Ecoxgear’s EcoPebble Powerbank + Speaker ($100) is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, which, like a growing number of Bluetooth speakers, includes a number of other features to appeal to customers. It’s notable that “Powerbank” is actually listed first in the product name — EcoPebble Powerbank pairs a 10400 mAh battery charger with its speaker. Other features include a universal mount, dual charging ports, speakerphone, and flashlight. EcoPebble Powerbank is IP67 waterproof, so though it can float, it’s also submersible to one meter deep for 30 minutes. Ecoxgear claims its accessory can get over 50 hours of play time, which is one of the highest battery claims we’ve seen for a Bluetooth speaker. EcoPebble Powerbank includes a knit micro-USB cable for charging, a wall adapter, universal mount strap, and carabiner clip.
EcoPebble Powerbank is 6.4” x 2.7” x 2.9” and weighs about 1.4 pounds — it’s certainly small enough to shove in a bag, but it’s got a bit of heft. The accessory is covered in black rubber, with controls on the top for power/Bluetooth, volume, playback, speakerphone, and the flashlight. That flashlight has four modes — low, high, and two flashing modes — and it gets pretty bright. The speaker and flashlight are on opposite ends of the EcoPebble Powerbank. On the bottom is the standard mount, and a resealable plastic cap to cover the power switch, micro-USB input for charging, audio port, and two charging ports — 2.1A and 1A. Both charging ports can be used simultaneously.
There’s no doubt EcoPebble Powerbank packs in a number of worthwhile features between its large battery, flashlight and speakerphone, the latter of which performed well in our testing. The sound from the small speaker doesn’t measure up to most $100 Bluetooth speakers — think of it more as a speaker you’d find in the $50-$80 range, which makes some sense when you consider its other capabilities. (It also makes sense when you realize Ecoxgear sells the EcoPebble, sans charging bank, for $60). There’s a bit of distortion at high volumes — the 5W mono speaker certainly does get loud enough for a small space. Close, midrange listening is generally fine. On a few songs, we found the bass almost disappeared completely.
The appeal of EcoPebble Powerbank is based in how it’s viewed: is it a middling Bluetooth speaker with a few other features? Or is it a rugged waterproof charging bank/flashlight/speakerphone with a universal mount, and the added ability to listen to some tunes? We could say it’s a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of situation, but to be honest, there are some very good competing standalone waterproof batteries with similar capacities that sell in the same price range as EcoPebble Powerbank. Which means there’s definite value in this accessory, if you’re looking in the right places. It earns our general recommendation.
Company and Price
Model: EcoPebble Powerbank
Compatible: Bluetooth iPads, iPhones + iPods