Like most people in the civilized world, I love music. It has the power to change moods, dredge up long lost memories, and unite people like nothing else. Thanks to ever-evolving technology, we’ve mostly moved past turntables, vinyl collections and those giant, multi-piece amplifier systems, to having our entire music collection housed happily on our smartphones, tablets or computers. That means our music has become infinitely more portable, too. Where “back in the day” I could only invite friends over to my parent’s living room (where the only turntable resided) if I wanted to share the latest artist I was obsessing over. But now, all I have to do is tap my smartphone and I can play my latest faves. The sound on most smartphones and tablets is, to be blunt, pretty crappy, to say the least. So, you definitely need to have a decent wireless speaker these days, unless you happen to like tinny, mono-sounding music.
But, I also tend to be quite tough on some of my gadgets, especially Bluetooth speakers. They get tossed into a back seat, or glove box, left out in the cold car, or on a campground picnic table overnight in the rain. So, I really need something that can withstand the abuse I throw at it, and the Altec Lansing line of waterproof Bluetooth speakers seems to fill the bill. Read on for my review of four of these little rugged beauties.
Altec Lansing Life Jacket III Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
This is the biggest, most expensive and most feature-laden speaker of the four I got to test out. It has an IP67 rating to withstand water, dust, and impacts, and it even floats on water. So, you can take this to the lake and out on the boat, and not worry about it falling overboard while streaming your sounds. The 7.5-watt speakers on the Altec Lansing Life Jacket III deliver a solid sound that’s not too bass-heavy, and doesn’t distort at the high ranges. It also has a powerbank that lets you remotely charge your smartphone, and comes equipped with an on-board microphone so you can answer your calls while grooving to tunes. The speaker package also comes with mounting brackets, too, so you can attach it to your bike and bring your music out on the trails. The hippy hikers will love you.
Altec Lansing Mini LifeJacket III Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
The “Mini Me” version of the above model, the Altec Lansing Mini LifeJacket III Bluetooth Wireless Speaker is also IP67 rated with water resistance to 3m and shock resistance at 1.8m. Like its big brither, this speaker is also snowproof, dustproof and floats in water. The speakerphone function lets you take and answer calls while streaming your music via Bluetooth, and its lithium-ion battery lets you party for up to 16 hours (as opposed to the 30 hours offered by the larger model). Both super-durable Life Jacket III models also feature 3.5mm aux-in jacks, so you can directly plug in a device. The sound on this smaller speaker is also pretty comparable to the larger version, however at the higher volumes I did notice a difference.
Altec Lansing Jacket H20 II Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
Pretty similar to the previous two models, the Altec Lansing Jacket H20 II Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker has the same waterproof rating, it floats, and is durable enough to handle impacts, shocks, snow, dust and whatever else you care to throw at it. This one sports 10 hours of battery life, which is pretty decent, for the compact size of the H2O II. Consider it the “Baby Bear” to the other two speakers I’ve already mentioned. And its dual 1.5″ neodymium drivers with passive radiator gives you the sound you’d expect from Altec Lansing, a name that’s been gracing speakers since the groovy days of the 70s.
Altec Lansing Mini H2O II Rugged Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
Yet another in the Altec Lansing line of waterproof Bluetooth speakers made for the adventurer, the Altec Lansing Mini H2O II Rugged Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker has that same awesome IP67 rating to withstand water, as well as dirt, dust, impacts and shocks. It, too, floats in water, so you can take it in the tub, on the boat, or out in the rain. It’s got the aux-in jack, too, and it also features a nifty built-in carabiner so you can attach it to anything and just go. I’d attach it to my backpack’s front straps so I could make use of the built-in mic, In case I got a call while listening to some music out on a hike. This little Bluetooth speaker only packs about six hours of use into its battery, so it won’t last you quite as long as the other speakers I tested, however the ultimate portability of this cute and rugged little speaker more than makes up for it. It doesn’t pack a major punch in terms of sound, but it does the job better than some bigger speakers I’ve tested, and to be honest, this is likely the one I’ll take on my next camping trip. It’s just the perfect size to toss in my jacket pocket, or a tackle box.
All four speakers would be awesome for your next ourdoor adventure, or just right in your home. It’s all really up to how big you want your speaker, features you want (like the smartphone charging powerbank on the largest model), and how long you want the battery to last and the party to keep going. Which one of these Altec Lansing Bluetooth Speakers do you think is right for you? Let me know in the comments section below.