One of my pet bugbears, and yes I do have more than one, relates to products that arrive for review with minimal information regarding the installation or set up procedure used by the product. Falling into this category is the Polk Boom Swimmer Duo offering. This piece of hardware is a Bluetooth arrived packaged innovatively in a plastic glass tube. I just wish the same ingenuity had gone into the supplied documentation as it would have saved me plenty of time when setting up the device.
Removing the content from the plastic glass tube revealed what looked like a small training weight unit with a hook attached. As the device was covered with a compressed rubberised material, and the hook element was totally flexible plus the base of the unit featured a circular, perforated metal grille, it is safe to assume that this was the Bluetooth speaker rather than a refuge from a Health Club. Also included were a screw-on sucker attachment, a circular, concertina strip listing the various control options in various languages plus a standard-to-micro USB lead.
On seeing this lead my first thought was that there did not appear to be any visible USB port on the unit for charging the internal battery. I could just about feel the slightly raised symbols used to activate power, volume increase and decrease plus Bluetooth pairing on the body of the device. Seeing these symbols was another matter as their black colour against the black background of the speaker’s body was hardly conducive to visual recognition.
The minimal documentation offered no clue as to where the USB port was concealed. Returning to the plastic glass tube did provide an initial clue as it featured images of the Bluetooth speaker without the hook attachment so maybe this hook could be detached. In fact it could be unscrewed and replaced with the sucker attachment as a second method of placing the Bluetooth speaker somewhere secure. But I was still no nearer discovering the location of the USB port.
No nearer, that is, until I spotted a small, black, curved rubber pad on the newly uncovered area of the device. This pad could be pealed back to provide access to a micro USB port and a 3.5 mm jack socket that could be used to link this speaker, via a self-provided audio lead, that did not support Bluetooth connectivity. The AUX connection is given priority over any Bluetooth streaming. With the USB port revealed, it was a simple matter to charge the Swimmer Duo so it could be used in the manner intended. It is just a pity that the developers of this product did not feel that users would find instructions regarding this procedure useful.
Unlike some other Bluetooth speakers I have looked at in the past which automatically go into pairing mode on power up, the Swimmer Duo uses a two-step process. First the device needs powering up with a two-second depress of the power button. You then need to press the Bluetooth pairing button before the device can be recognised by a searching smartphone or tablet for pairing to occur allowing the passage of the audio stream.
The barely distinguishable buttons, whether by touch or sight, have multiple functionality options. Depending upon whether a quick tap or lengthy press is applied, you can lower or raise the volume level, move between tracks in either direction and accept or end incoming phone calls.
The “Duo” part of the product’s title could refer to the product’s ability to be linked with another unit for left and right stereo output or, just as easily, to the option of switching between the flexible hook or sucker attachment. Generally I found the hook attachment more useful. As a “Swimmer”, this speaker is waterproof rated as IPX7 which means this unit can be immersed in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. This speaker is also dirt proof and shockproof so it can be used in various locations.
Audio output from this speaker is adequate for a device of this size. I got over ten hours of use from the battery when volume level is set at approximately mid level. It does take a little practice to get use to the positioning of the speaker’s various controls. My only real complaint is regarding the concealment of the USB port. Currently Amazon.co.uk has this product listed at £46.79.
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