Review: Outdoor Tech Buckshot Bluetooth Speaker

Rugged, compact Buckshot speaker from Outdoor Tech targets cyclists and outdoor lovers. Outdoor Tech

Bigger isn’t always better.

Take a large honkin’ subwoofer, for example. As part of a home theater system, nothing blows the roof up quite like a beefy speaker with lots of low-end thump. But on a bicycle? I don’t think so buddy, though I sure would love to see you try.

Then again, a lot of portable wireless speakers these days can be too delicate to strap on a bicycle. For folks who want to bike or just be out and about while exposing nature's creatures or the public at large to their love for Barry Manilow, Outdoor Tech is positioning its Buckshot Bluetooth speaker as a potential option. Rugged and compact at just 3 ½ inches long, the Buckshot is kinda’ like Justin Bieber with a lumberjack-worthy beard, except not as grating on the ears. Baby, baby, baby, oh, indeed.

For its design, the Buckshot goes for a cylindrical shape that’s longer yet skinnier than speakers such as the Divoom Bluetune Solo. This not only makes it easier to hold but also easier to tie to your bicycle handles with the included strap. The exterior also features a diamond pattern on a rubber surface for better grip and added protection. For folks who want even more survivability, the Buckshot is IPX5-rated, providing a certain amount of protection from water and dust. This means it’s pretty water resistant though it’s not designed to be submerged in water like the more watertight ECOROX from ECOXGEAR. It’s shock-resistant, though, which makes it able to survive drops or even bumps from rugged terrain, which tends to happen at one point or another to gadgets that you frequently take out with you.

Another plus for the Buckshot is its wireless capability, allowing it to be used sans cords with compatible Bluetooth devices. Pairing with an iPhone, iPad or Android device is pretty easy. Just press and hold the multifunction button until it blinks, then look for the Buckshot in the list of devices on your phone's or tablet's Bluetooth pairing menu. Range once paired is pretty good at a little over 30 feet. Battery life is also sufficiently lengthy at up to 16 hours. Charging is done via an include USB cable but since the speaker uses a standard microUSB connector, you can use the charging cables for devices such as the Samsung Galaxy line of phones. To access the charging port, simply pull out the protective cover.

By including a built-in mic, the Buckshot can be used as a hands-free speakerphone once paired. It also has several built-in controls, allowing users to adjust the volume separately as well play, pause or skip tracks. The sound itself is fine for a speaker its size. As with any small speaker, the Buckshot’s form factor entails some compromises in terms of audio quality. It won’t sound as dynamic as a Cambridge Audio Minx 100 so music will certainly be flatter. Pushing the volume to higher levels or using an EQ app to pump up the base also leads to distortion.

Still, that’s par for the course when it comes to tiny speakers and the Buckshot performs well in relation to its other smaller competitors. The fact that it comes with Bluetooth capability and doubles as a speakerphone is a plus. Then there are its rugged capabilities. By being water-resistant, shock-resistant and dustproof, the speaker has better survivability than many other compact speakers.

Overall, the $50 Buckshot is a good value given all the features it has. If you’re looking for a more dynamic speaker and don’t care about ruggedness, there are better options out there. But if you value portability as well as added survivability in the outdoors for your speaker, then the Buckshot is worth a look.

Final rating: 4 stars out of 5

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