Best Outdoor Portable Speakers Showdown

Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker- Turtle-Shell-v-Boombot-REX

a wireless portable speaker match up for those craving adventure

The Boombot REX and the Outdoor Technologies Turtle Shell have quite a lot in common as outdoor portable speakers.  Both of them were designed for the outdoors.  Both ran almost equally successful launch campaigns on Kickstarter.  Each has a somewhat sharp edged geometric design.  They each feature microphones, dual drivers and passive radiators.  So what’s the difference?  That’s what we’re here to tell you.  In December we did a comparison of an older model of the Boombot REX and the Jambox.  Check that out as well if you want a little more data.

the differences in size shape

The OT Turtle Shell is at least 40% larger than the Boombot REX.  If you are ACTUALLY looking to make moves, you might want to think hard on which unit you’d like to lug around.  The Turtle Shell has a loop where you can dangle it… but to be quite frank, I’d be worried about that unit hitting me where the sun don’t shine.  The Boombot REX is more of a palm-sized piece with a built-on clip for much more seamless transport.  Much more of an on-the-go product.

differences in sound

In our recording of Basement Jaxx, the OT Turtle Shell was barely clipping into the mid 70s on the decibel meter.  We saw it max out around 75dB on even the punchiest part of the song.  The Boombot REX on the other hand put out well over 85dB exhibiting sheer dominance in output.  It is odd because typically a larger cabinet allows sound designers to build a lot more around better acoustics, but this is one case where the David destroyed the Golliath.  Watch the video and you can really hear and see the difference.

the verdict

The OT Turtle Shell retails for $149.99 while the Boombot REX starts at $119.99.  Call me crazy but bigger isn’t necessarily better.  If you want the best outdoor portable speaker, look no further than the Boombot REX.


Bluetooth Portable Speaker Showdown



We have received a ton of questions about acoustic performance of the Boombot REX stacking up against competing products.  Talk is cheap, so instead we’ve decided to make the ultimate showdown to lay it all out there pure and simple.  We’ve gathered the top 3 wireless portable speakers on the market and put them head to head.

The Gear

All of the portable speakers tested incorporated dual drivers and a passive radiator.  Each speaker is tested playing over Bluetooth.  This was the major prerequisite for the category test.  Below you can see the three models in the test.  From left to right you have the blue Outdoor Technologies Turtle Shell is a slightly larger unit shaped… well… like a turtle shell.  In the center, the Boombot REX is the ultra compact model with emphasis on power to size ratio.    On the right, the Jawbone features a sleek design with high end finishes in a brick-shaped structure.

Wireless portable speakers

We shot this pic just to give you a sense of form factor between the three designs. The Boombot REX is the smallest in every dimension. The Jawbone is slightly longer than the Turtle Shell, but overall maintains a more slender girth.


  1. Outdoor Technologies Turtle Shell: 140mm (L) x 89mm(W) x 64mm(H) 340 grams
  2. Boombot REX: 85mm (W) x 80mm (H) x 52mm (D)/ 169 grams
  3. Jawbone Jambox: 151mm (L) x 57mm (W) x 40mm (D)/ 347 grams

The Boombot REX is significantly lighter than the Jambox and the Turtle Shell.  This is the result of meticulous design in component spacing and placement.  The Jambox and Turtle Shell boast larger passive radiators but similar size speaker drivers.

The Acoustic Test

In our experiment, we positioned each speaker at a two-foot distance from our decibel meter.  Primary drivers were be aimed directly at the measurement device.  We used a frequency generator app called Sound Check. We ran some frequency sweeps from lows, mids and highs to demonstrate performance across the full audible spectrum.

We also did a more qualitative analysis by playing a 320kbps MP3 file on each of the three speakers.  We used a song that we felt had a wide range of sounds to demonstrate performance across a full range of frequencies.  We chose Coffee Break by Zeds Dead.

Wireless Portable Speaker Frequency Response

This diagram shows recorded frequency response of all three speakers. The Jawbone has distinctly more low-end amplitude. The Boombot REX dominates past 4000Hz. The Turtle Shell stays close on most frequencies, but really demonstrates a drop-off at the 2kHz and beyond 6.4Khz.

If you’d like to watch video of our test and measurement procedure, feel free to comment.  It is pretty straightforward, raw, unedited #nerdlife.  In any case, we hope it gives you the satisfaction that we are conducting an fair experiment.

 The Conclusion

While the airtight housing and large passive radiator of the Jambox boosted its way into having pronounced bass response, the Boombot REX performed very well at higher frequencies.  The Outdoor Technologies Turtle Shell was outperformed on all fronts in audio performance.  In an outdoor environment, loudness becomes just as important as clarity, and this test clearly demonstrates that the Boombot REX can deliver incredible punch in a very compact form factor.

The amount of time that we’ve spent refining the Boombot REX acoustics has really paid off.  The leap in technology we’ve made enables us to do new things with Ultraportable audio and we hope that you can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Stay tuned next week as we will be doing a full demonstration of the Boombot REX Siri compatibility.

bluetooth speaker hardware eyecandy

Boombot REX Pitch Black Boombot REX rear view Jawbone Jambox Wireless Speaker Jawbone Jambox Topview Turtle Shell Speaker Bottom TurtleShell speaker topview


Water resistant portable speaker guide

our guide of speakers that can get wet and nasty

In the world of water resistant portable speakers there are a TON of shapes, sizes and price ranges to pick from, but very few are actually water resistant.  We wanted to do a little more research on the portable speaker space so you don’t have to.  If you are adventurous and demand a little more than stationary docking from your sound system, check this guide of systems that fit the bill for handling the elements.

What does IP stand for?

IP stand for ingress protection rating.  Speaker that are truly water resistant should have an IP rating. There are usually two digits that come along with an IP rating (IP-XX).  The first digit corresponds to the water resistance and the second digit corresponds to the resilience to dust.  Devices that reach IP-6X can be submersed and ones that are IP-5X can be exposes to a fair amount of moisture, rain, or snow.  Tests are administered by 3rd party labs and they involve spraying specific amounts of water using jets.  Each housing is inspected at the end of the tests to determine if leakage occurred.

Typically the sound systems we evaluated range from $30-150 priced in such a way that you don’t have to feel the pain of the casual drop and bump.  Some manufacturer’s have varying warranty lengths from Boombotix’s NO MATTER WHAT WARRANTY program to the buy at your own risk gamble.

Water resistant portable speaker

The Boombots are derived from urban vinyl toy design fused with ruggedized industrial design. They give you an audio adventure wherever life takes you.  IP53 with a NO MATTER WHAT one year warranty.  Get saucy.

Outdoor Technologies weather resistant speaker

These speakers can take a good beating, but for the size, we’re not too impressed with the sound output. It’s bout 30% bigger than a Jawbone Jambox, but puts out about 30% less volume. How is that possible? It is a burly package nonetheless.

waterproof portable speaker

The Grace ECO Extreme houses your smartphone inside it while playing from a 3W speaker. With AA batteries, the unit comes in a bit on the heavy side and you’ll be pumping $5 of alkaline into here every 30 hours. IP6X


rex water resistant speaker

The REX is one of the newest developments in Boombotix labs. REX is scheduled to ship in Q1 of 2013 with a noise-canceling microphone and Siri integration.  IP5X

waterproof portable speaker

Perhaps a little bit on the large side to take on a hike, these EcoXGear waterproof speakers can take quite a bit of moisture. A good speaker solution for those just looking to stay posted.

water resistant portable speaker

This Philips Shoqbox for sure looks like it can take a beating with it’s ruggedized super industrial design. This resembles a very common architecture like the Jawbone Jambox, but with that next layer of weatherproofing. At $155, it also beats out the Jambox in price.

water resistant speaker

This play off the Jammy Pack is yet another heinous way to wear a speaker. That thing is huge. Please tell me that nobody ACTUALLY does this. This unit also takes AA batteries so we would NOT recommend.