It’s not easy to get excited about Bluetooth speakers any more; mostly, we’re treated to the same mediocre sounds in a brightly colored shell. That’s why we were surprised at how impressed we were when we stopped by Fugoo’s booth at Pepcom here at CES 2014. Fugoo is a new entry into the wireless speaker market, with Bluetooth 4.0 on board and an interchangeable, chameleon-esque form factor they call “Core + Jacket.”
The “core” part of the combo is a six-driver speaker, with two tweeters, two passive radiators, and two mid/woofers dispersed around the device. The speakers angle up a bit (Fugoo believes you’ll likely place the speaker somewhere a little lower than ear level, like a desk or pool deck), and they offer 360-degree sound that sounds pretty great, if you ask us.
As for the “jacket” part of the Fugoo, they’re shells that you slide the core into. The first three Core + Jacket options are: “Style,” a sleek, aluminum case; “Sport,” which stays slim but has more protection and a wireless remote; and “Tough” ($229), a super-rugged case Fugoo claims is “virtually indestructible.” The speaker itself has some serious water resistance; all three models can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, so you won’t have to worry much if your Fugoo accidentally falls into a pool or gets a drink spilled on it. Beyond that, each model offers increasing amounts of protection for dust and shock.
The Sport and Tough models also have optional add-ons that transform the speaker into a GoPro-like action accessory, with clips, straps, and mounts for every kind of activity you can come up with. There’s also a Bluetooth Low Energy remote that has standard music control function, but has a bottle opener on the back (great for parties), and also Siri or Google Now activation via a multifunction button (Fugoo has a microphone so you can ask your voice search of choice what you want to know). That’s a lot of function for anybody who lives adventurously, and it’s nice to see a speaker finally break out of the mundane boxes we’ve been seeing as of late.
You’ll be able to order Fugoo later this month, but until then, we’re happy to see a promising challenger enter an already-crowded market.