If you are at all familiar with this column, you know that I have reviewed numerous Bluetooth speakers. Some of these were pricey and big like the $329 Get Up Stand Up home audio system from House of Marley, but most were small and inexpensive like the outstanding $34 Brick Speaker from Monoprice. Though at first glance the Fugoo Tough appears to be similar to many of the Bluetooth speakers on the market today, it really is an entirely different kettle of fish.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Tough is the fact that the speaker, or Core-X, as it’s referred to by Fugoo, lives inside a resin and aluminum crash cage. This silver and black jacket is downright burly and can take a shocking amount of abuse. It has been tossed down a set of stairs, taken a dive off my desk onto a cement floor, and has banged around inside my giant Mission Workshop messenger bag for the last month with zero signs of living a hard life. I would venture to say that it could take much more abuse than I am willing to intentionally administer. Perhaps King Joffrey could kill it, but I haven’t even been able to put a dent in it.
The surprisingly hefty Core-X (13.65-ounces) is a thing of engineering mastery the likes of which I’ve yet to encounter with any of the Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested. Fugoo has packed four active drivers and two passive radiators into its airtight chassis to provide clean, bright highs and deep, rich lows, and since these speakers are mounted left, right, front, and back, you get an immersive, 360 degree listening experience. It is simply one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers on the market today.
The great sound, though, initially seemed to come at the expense of giant volume. When I first started testing the Fugoo Tough, I liked everything about it except for its limited volume. For something designed to be used in the great outdoors, it seemed a little odd that it just would not get seriously loud. Thankfully, this issue has been resolved with a firmware update (version 1.00.36 - beta), and now the Tough really pushes the tunes, and since it also features a Digital Signal Processor that dynamically adjusts the bass, mid-range, and highs as the volume is adjusted, it never emits the dreaded bass fart noise that is common to so many Bluetooth speakers. Good job, Fugoo!
Now, it must be stated that all of this technology and toughness comes at a price ($229.99), but it is a price well worth it. If the Fugoo Tough merely sounded good, 229 bucks would be a bit steep, however, since it sounds great and is quite possibly the toughest Bluetooth speaker on the market today, the price makes sense. The Tough goes where no electronics should, sounds great, works as a speaker phone, plays well with Siri and Google Now, creates a 360 degree soundstage, has interchangeable jackets, features upgradeable firmware, has 40 hours of battery life, and can be mounted to just about anything (including my broad backside - see video) using a variety of accessories, so, as mentioned previously: Well worth it.
For more information about or to make a purchase of the Fugoo Tough, click here.
**Full disclosure: This Bluetooth speaker was provided at no cost for editorial consideration, to think otherwise would be unrealistic.
ps. If you know of a better, more rugged Bluetooth speaker tell me about it, but for now Fugoo has set the standard.