Rated 5 out of 5 by dustfire Amazing sound for what it is
I own 2 of these now, having just bought my second one yesterday in the Albany NY LLBean store.
Take into consideration what this device is:
A battery powered speaker with an amazing charge time to run time ratio. It'll take a minor beating, and a little water. On a 10watt solar panel, it'll charge to full in under the specified 3 hours, and with the volume set to about 50% max capacity, it'll run for about 18 hours. Volume wise.. at 50% it's louder than any laptop. Chain 2 of them together, and 50% volume is deafening.
As to the sound quality.. It's got bass.. unlike 80% of the other speakers in this "class" (sub $100 battery powered speaker) It's got a lot of bass, and it handles it very well. Where it does fall a little short is on the highs, and it's only really noticeable when the volume is cranked up. But even still, the sound is true enough to use the speaker to help attract birds and other wildlife with electronic calls. Every genre of music I've thrown at it has done well. It does help if you have an equalizer app on your phone/tablet to tweak the sound a little, but I'd say that about anything.
It will stand up on it's own, and you don't need to keep your phone inside of it while it's in use. I use it daily on a Nexus 7, and when I'm outside I use a 3.5mm extension cord to keep the tablet safe in my pack when it's being used. Which brings up my ONLY complaint about this speaker: I wish the USB and audio cables were not built in. I'd prefer the option of being able to use a longer cable than then short little 8" cable built into the speaker. This is easily remedied by using extension cables for both the USB and the 3.5mm audio, but I hope it's something Goal Zero addresses in the next generation of this speaker.
I'd buy it again (I just bought a second) and a lot of people I know have bought one after seeing what it's capable of.
February 1, 2015
Rated 2 out of 5 by TrailJunkie Great features, so-so performance
I'm still debating whether or not this is a keeper. It has so many great features. First of all you enclose your phone in the speaker itself. There is a zipped compartment in the back that your phone fits into while your phone is plugged in. On the front of the speaker are controls so you don't have to get your phone out to adjust. There is a volume control, a pause control, a play control, and a shuttle control. They work really well. The phone is kept from falling out when you unzip it by a mesh net. My iPhone 5C fits in it perfectly. Also on the back is a stretch cord similar to the ones found on backpacks that allows you to attach the speaker to something like a backpack or handle bars. And surprisingly, the speaker does work with iPhones unlike the rest of Goal Zero's products. This speaker has many useful features that are well thought out.
HOWEVER there are downsides to this speaker too. These are the reasons I may not keep it. First of all the sound is average at best. I've heard better sounding speakers that cost less. The sound is a big reason for the speakers in the first place, soooo. Also there is some distortion as the volume increases and there isn't much volume in the first place. This limits you to having the speaker close to you while in use being careful not to turn it too loud. So if you're planning to sing along, well it may not be your best choice. But in the speakers defense, many speakers I checked out in this price range weren't much better.
Secondly, the wires inside are too short. So if you plan on doing some surfing while listening to music, or snapping a few photos, well you're kind of out of luck because the speaker is way to close to the phone and makes using the phone pretty awkward. Maybe they should have made this wireless.
Thirdly, the speaker does not stand on its own. You must lean it up against something, or attach it to something. On its own it falls every time. The fabric exterior prevents its standing on its own. You'd have to see the speaker to know what I mean.
Finally, the customer service isn't too good at Goal Zero so if you have problems or request assistance of any sort, good luck. I know this from experience. Not sure about whether or not they stand behind their product or not. I got so frustrated trying to get help from them I just returned the last product I bought from them.
August 2, 2014