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Polk’s Boom Swimmer Duo is the speaker to have this summer

by Justin Herrick | April 8, 2018April 8, 2018 10:00 am PST

It’s getting warmer out, and that means you’ll probably be taking some music with you outside. But you have to get the right speaker. If you choose the wrong one, you’ll end up with poor sound quality and bad durability. What you need is a speaker that’s rough and tough for the elements but also sounds pleasant. Polk Audio believes it has the perfect speaker to take to the beach, on hikes, and everywhere in-between.

The Boom Swimmer Duo does seem like the speaker of the summer. While being inexpensive, the sound quality if paired with a second unit is above average and the design is ready any environment. Now you can easily entertain friends and family at barbecues and small parties with some tunes but not worry about at a splash or drop ruining the show.

Polk’s Swimmer Duo, from the Boom family of personal speakers, is ready for anything. The best part is that you can also get two of them to create stereo sound without a complex, stationary setup.

The look and feel of the Swimmer Duo is cute, which I mean in a positive way. Polk didn’t make it appear like military-grade equipment. That’s an impressive feat because this speaker is dirtproof, waterproof, and shockproof. You can drop it, and you can dunk it. Nothing bad will happen to the Swimmer Duo. The entire exterior is made of rubber to keep the body intact in generally-unkind conditions.

Polk also went the extra mile to ensure its speaker stands out. The company didn’t make a standard rectangle with grilles up front and button on top. Instead, the Swimmer Duo features an interesting showerhead-like shape.

The Swimmer Duo is sold in popping shades of black, blue, green, and orange. Polk sent me the orange upon request as that’s my favorite color, and it’s received plenty of compliments from friends. They’re intrigued by its shape, size, and color. The speakers they have are, from what I’ve seen, big and bulky. Polks dials that down to compact and cute.

As you saw in the gallery above, Polk went with a simple vibe. The Swimmer Duo ships with buttons for power, Bluetooth, and volume. Underneath, you’ll find micro-USB and line-in ports. Polk even went so far as hiding these ports in a spot you’ll never see.

You’re not stuck with one layout, either. Polk developed the Swimmer Duo with a versatile design. The actual device is just the area you see from the grilles to the buttons. You’re deciding between the flexible tail and the suction cup.

Both are fantastic attachments, and Polk deserves serious praise for including them without raising the price to an absurd number. I wanted to tell you which attachment is my favorite, but to be totally honest they’re equally useful for different settings.

The flexible tail allows the Simmer Duo to be propped virtually anywhere because it wraps around objects and into a slot to stay put. Meanwhile, the suction cup gives solid positioning on surfaces like a shower wall or office desk.

Back to that flexible tail, though. This is an advantage you don’t realize you need until you’ve had it. A few weeks ago, I went out for a hike with friends and simply looped the Swimmer Duo onto my backpack. Even in the shower, maybe you’re better off wrapping the flexible tail around the showerhead rather than using the suction cup on the wet wall.

Just don’t forget the flexible tail can also be used as a stand. The material inside can stand the speaker up on its own.

Now that we’ve established the Swimmer Duo is superb from a design standpoint, let’s talk about how it actually sounds.

Polk has been around since 1972, and it’s released many products that are widely applauded by audiophiles. I, however, am not an audiophile. So my view on speakers comes down to whether or not I like the quality of sound to the naked ear. And I would say that I like listening to music on the Swimmer Duo Pro. Well, that’s only true if I get to use two of them at once.

If you’re using a single Swimmer Duo, you won’t be disappointed. The speaker serves its purpose well for $60. Music gets loud with strong bass, but there’s some crispness I feel it’s missing. But, at that price, you shouldn’t be surprised. Add a second Swimmer Duo, and Polk has an immersive experience to offer.

The Swimmer Duo allows you to link two units together playing the same music. It doesn’t require Bluetooth 5.0, which enables multi-device streaming. Polk does this by having two units communicate with each other, so you’re good to go no matter what phone or tablet you have. To me, the difference is noticeable.

Suddenly, music seems a lot richer. The immersive nature of stereo sound on the Swimmer Duo is excellent. When you’re outside, it helps fill a space with audio people can hear clearly in different locations. In tight spaces, it’s downright amazing and makes you feel like the music is coming from a much larger speaker. No, it’s still not the best-sounding speaker but consider the size before passing a hard judgment.

What I like about the Swimmer Duo is its design and ability to create portable stereo sound. During the brutally hot days in July and August, it’s going to be useful for playing music by the pool or at the beach. But it’s frustrating that you need two units to get a really great experience. For the price of two, you can get one Ultimate Ears speaker or something from another brand.

Polk, though, still pulls out a victory with the handy flexible tail. Most speakers can only stand straight up or lay on their sides. With the Swimmer Duo, you can put your speaker anywhere and not worry about potential damage.

Buy now: Amazon

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Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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