Nyne Aqua Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

Portable Bluetooth speakers that don't mind getting wet

NYNE Aqua Bluetooth Speakers
NYNE Aqua Bluetooth Speakers. Image © Nyne Multimedia, Inc.

Manufacturer's Site

Introduction

If you're on the look out for a set of portable speakers to go with your smartphone or tablet, then you'll already know that the choice can be quite overwhelming these days. When choosing ones that are portable enough for digital music on-the-go, most people opt for a wireless solution. Depending on the your device's capabilities, you'll most likely end up with Bluetooth.

But, with the deluge of wireless speakers already on the market, why go for Nyne's Aqua speakers?

The company thinks they've added a cool feature that will make your music listening all the more pleasurable -- they can float in water.

Yes, that's right. The company say they've been specifically designed to be buoyant, so you can drop them in a pool without the fear of them sinking to a watery grave. And, if swimming isn't your thing, you can also use them in the shower too. Having waterproof speakers also means that you can take them outside when it's raining -- not something you'd want to do with normal Bluetooth speakers.

But, with a price tag of around $130, do they offer the audio quality to match their impressive water-resistance?

Main Features

The Nyne Aqua speaker has the following stand-out features:

  • Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity.
  • Waterproof design (rated at IPX-7).
  • Shock-resistant.
  • Auxiliary input for devices that need to be connected via audio cable (mini-jack plug).
  • Rechargeable battery (10 hours reported playtime between charges).
  • Handy silicone strap for carrying / hanging.
  • Hands-free calling with built-in microphone.

What's in The Box?

The review sample we received had the following items in the box:

  • 1 x Aqua Bluetooth speaker system.
  • Micro USB charging cable.
  • Audio cable (mini-jack) for wired connection.
  • Silicone hanging strap.
  • Multi-language quick setup user guides.

Design

The Nyne Aqua speaker comes in two color combinations -- either gray/blue or white/blue. Weighing in at 1.2 lbs, they feel solidly constructed and are easy to pick up and carry around. The two slots in the middle of the device (separating the two speakers from the central controls) make it easy to hold it in one hand.

As well as being designed to float, the speakers comfortably sit upright too. Their design makes them quite stable on flat surfaces so you can easily place the unit by the side of a pool if necessary. The Aqua's also come with a silicone strap which is useful for hanging in the shower or carrying  around on your shoulder. The material used for the casing has a nice rubberized feel to it. So, it should cope quite well with a fair amount of knocks during its lifetime. In fact, Nyne say the unit is shock-resistant, making it ideal for the outdoors.

To power the two stereo speakers the Aqua has an integrated rechargeable battery. On a full charge this gives a reported playing time of up to 10 hours which should be long enough for a lazy afternoon in the sun.

Controls

The controls for the device are located in the center part of the device.

There are five buttons which give you the option to: alter the volume up/down, change audio equalizer settings, play / pause / skip tracks, use the hands-free option, and power on / off. When pressed, all the buttons feel solid and give a positive response.

Inputs / Outputs

There's a pull-out rubber flap on the back of the unit that has a few connections behind it. The first input is a standard auxiliary audio input for connecting to devices that might not have Bluetooth. The supplied cable has a standard mini-jack plug at each end, with one being angled to better fit in an MP3 player for example.

The next input along is a micro USB port that is used to charge the unit's built-in battery. And finally there's a small reset hole that can be used if the unit needs to go back to its factory defaults.

Audio Quality

Before testing the speakers in water, let's take a look at how they actually sound.

For the audio test, an iPad was used to play a series of different types of music tracks over Bluetooth. The music selected was a mix of bassy dance tracks, pop songs with plenty of vocals, and orchestral pieces. This gave the speakers a good range of frequencies to deal with.

Overall, the speakers played all the music tracks quite well. The audio detail was good with no over compensation in any particular area, but it would have been nice to hear more bass. The loudness of the speakers was also reasonable, but they don't go as loud as you might expect. In situations where background noise is higher than normal (like on a busy beach), you might not hear the full benefit. That said, the Nyne Aqua's give reasonable loudness and don't distort at higher volumes.

The EQ button is an interesting feature worth mentioning too. Pressing it cycles through four built-in settings. This is useful in certain situations where you might need to tweak the audio to suit a particular place. However, the default setting seemed to give the best audio experience overall so it's questionable whether you'd need to use this feature too much.

The Water Test

The Nyne Aqua speakers might look the part, but how do they really perform in water? To find out, they were subjected to varying amounts of the wet stuff.

Firstly, Do They Actually Float?

To test this, a large bucket of water was used -- unfortunately a pool wasn't an option. They were powered up and paired to an iPad playing streaming music. As soon as they were placed in the water they floated nicely and had very good buoyancy overall. The speakers at either end act like floats which makes the whole device well balanced and stable.

But, Do They Pass The Submerge Test?

To see if they lived up to their IPX-7 rating, the speakers were totally submerged. As a side note, if you don't know what IPX-7 is, then this classifies a device as being waterproof enough to survive being submerged in water up to 1 meter in depth for up to 30 minutes. The unit wasn't submerged for this amount of time, but it was held at the bottom of the bucket for about five minutes.

As you might expect, no audio can be heard while they are under water, but they survived intact after the 5-minute test. One minor observation worth noting though. Once water has settled in the speaker vents, the sound becomes quite muffled. To remedy this, you simply have to turn the unit upside down to knock the water droplets back out. 

Overall, the NYNE Aqua speakers passed all the water tests with flying colors and are therefore great to take out whatever the weather.

Bottom Line

 

Pros

  • Excellent audio quality.
  • Good battery life between charges.
  • Impressive in water even when submerged for a while.
  • Built-in EQ settings to optimize audio.

Cons

  • Not as loud as they could be.

 

The Aqua is available from from various stores (more details on Nyne's website), or can be purchased directly from Amazon:

 

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.