WITH nearly every Bluetooth speaker that can fit easily into a rucksack, manufacturers attempt to woo prospective buyers with promises of portability, insisting that their device is as good a fit for the campsite or picnic as it is for the living room.
Divoom Voombox Outdoor, £99.99 RRP
Too often, it is a hollow claim, undermined by a substandard build quality that renders the product fragile and exposed.
The exterior of the Voombox Outdoor, however, is a masterclass in robust design. With a hard, ridged rubberised case enclosing all the ports and a tough metal grille protecting the drivers, it is the kind of speaker you can imagine Bear Grylls using to unwind around a campfire on a remote rocky outcrop.
Divoom’s aesthetic decision - available in a range of colours - has two obvious advantages over the majority of other outdoor speakers. It is genuinely weatherproof - we tested it in a Scottish spring squall of rain - and is shock absorbent, withstanding a metre-high drop onto concrete. Not only was the chassis unscathed, the music stream remained uninterrupted.
Tipping the two pound mark on the scales, the Voombox Outdoor is a substantial package and its weight is reflected in an impressive top-end volume with no distortion. As with previous Divoom products, the pairing of Bluetooth is straightforward and reliable, with the top end of the unit offering push buttons for power, volume and play and pause functions.
Given the speaker’s heft, its sonic performance makes for some surprising conclusions. Streaming rock music, the bass generated by the two passive radiators felt slightly underwhelming. It still has a kick, but the appearance of the Voombox Outdoor creates an expectation of a deep, rumbling low end that unfortunately proves unfulfilled.
By contrast, the mid-range and treble comes through crisply and satisfyingly, representing most genres of music with a faithful and punchy output thanks to the inbuilt tweeter and two mini/sub drivers, which cumulatively deliver an impressive 15W output. Importantly, testing with a variety of sources (HTC One, iPad, iPod Touch) found no perceptible hiss during playback.
Divoom claim the Voombox Outdoor has a playback time of 12 hours, but that presumably takes into account volume levels. In practice, we found that nine to ten hours was a more realistic battery life with music being played at a reasonably loud level. It may be a few hours shy of the advertised figure, but is still impressive and ample for a day trip.