Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days. From relatively higher end options like the Bose SoundLink Mini and the Beats Pill to more budget oriented options, audiophiles looking for portable solutions aren't suffering from a dearth of options. Which brings us to the Boombot Rex.
Launched through a Kickstarter campaign back in 2012, considering the frequency with which the Internet likes to report on so-called Kickstarter failures, imagine our surprise when an octagon shaped box arrived at TechRadar's South San Francisco office sporting a bright green Boombot Rex.
We get our hands on a lot of portable Bluetooth speakers here at TechRadar, and considering the Boombot Rex's shockingly low price of $119.99, lets just say that we didn't expect much from the modest little device.
Available in a veritable rainbow of colors from Savage Green and Electric Blue to Brushed Aluminum and Pitch Black, it's easy to not necessarily take the Boombot Rex seriously. Of course the proverbially "they" warn against judging a book, or in this case a portable Bluetooth speaker, by its cover (or appearance).
Our test unit arrived charged up enough to begin putting it through its paces. The Boombot Rex doesn't sport a lot of buttons. There's a simple On/Off switch that once turned to the On position immediately puts the Boombot Rex in discovery mode. In addition to that switch there are three buttons on the upper, backside of the device: volume up, volume down, and the middle button, once held down for some time activates Siri on iOS devices.
Using an iPhone 5 (T-Mobile) we easily were able to pair the Boombot Rex with one of our test devices. Once connected we threw a variety of music at the device. We started out with some bass-heavy hip-hop with Gunplay's "Bible on the Dash." Our initial reaction was one of shocked amazement. Having spent considerable time with the $199.95 Beats Pill we expected the Boombot Rex's $80 less price point to be reflected in sound quality. We were wrong. Audio clarity from the tiny device was remarkable. Bass response was fantastic and the Boombot Rex got plenty loud with little to no distortion.
In addition to serving as a music device the Boombot Rex is also a speakerphone. In our tests we used the Siri button to make calls and those on the other side stated that our voices, while somewhat "distant' and "tinny" sounding, were easily to discern.
We decided to switch things up a bit by throwing on "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk. Once again we were more than pleased with the performance of the Boombot Rex.
While we were pleased with the overall performance of the Boombot Rex things weren't perfect in "testing world." While we easily connected the speaker to a plethora of devices including the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Nokia Lumia 920, and an iPad, we weren't able to pair it with a Lenovo Yoga 11S running Windows 8. Being a relatively small company the folks behind the Boombot Rex assured us that they managed to successfully pair the speaker with a number of Windows 8 machines. Windows 8 being what it is we're willing to give the Boombot Rex the benefit of the doubt.
We tested our Boombot Rex in a variety of environments. First off we attached it to a Chrome Sentinel Laptop Backpack and rode through West Oakland while listening to Bob Marley. Unfortunately, while riding, the Boombot Rex came loose from the strap on the backpack. The nicks and scuffs on the speaker in the above photo are testament to this. That said, even while tumbling through the intersection music continued to play through the device and we were lucky enough to retrieve it before it met an untimely fate beneath the wheels of one of our local buses.
The folks behind the Boombot Rex claim that you'll get about six hours out of a single charge and our tests were consistent with that claim. One issue however is that because of the device's simplicity there's no real way to measure how much battery life is left. Thankfully it charges with a MicroUSB port that, aside from iOS devices, is somewhat ubiquitous.
There isn't much that we didn't like about the Boombot Rex. Boasting great sound, an affordable price and good battery life, anyone looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker that's great for action sports would be remiss to not consider the Boombot Rex.
On first glance the Boombot Rex can look and feel somewhat "cheap." That said, once you start using it that feeling goes away. On the compatibility side, we were unable to pair the Boombot Rex with our Lenovo Yoga 11S Windows 8 laptop, but for all we know, that may be an issue with Windows 8 and not the Boombot Rex.
The Internet is rife with stories of Kickstarter failures so it's nice to actually use a product that does exactly what it's supposed to do. Anyone who's in the market for a portable Bluetooth speaker will no doubt dig the Boombot Rex.