It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a Soundcast speaker — Melody in 2013 — but the company’s VG1 ($150) has been creating some buzz. VG1 is an IP67-certified waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Soundcast claims the speaker lasts 15 hours on a full charge, which is very good battery life for a speaker of its size. The small VG1 has speakerphone capabilities, and works with Siri. Two VG1 units can be paired together for dedicated left and right channel playback, as well. VG1 comes with micro-USB and 3.5mm cables, a lanyard strap, and a carrying pouch for said cables.
There’s nothing too out of the ordinary with VG1’s design, as it’s a fairly typical Bluetooth speaker. It’s waterproof and shockproof, and like a lot of similar speakers, it’s mostly covered in a matte black rubber. There’s a speaker grille on each wide side of the speaker, and the top of the speaker features a few control buttons for power, volume, and play/pause/speakerphone. A covered flap on the end of VG1 reveals the charging port, as well as out and in aux audio ports. The other end of the speaker has a small metal bar — users can tie the included lanyard around the bar, and then hang the strap from a bag, if so desired. VG1 is a relatively small speaker for its price range. It only weighs a pound, and measures 6.8” x 2.9” x 2.3”.
While VG1’s size is smaller than one might expect, this becomes a positive once you’ve considered the speaker’s audio quality. VG1 uses two drivers and a rear-firing passive radiator to offer very good, clear sound. Bass is respectable for the speaker’s smaller stature. VG1 performs well in a variety of genres, but a few limitations can be heard at its very highest volume level. It doesn’t get exceedingly loud — larger speakers in this price range will outperform VG1 on volume output — and a few songs suffered from distortion at those higher levels. VG1’s speakerphone worked well in our testing.
Soundcast’s VG1 is an easy-to-carry, rugged speaker with clear sound. We wouldn’t pick VG1 if you’re in the market for something that can get loud — this isn’t the best speaker for outdoor parties, for instance — and it’d be more enticing if its price tag were closer to $100. VG1 isn’t groundbreaking, but it certainly performs well enough to be considered by anyone looking for a new waterproof Bluetooth speaker. For that, it earns our general recommendation.
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