The Scosche BoomBOTTLE speaker aims to reduce the danger of cyclists being distracted by music in their ears. But in doing so it blasts unwanted tunes at passers by. Is this a way of making inner-city cycling safer, or another ambient irritant for those minding their own business. We investigate. (For more see Scosche BoomBOTTLE review - rugged portable speaker looks like a water bottle, sounds just okay.)
Cycling is a brilliant way of getting around: good for the environment, excellent for your health, and a good stress reducing, social activity. But the safety of cycling in the city - or perhaps more importantly the perception of how safe is cycling in the city - are hot-button topics right now. Some motorists think that some cyclists are agressive and irresponsible, plenty of cyclists think that gets the problem the wrong way around. Meanwhile even as deaths on our roads reduce, we have no firm statistics on how many cyclists suffer so-called 'life-changing injuries' each year.
One thing is for sure. Anything that can reduce the danger to cyclists, motorists and pedestrians is a good thing. Scosche knows that cycling with music is fun, but cycling with headphones can be dangerous. Thus by placing the Scosche BoomBOTTLE in your bike's drinks holder you can enjoy banging tunes without cutting yourself off from the dangers of the road. Or so the theory goes. We decided to test out this water bottle shaped speaker. See also Group test: What's the best portable Bluetooth speaker?
Scosche BoomBOTTLE: design and build
A chunky silicon-covered cylindar 70mm across and 205mm long, the Scosche BoomBOTTLE is mostly grey with black styling at the outer edges. It is surprisingly light at just 443g.
A product designed to fit into a bike's water bottle carrier - it does so snugly - this makes it awkward to carry in a pocket, but less so than most speakers of comparable size/volume. And it fits perfectly into the side pockets of rucksacks. Alternatively, when out and about you can hang it off your bag via the supplied karabiner. The karabiner is in turn useful in all sorts of situations: you could hang the speaker from the top of your tent and entertain and annoy your fellow campers, for instance.
The Scosche BoomBOTTLE is robust and rugged. Silicone covers protect the volume controls and multifunction button, while a flap at the rear protects the USB charging port and 3.5mm stereo input for connecting non-Bluetooth sources. It's a speaker set that is difficult to break, albeit not the easiest to use in the dark.
The speaker drivers are themselves protected by dust-proof covers, positioned at either end of the tubular Scosche BoomBOTTLE. This means the Scosche BoomBOTTLE works when both positioned upright and placed longways flat to the floor. Stand it upright on its end and it is plenty stable enough to use without it falling over.
Oh, and the Scosche BoomBOTTLE is splash proof. You won't want to take it into the pool with you, but it can sit around poolside without suffering any mishaps. Overall the design is far from beautiful, but it has a certain rough-and-ready charm. More importantly it is well built and hard to bust.
Scosche BoomBOTTLE: performance
The Scosche BoomBOTTLE comprises two 3W 40mm speakers. There's no subwoofer, as you might expect with a device this size and shape. It's a small stereo speaker designed to be heard on your bike. To connect via Bluetooth the BoomBOTTLE uses standard SBC audio codec rather than the higher-quality aptX.
Thus audio quality is as good as it ought to be: good enough but no better than that. The volume is certainly decent for a portable speaker. Listening to rock and pop you get strong mid range, albeit with little detail. there's not much detail at all at high frequencies, and not much bass to speak off. It's there, but don't expect to be blown away.
Overall we were neither delighted nor disappointed with the Scosche BoomBOTTLE's audio performance. It is what it is - a decent portable speaker with decent audio. It's for noise on the move or when on your travels, rather than for perfect audio at home.
Battery life is claimed at 'up to 10 hour's. We have no reason to doubt this as we played music over Bluetooth for around four hours and it was still going strong.
Scosche BoomBOTTLE: value
The Scosche BoomBOTTLE isn't cheap, nor is it prohibitively expensive. The BoomBOTTLE isn't audiophile kit, but it offers specialised, rugged design and is easy to carry when cycling, walking, camping and so on. It's a good, if niche, product. See all speaker reviews.