The best thing about digital music is its portability. While earbuds and headphones remain the most common way to listen music on phones and other digital devices, there’s a lot to be said for using a portable speaker. If nothing else, it’s a great way to share your tunes with friends. The problem with most tiny speakers, though, is that the sound tends to be equally small. The Fugoo Tough goes a long way to remedy that situation. This portable Bluetooth speaker provides rich sound and a long battery life, making it a great Christmas gift.
The Fugoo features two mid-range drivers, two tweeters and two passive bass radiators. The result is full, natural sounding mid-range and clear trebles without the high notes being thin and irritating. The speaker even provides a reasonable level of bass without being boomy or muddy. In our own tests, we found that the sound can be a little distressed at full volume, but there’s a sweet spot just one step down.
That’s not to say that you can expect the Fugoo Tough to replace full-size stereo gear, but it’s remarkably good for an ultra-portable speaker. Further, it’s far easier to put on a picnic table or mount on bike handlebars than a home or even portable stereo could ever be.
The other common drawback to portable speakers is battery life. Fugoo claims a 40-hour battery life for the Tough and the related Sport and Style models. That’s pretty remarkable in a genre in which 10 hours or more is considered exceptional. Such a claim begs to be tested, so test it we did. In fact we tested two simultaneously. While they didn’t quite make 40 hours, they did hang in there for 30 and 32 hours of uninterrupted music. This essentially means that the Fugoo won’t be the limiting factor in your listening enjoyment because your phone, digital music player, tablet or laptop battery will die long before the speaker does. You have the option of recharging the battery or even using it plugged in with the included power adapter and microUSB cable.
The Fugoo Tough can be plugged into any source device using the 3.5mm headphone jack. It can also be paired wirelessly with Bluetooth. It pairs easily and the range is exactly what you’d expect of any Bluetooth enabled device.
It’s also durable and has an industrial look that includes rubbery bumpers, matte aluminum and exposed hex screws. It’s dustproof, shockproof and water resistant to a depth of 3 feet for up to 30 minutes.
Controls are simple and feedback like Bluetooth and battery status are provided aurally. The Fugoo also doubles as a full duplex speakerphone, allowing for simultaneous incoming and outgoing communication. Typically, speaker phones are half duplex, providing only single direction speech at any given time. In its speakerphone mode, the Fugoo Tough is compatible with Apple’s Siri and Google Now voice control systems.
The Fugoo Tough is an ultra-compact, portable speaker that largely overcomes the two most troublesome issues in this class – sound and battery life. The sound is remarkably good across the spectrum, even providing a good dose of base response. The battery life is not quite as long as the manufacturer contends; nonetheless, it’s two or three times that of what we’ve generally experienced with other portable speakers. Add a speakerphone, smartphone voice control compatibility and a rugged design, and you’ve got a great little multipurpose speaker that will bring great music to just about any environment.