• Health-Lifestyle New-Tech Cool Toys Entertainment
  • Ava |
  • 30/05/2017.

THE GOOD

  • Excellent portability
  • Resilience, durability, shock absorbance and dirt proof
  • Loud and decent sound quality
  • Second speaker pairing
  • Fairly impressive battery capacity
  • Underwater ability and water-proofing

THE BAD

  • Difficulty in accessing power button and other small controls
  • The charging point is positioned at the wrong place and requires quite an effort to get to
  • The design could be improved to look more luxurious.

Going for a swim? Having a mini pool party? Taking a shower? Perhaps you are just joining a small group for a quick morning jog and want some music for all your activities, Polk Audio offers you the luxury of portable, high-quality speakers to keep the sound vibes coming.The Polk boom swimmer duo is a sequel to the original swimmer Bluetooth technology speaker. There are few differences between the two speakers, most notably a more-rugged waterproof casing and the all new option that allows pairing two of their portable speakers to increase the output volume.There are a lot of names and other speakers on the market, but we are concerned with the Polk boom swimmer duo and how it stands out of the lot.

Design and build

Straight out of the box, the first sight we were greeted with was the twisty hook top section made from high-quality rubber. This hooky part is obviously meant to be a lever from which the speakers can be hung and conveniently placed. It could be attached to a shower head, door handle, cotton poles or any firm option that comes to mind.

While rubber may not scream ’premium quality’ it is just the ideal material that guarantees shock absorbance and water resistivity. The rubber arm could also be bent around an object to hold. There is an option to unscrew this part for those that don’t find much use for it.

By unscrewing and removal of the ‘hangy’ attachment, the speaker is transformed into a suction cup that can be attached to wall tiles or doors. The micro-USB charging port and the Aux line-in is only revealed on the removal of this attachment. This was a slight turn-off for us as we had to unscrew before we could charge the speaker. On the plus side, once you have decided you don’t want the rubber attachment, you don’t have to keep attaching and removing parts. It is also noteworthy that the Aux-in is practically unusable once the attachment has been taken off.

The swimmer duo has an IPX 7 rating, which means it can be immersed into up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. We put this to test during several shower sessions and in the bathtub. It is a portable speaker and can conveniently be held in one hand. It even fitted well into our pockets, that is if you don’t mind a little stretch on your pants.

Another small issue that arose was the difficulty in finding the power button instantly to turn on the device. The speaker is adorned with several other buttons alongside the power button such as volume controls, track navigations, fast forward, rewind, pairing button. Without picking up the speaker and looking at the right control button, it is very easy to muddle the buttons up, and it is even worse in low light as the buttons cannot be told apart.

Again, as earlier said, it isn’t a real big deal, but it could be annoying like when we tried to skip a track and found ourselves putting on the speaker. The speaker can also answer calls; it has an inbuilt microphone. Overall, however, we found the design of the swimmer duo to be well thought out, designed for purpose and functionality.

Conclusion

Total score

9.5

If you need a device that is rugged with durable battery and good sound output for a short trip, gathering or underwater experience, the Polk boom swimmer duo would be perfect for you. The hang or suction-stick options mean it can be used conveniently and securely. The advantage of its pair-ability with another swimmer speaker will give it an edge over its nearby rivals in volume and combined output, but if you are looking for a home setup speaker, the swimmer duo might not be the best option for you.

Battery

On a single full charge, the Polk boom swimmer duo will last eight hours. This duration depends on a few factors such as connection input and range, the volume and loudness. The eight-hour duration is quite impressive, and above the average, you will find for most of the portable speakers out on the market right now.

Power and Sound output

If you expect a neighbour-waking volume, ground shaking bass, you won’t get it, and rightly so. The Swimmer Duo is a portable speaker, not a super-sized concert speaker. This entry-level speaker designed for portability and on-the-go non-stop music is the type of speaker to enhance sound from your phone rather than the home theatre most people expect.

The swimmer duo has a unique selling point in the ability to pair another swimmer duo to boost sound output and create an L-R stereo option. The pairing is very straightforward and unlikely that you will have issues with it. The duo power increases the equalizer effects and bass of the speaker. Another hack to get more power and sound quality from the swimmer duo is to use the speaker in the ‘suction cup’ mode.

We put this to test and placed the speaker on a large table with a resonant surface, facing the speaker upward – we quickly noticed the changes in the sound output. There was also a significant increase in the bass and treble. In summary, the swimmer duo is impressive for an affordable and portable Bluetooth speaker. There is a good enough sound effect, but lower frequencies may not come out with the best output. Similarly, some upper and mid tones may be evasive or unheard in the output of the swimmer duo.

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