Turtle Shell, a go-anywhere Bluetooth boombox

By , Jul 4, 2013

Turtle Shell redTrue to its name, the Turtle Shell is weather resistant and can take a beating. Not all Bluetooth speakers can say the same. Designed by Outdoor Technology, the dust and shock proof unit is also water-resistant for those nights by the pool or occasional rainstorm.

Producing “Stuff you probably want” is the pride and driving mantra for this group of easy going devs. The pyramid triangular design and bold colors give Turtle Shell a unique design that is modern and appealing. When using it in the office, several passersby stopped just to comment on the aesthetic and one of my office mates even took it home for a party. But, according to Outdoor Tech, inside is the last place you should be using their wireless boombox…

Functionality

A young gun team of designers put their heads together to provide a damage preventing design, used primarily on the road, in the skate park, or by the pool. Many Bluetooth speaker systems are made for your desk or kitchen counter and the Turtle Shell is too, but not primarily.

Providing all of the in-class standard Bluetooth options, Turtle Shell is a fully wireless and portable speaker with a range of 30′, speakerphone functionality, and onboard volume and song control buttons. The hazard proof design is rated IP65, which allows you to get this guy wet, save total submersion. Leaving it next to the pool is no problem, even the occasional rain shower is okay. However, the speaker is not completely sealed, as the speaker grills still have open holes on the top and a subwoofer opening on the bottom.

Turtle Shell wet

Speaking of the subwoofer, the Turtle Shell was hopping across my kitchen counter when I had it at almost full volume, akin to the Ghostbuster toaster but minus the phsycoreactive ooze. This thing can jam, giving more expensive models a run for their money. A great addition to even an outdoor party, the sound can be heard in excess of the 30′ Bluetooth range in the right setting, but will not knock your socks off at that distance. It is certainly loud enough to get in trouble with your wife.

The battery life will outlast your party guests, even an all night bender. Rated at 9-10 hours with 700 hours of standby there is plenty of juice. I used the Turtle Shell speaker for an average of 2 hours per night across a week and never found the end of the battery. One oversight is a full-battery indicator. To charge the unit, I let it sit overnight, knowing there would be a full charge in the morning. An indicator light is located on the on/off switch, but only confirms the connectivity status. In a future model, I would like for the same light, or a different one, to indicate charging and full power.

Turtle Shell options

Considering a charge, the unit comes with a USB to USB mini charging cable packaged in a elegantly crafted clear box. Inside you will also find a carrying bag, 3.5mm auxiliary cable and AC adapter. Not included is the optional Turtle Claw Clamp, which you can pick up from Amazon for an additional $19.94. The clamp screws into the bottom of the speaker and will attach to any number of locations.

The sound is crisp and clear through two onboard speakers and passive bass radiator, even at a maximum volume of 96 decibels. There is no overt sound distortion at high levels in the mids and highs. The upward facing speakers help a lot. Instead of projecting sound across the resting surface, Turtle Shell pushes sound toward the listening level, which is in contrast to some competitors. The subwoofer, as I mentioned, is well suited for such a small .7lbs device, but can only reach so low. It will not completely satisfy a dub step fan, but it will still bump with a downward facing sub.

Conclusion

Starting at $113.86 and ranging to $131.22 via Amazon depending on color, the Turtle Shell is not an impulse buy. I would also note the Outdoor Technology site lists them at the flat rate of $129.95.

One thing I would like to see on more Bluetooth speakers is a USB charging port for my device, in case there is an emergency battery situation. This model does not include that as an option, but other speakers do not offer rugged weatherproof designs. It is a little give and take, but if you are always on the move, you will want to give the Turtle Shell a solid look.

As you can see from their video, the guys at Outdoor Tech really love their jobs and I have a solid respect for tech designers that are out to have fun and create great products for their clientele. To appeal to their wide audience, you can pick up a Turtle Shell in black, white, red, blue, green, pink, and seafoam green, all of which are excellently vibrant to match your lifestyle.

With a company tagline “Stuff you probably want,” I say they have succeeded.

[iDownloadBlog review disclaimer statement]

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  • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

    Oh nforget about this comment :-)

  • Negative_Return

    The black one looks like Batman’s Tumbler

  • Nando

    Where’s the giveaway ? :-)

  • Bobdole

    awesome ad :D

    • JimGresham

      All of our ads are clearly labeled.

      As the reviewer for iDB, I get to choose which products I review or pass up. Just for the sake of personal preference, I do not review gadgets I know I wouldn’t really desire. Why waste my time?

      Besides, who wants to read a review about crap products?

      • Bobdole

        i see why you took it like that… but it’s wasn’t ironic or anything, i just like the promotion video :D

      • JimGresham

        Ah! Thanks for clarifying. I agree, the movie is hilarious.

  • Keith S

    I bought this, and it’s great, EXCEPT, God-forbid if there’s a song on with some Bass in it, you can barely hear the words.

  • Kurt

    Was this an ad? No mention if the unit was given to you or you bought it. Another great read from Jim, thanks…Looks like a nice device. I take my aluminum bluetooth speaker on hiking trips. It’s great to lie in a hammock and listen to music. I like that this can handle some rain!

    • JimGresham

      Kurt, thanks for the compliments. No, it is not an ad. Any post that is considered an “ad” would be clearly labeled both in the article title and within the post. The last line in all of my review posts link to our disclaimer statement, which explains our review process.

      Sorry for the neglect, yes, I was given the unit for review – I usually remember to clue the readers in on that info.

      I have an aluminum Braven 600, but use it mainly in the office for fear of damaging it when traveling.

      Cheers! If you want to keep up with my day-to-day, you can find me on Twitter @jim_gresham

  • therealjjohnson

    Best commercial I’ve seen yet for an accessory.