RuggedTec RoqBloq Portable Bluetooth Speaker Outdoor Rugged Water Resistant Dust & Shock Proof (Black/Black) Reviews

 

  • IPX3 Water Resistant Rating – tightly built with a rubber gasket that protects the charging and AUX input ports.
  • Dust/Shock Resistant – RoqBloq is built tough and feels bullet proof when you hold it. It will withstand being knocked around and isn’t afraid of a little dirt.
  • 8 Hour Battery Life (1800 mAH Battery)
  • Built-in microphone allows for hands free calling. Receive calls right through the speaker!
  • Wireless Bluetooth or AUX Line-in Connections

Product Reviews

“Good audio with protection against shock and water spray” – J. Chambers
Score: 5/5 Source: Amazon.com

After checking out the RoqBloq, I’m impressed it as a water resistant portable speaker. I was very pleased with the audio quality, its ease of pairing with my tablet and phone, and its ruggedness.

By my own measurements, the RoqBloq is 6.2″x2.4″x1.9″, and weighs 12.2 ounces. As such, it’s small and lightweight enough to drop in a bag or backpack without weighing you down too much, and the smoothly rounded edges won’t poke holes in anything. I didn’t drop it or give it any hard knocks to test how shockproof it is, but it appears to be solidly made, and the silicone covering adds some cushioning to the frame.

The RoqBloq paired easily with my Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet as device “Ruggedtec.” I used one of my playlists to check the audio quality, which was quite good for a speaker of this size. Also, the sound is true stereo from the two internal speakers separated by about 3½”. I used a couple of stereo setup MP3s to test the channel balance and separation, which was very good. For controlling the audio, the buttons on top of the unit control the volume, play/pause, next track, and previous track. The RoqBloq also plays when connected to an audio source by an audio cable, but the only control function that works in that mode is the play/pause button (other functions must be controlled from the source).

On the rear of the RoqBloq is a section that contains the 3.5mm audio jack and the charging port for the internal 1800mAh battery. The manufacturer claims up to 8 hours playing time on a fully charged battery. When the ports are not in use, they’re covered with a silicone flap to keep out splashing water.

Having seen and used the RoqBloq, I believe that it’s reasonably well protected against dust, vibration, shock, and splashing water. About water resistance, it’s only recently that I’ve learned about the International Protection Marking codes, also known as IP codes, which classify and rate the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. The IPX3 rating for the RoqBloq is fairly low (IPX3), providing protection against spraying water for a limited time and volume of water.

The RoqBloq should not be used as a shower speaker or in any situation where it’s continuously exposed to splashing or spraying water. In damp, humid environments with occasional direct exposure to water, it should be water resistant enough to survive undamaged. It may also be a good choice for activities like boating where it may get splashed on but won’t be submerged.

A product sample was provided for review purposes.

“Nice unit but overpriced” – Stephen M. Charme
Score: 4/5 Source: Amazon.com

[3/20/14 Note: In response to my review below the company changed the product description from “waterproof” to “water resistant”. Therefore I upgraded my review from 2 stars to 4 stars].

I received this in black/red at no cost in exchange for writing a review. If you keep it away from water, it’s a nice sounding unit–though no better than other units that cost half the price. But calling this “waterproof” is a joke. Let me explain how this got a two star rating.

1. This comes in an expensive looking box, which makes this look nice as a gift, but not sound any better as speaker that costs half the price and comes packaged in a simple box. It comes with a micro USB charging cable and an audio cable for a direct connection–but so do less expensive speakers.

2. It was effortless to pair this with my iPhone 4S. For a speaker this size it was very powerful and the music sounded great–but again not better than speakers that cost half the price.

3. This is advertised as an “Outdoor Rugged Waterproof” speaker, which is presumably why it sells for twice the cost of a comparable speaker that is not geared specifically for the outdoors or is waterproof. I agree that it is ruggedly built with a protective rubber casing around the speaker. But it failed my waterproof test.

4. When somebody tells me that an electronic product is waterproof, I put it under running water in the sink or shower for 30 seconds to see how it works. Items that are truly waterproof pass the test with flying colors. This product failed, meaning that the 30 seconds of running water in my sink zapped it, so it no longer works at all–no bluetooth connection and no sound using an audio cord connected to my iPhone. It’s basically “fried”.

5. I was really surprised that my water test zapped this “Rugged Outdoor Waterproof Speaker”, but then something in the product description caught my attention: this is “IPX-3 Waterproof”. I had ignored the reference to “IPX-3” because I thought I knew what “waterproof” meant. However, I did some internet research and discovered that there are different degrees of “waterproof”. Sure, I knew that certain waterproof items can’t be submerged, but it turns out it’s a lot more complicated than submersible and non-submersible waterproof items.

6. There are 9 “IPX” waterproof ratings, with IPX-0 meaning no protection, with IPX-7 and 8 protecting against submersion and IPX-4, 5, and 6 protecting against splashing water from any angle, low pressure stream from any angle, and high pressure stream from any angle, respectively.

So what does IPX-3, which is what this product is rated, do? “Protect against spraying water when tilted up to 60 degrees vertically.” Huh? So you better make sure the water hits at just the right angle and is not too strong or this “Outdoor Rugged Waterproof” unit will be zapped.

7. Calling this “waterproof” may be technically correct because the company references the IPX-3 standard, but I think most consumers, like me, will be mislead into thinking this provides a lot more waterproof protection than it really does. In fact I had never heard of “IPX” designations before. Most companies just tell you whether or not you can submerse something. For this kind of deceptive marketing I deducted two stars.

Also, the rubber gasket on the back will keep out dirt and dust from getting in, but not water. Unlike the gaskets on truly water proof items, this provides no seal whatsoever against water.

8. Since this product isn’t really what most people consider waterproof, I deducted another star because without the waterproofing ability, it should not cost any more than comparable speakers selling for half the price.

Bottom line: This looks very nice, but is overpriced for an ordinary bluetooth speaker. In addition, to market this as waterproof without expressly disclosing this means you can’t even splash water on it (that requires an IPX-4 rating) is a joke, especially because the picture on Amazon shows this being used at the beach.

Update March 20, 2014: In response to my review the company emailed me that they had Amazon change the description of this product from “waterproof” to “water resistant.” Since the description is now accurate and not misleading, I am changing my initial 2 star rating to 4 stars. I am still deducting 1 star based on pricing (which the company also emailed that they lowered from $79.00 to $69.00 based on my review). I have brought non-water resistant bluetooth speakers to outdoor locations without any problems, just like I bring my non-water resistant Nexus 2013 tablet and iPad. They sound just as good but none sells for more than about $50 (see the ARCTIC S113BT NFC/Bluetooth 4.0 Stereo Speaker, AAC/aptX, Build-in Microphone for Hands-Free Calls, Black, which also has a protective rubber covering around it). The “water resistant” feature on this product is not worth an extra $20 to me, though perhaps it is to other people.

“Very distinctive look; great features and performance” – Comdet
Score: 5/5 Source: Amazon.com

I’m impressed with this bluetooth speaker. It’s clear some thought went into the design, both from the standpoint of aesthetics as well as functionality.

It looks great. The case is a rubberized material that provides excellent anti-skid properties. It holds fast even when it is on a tilted surface. The speaker grills are metal and have exposed fasteners (sort of mini bolts) that give it an industrial look. The grills are in front of a red colored backing which also adds to the overall look. In short, it looks and feels much better than the typical mini bluetooth speaker.

I’m also impressed with the packaging. Rather than the usual blister pack, it comes in a very nice box with foam padding and a magnetic-closing top. No, that doesn’t add anything to the product performance, but it does tell me that some thought and care went into the presentation of the device, which usually means care went into the building of the device.

The controls are simple and all located on the top. Just 4 buttons with a nice positive click to them. My only quibble with the controls is that the function icons (on/off, vol up/down, phone pickup, etc.) are molded into the buttons in a black-on-black situation. While that keeps the visual clutter down, I’m more of a fan of well-marked buttons. But, with only 4 buttons to keep track of, it’s not a significant problem.

Pairing was simple and straightforward with a couple of devices I tested it with (tablets and phones). It also has direct-connect ability with a 3.5mm cable.

The sound quality is quite good. As expected given the size, this is not a room-filling sound, but there’s a good amount of bass and pretty clear mid-range and treble. It does get a bit harsh at very high volumes, but at normal listening levels the sound quality was very good.

Although it is “rugged” it’s not a leave it out in the rain type of device. It’s ideal for taking along in a backpack since it’s built to deal with bumps and bruises. The rubber case and flap for the charge port/aux port keep it secure from incidental elements (dust, moisture, etc.) that you’d encounter outdoors. But, it’s not something you can dunk into the pool and have it survive.

I’m finding the battery life is a little better than the claimed level of 8 hours. It has a 1800mAh battery, which is pretty good for a device this size. Alas, the battery is not user-replaceable.

All in all, I think this is an excellent bluetooth speaker. Granted, you can spend less and get a speaker that sounds just as good as this. I’ve used several that sound great, but look really plain. I like speakers with a some visual style as well as a good sound. This fits that bill perfectly, plus has a better, more solid build quality than cheaper speakers.
[Sample provided for review]

“Decent sound from a water-resistant speaker” – Yarii “fifty shades of blonde”
Score: 4/5 Source: Amazon.com

*Resistant* is the key word here, not waterproof. I don’t think it would hurt the speaker to get an occasional sprinkle on it, but a sure-fire way to fry the speaker would be to accidentally drop it in water or leave it outdoors during a heavy thunderstorm – don’t do it! I love the soft rubbery feel of the speaker. Good build quality. Since it has a built-in mic, you can also place and receive calls from your cell phone. The sound is decent, but a little light on bass. The bluetooth connection beep is loud and obnoxious. [review sample]
“fm) would cut out for a couple micro seconds every few minutes which quickly became annoying. So i contacted the company” – mark manuel
Score: 2/5 Source: Amazon.com

My music stream (di.fm) would cut out for a couple micro seconds every few minutes which quickly became annoying. So i contacted the company. They asked if I was listening to the speaker via my wifi and I stated yes. Their suggestion to eliminate the music gap…wait for it…use cell data. Um no, returned.
“Great sound for the price” – Raymond
Score: 4/5 Source: Amazon.com

Took it to the beach for a true test. Great sound for the price. Does seem to have higher treble at higher volumes. The surf and crowd noise didn’t drown it out. The only reason I gave it four stars is because the charge light stays illuminated even after a full charge. I brought it to work and a few co-workers are ordering some.
“Good speaker!!” – Diego Chavez
Score: 5/5 Source: Amazon.com

Really good bass and sound quality, the only problem I have is that my devices (iPhone 4 and Kindle fire hd 8.9) have pretty crappy range, I only walk like 10 or less feet and it starts cutting off. This speaker feels good in your hand but tbh it looks smaller than what it looks like in the picture.
“… the boat on the 4th of July because I loved it. Awesome sound quality and I never had …” – sara demory
Score: 5/5 Source: Amazon.com

I wish this didn’t fall off the boat on the 4th of July because I loved it. Awesome sound quality and I never had any issues with connecting my phone. R.I.P. little buddy
“Great little boom box that sits on my desk at …” – John Smith
Score: 5/5 Source: Amazon.com

Great little boom box that sits on my desk at work. The speaker phone is a plus and works well.
Very nice sound for such a small box. I would recommend this product.
“He LOVES it!!!” – EB
Score: 5/5 Source: Amazon.com

Bought this as a christmas gift for my hubby and he can’t get enough of it. Takes it everywhere now. Awesome product. Super fast shipping, came right on time.