It’s been a couple of years since we’ve looked at Fugoo’s speakers — the company’s Fugoo XL was a runner-up in our Best of the Year Awards for 2015 — however the company continues to expand its speaker lineup, and its latest speaker, Fugoo Go, makes a slight departure from the company’s usual desktop style with a portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker that’s designed to be taken on all of your outdoor adventures.
Those familiar with Fugoo’s other speakers will find that the design of Go still loosely echoes the company’s aesthetic, however the new one takes the form of a pill-shaped speaker rather than the familiar trapezoid design. A tapered back still allows Go to sit upright, with the drivers pointing slightly upward, while an elastic loop on one end allows the speaker to be hung sideways; this can be done from the small loop itself, however this piece is actually one end of a longer elastic loop that wraps all the way around the rim of Go, so you can pull it off to get a much larger loop for hanging around something like a tent pole, tree branch, or shower head. Fugoo certifies Go for immersion in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, and of course it’s completely splash proof as well so you can use it in the shower or simply rinse it off with a hose when it gets dirty.
Volume and play/pause controls are located on the front of the speaker, right in the center of the speaker grille, while power and Bluetooth pairing buttons are found on the nominal “top” of the speaker. The front grille can also be removed by pulling on the Fugoo tag, revealing a pair of 52mm full-range drivers and a 62mm x 36mm front bass radiator (a second radiator also fires to the rear). Fugoo promises that a single charge will provide up to 10 hours of listening at 50% volume, and an included micro-USB cable can be used to recharge the speaker fully in a little over 5 hours from a typical USB power source (which you’ll have to supply yourself).
The pairing process was very straightforward, with Go providing a nice voice prompt as soon as it was powered on noting that the device was in pairing mode. AVRCP volume support is also included so that volume changes from the Go’s controls are passed through to and mirrored on your iOS device. You can also pair two Fugoo Go speakers together in stereo for a wider sound stage, but unfortunately although Fugoo sent us two Go speakers, the front controls on one were completely non-functional, preventing us from completing the pairing process. Both speakers worked without issues otherwise; the one with the non-working buttons still paired with our iPhone and iPad and we were able to play music through it, but could not adjust volume or control playback due to the non-working front buttons.
Fugoo Go provides very good sound quality for a speaker of its size and price. We can’t say there were any big surprises here either way in terms of sound quality, but we generally don’t consider sub-$100 speakers to be designed for critical listening anyway; for the most part we found it a pleasant listening experience for what it was, with decent bass and a small bit of distortion at maximum volume. As an outdoor “take-anywhere” speaker, Go gets sufficiently loud for its size, pumping out 92 decibels with 12 watts of power. While Go wouldn’t be our first choice for a large pool or campfire party, it’s more than loud enough for listening among small to medium-sized groups in typical outdoor settings, and it definitely gets as loud as most people would want it to indoors. The design of Go also allows it to be laid flat on its back to provide 360-degree omnidirectional sound, adding some nice versatility that is particularly useful in an outdoor travel speaker.
Fugoo continues its trend here of making quality speakers at reasonably affordable prices, and Go definitely punches a bit above its weight both in design features and sound quality. Fugoo Go is definitely one of the best-sounding speakers we’ve heard lately in this price range; not surprisingly it’s noticeably better than 808 Audio’s $50 Canz H2O, and while not quite up to the standards of Jam Audio’s $120 JAM Exterior Max, we feel it comes in at a reasonably close second, especially when you factor in the $40 price difference and added portability and versatility.
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