed you can juice it up using the supplied mini-USB. Charging takes a while, but the pay off is the long battery life.
The Fugoo is also (as the name suggests) tough. There are “Style”, “Tough” and “Sport” models of the Fugoo. All are essentially the same ‘core’ (as Fugoo calls it) and have the same speakers but feature a different outer case which can be interchanged if you feel like buying the different ‘jackets’. I wouldn’t bother. The Tough version has been thrown in and out of my van all season, dropped on concrete floors, left in the rain and hasn’t skipped a beat. If you’re pretty hard on kit and want a light, portable but tough speaker the Fugoo is a good shout.
There’s various other features on the ‘Tough that you may use but I’ve not needed to so much. There’s a microphone to pair up with voice control on your phone, there’s button combos you can learn to skip tracks/answer your phone, activate Siri etc and there’s the ability to Bluetooth pair with multiple devices.
What don’t we like?
The corny American voice that smugly tells you “Bluetooth is on!” or “pairing mode enabled!” is hard to love but useful. We can forgive that.
The price is worth a note and at around £185 it’s definitely not cheap. There are hundreds of water proof, rugged bluetooth speakers out there for loads less than the Fugoo. That said, the Fugoo sounds great, is tough as nails and works well as a speaker and home and away so will pay back your investment. If you don’t mind paying a bit more for the Fugoo you’ll get a great piece of kit.
The Fugoo Tough has great sound quality, it’s a great size and is hard as nails. And yep, it’s waterproof! It’s now a firm fixture on my ‘things not to forget’ list. The only down-side is the price – the £185 price tag isn’t cheap. It’s great value – but not cheap!