78938FR - Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker - John Waters
- Jul 29, 2014Larry,
Below is the text of the Field Report for my Fugoo Speaker. The HTML can be
found in the test folder at: http://tinyurl.com/mtl42tv
I await your edits and comments.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Well my Fugoo has gotten quite a workout the past several weeks. It's been
in a lot of different places under a lot of different outdoor conditions:
snow, rain, dust, sand, mountains and desert. Of course when used indoors,
it didn't face any of these weather conditions. It just faced the grandkids.
We went hiking and camping in the Pikes Peak range west of Colorado Springs
and brought the Fugoo along. Temps ranged from 65 F (18 C) at night to 87 F
(31 C) during the day and the altitude ranged from 5600 ft (1707 m) to over
7200 ft (2200 m). We also spent 4 days at the Great Sand Dunes National Park
and Preserve in south central Colorado. Temps ranged from 45 F (7 C) at
night to 98 F (37 C) during the day and the altitude was around 8170 ft
(2650 m). The tallest dune is 750 ft (228 m) and we actually used snow sleds
to slide down. The place is 132.4 sq miles (343 km²) of amazing landscape
and fun, but I digress.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Fugoo packs well but is not light, so it is not for minimalist
backpackers. Since I am not a fan of listening to music when on the trail (I
like listening to the things around me), I didn't strap the Fugoo to my pack
and listen as I hiked, although that certainly would have been possible. The
Fugoo needs to be used with a harness or stuffed into a backpack water
bottle side pouch. It became a pendulum when I had it clipped to my backpack
with a carabineer. It did stuff nicely into the exterior water bottle pouch
though. Since the thing is Blue Tooth wireless and can be quite loud, it
also worked well just being stuffed into the top accessory compartment of my
pack. But, as I said. "Fugoo" was silenced as I hiked. (I got into the habit
of calling the talking prompt "Mr. Fugoo" by the way.
Battery life has been quite good. Actually, the battery life is astounding.
40 hours is enough to play 4 hours of music in the evening for 10 days on
the trail. Since I am never out without solar USB chargers these days, this
little gem can just go and go. Of course, the device I am connecting to the
Fugoo needs to have a charge also and needs to keep up with the Fugoo! I was
able to charge the Fugoo with my 1800 mAh battery that charges from my solar
charger. I can get an indication of battery life by pressing the power
button. "Battery is almost full" Fugoo says, or "Battery is about half full"
he will say. There is no meter and I have to take his word for it. Being a
techie, I like more exact measurements on battery life, but the battery use
time is so long, these prompts have served their purpose. The unit will
display battery life on supported devices, such as an iPhone, but I have not
I can charge the Fugoo up and let it sit for a week and the battery will
still be "Almost full" per Mr. Fugoo.
I have discovered that I can't get Fugoo to lower his voice. As I write this
though, there is a firmware update to allow 3 levels of voice prompts and I
will do that update and report on that in the final report. I can turn him
off completely however by pressing the - and + buttons together and turning
the power on. He gets a few last words in "Voice prompts are off" then goes
away. The LEDs work fine without having the voice prompts, but powering up
still gives a loud "bubble" sound.
Dinner Music at Great Sand Dunes NP & Preserve
The Bluetooth worked well for me. It will automatically connect to the last
device it paired with. Of course, since I was playing with connections to
several devices, when Fugoo would announce "Connected", I wasn't sure who it
was paired with. If I had a device handy, I could check the Bluetooth list
real quick on the nearest device to see if it was connected. I can also just
hold down the right button until Fugoo tells me "Pairing Mode" and flashes
the LED red. When it goes into pairing mode, it disconnects from the
previous device and allows another device to scan for it (gee, it's called
"Fugoo Speaker" on the pairing list) and connect. Once the new device
connects Fugoo says again "Connected" and now we can play through.
The Great Sand Dunes has a lot of sand (go figure) and it is really fine
dusty sand and it blows around a lot. Our tent was COVERED in a fine sandy
dust and for a week I was getting sand out of my trail shoes and other gear.
Fugoo didn't show any signs of being affected and kept providing music while
we prepared dinner and sat around the camp fire. I took the outer cover off
and then blew the dust out. Didn't need to wash it out.
I did a Bluetooth distance check. The specification on the Fugoo Web site
says 33 ft (10 m) distance. Indoors from the office wing of our house to the
dining room in the next wing is about 45 ft (14 m) and I had no trouble
connecting through the two courtyard stucco walls with my Toshiba Satellite
laptop. Outdoors with no obstructions, I was able to connect over 75 ft (23
m) using my Asus netbook.
To really test this, we gave the Fugoo a work out one night when tenting in
the Cooper Mountain range in Colorado. My granddaughter (13) was having a
birthday party and she and two girlfriends were sharing a tent that they
wanted set up out of sight of where we were. Well, I had downloaded a whole
series of animal growls, howls and roars for bears, raccoons (what a
horrible noise those things make), cougars and owls. So my son went ahead
later at night and set the Fugoo about 50 ft (15 m) away from their tent
while I hid behind a bush with my netbook about 50 ft (15 m) away. I started
with the mountain lion growl, then a bear growl and we could hear them
mumbling from the tent. We didn't have our phones because we didn't want
them to ring and give us away. Later we listened to the voice mail and she
had called him and was asking "Is that you? Please let us know! Ali is
really scared and crying." But they weren't upset too long, because during
all my clicking on the MP3 files for 10 minutes making all sorts of scary
animal sounds, I hit a MP3 for a disco clip. That created a group "Oh, we
knew it was you!" from the tent and a lot of laughs. So Fugoo can be fun. I
just need to remember to turn the voice prompts off or power up and connect
when out of range. And to not click on the wrong audio file.
I have not had a great deal of success using Fugoo as a Bluetooth extension
to my Galaxy S4 cell phone. I use the S4 with my Subaru Forester Bluetooth
all the time. I find that the other party can't hear me well if the Fugoo is
even an arm's length away. I intend to try more to see if I can get the
speakerphone function to work better. I can hear the other party okay
though. The O on the top of the unit is the call disconnect. It also serves
to start Google Now on the Galaxy S4, which allows me to dial by voice, get
text to voice conversions and respond to texts by voice. The Google Now
voice prompt is loud and clear but the caller volume is about half that
level. I also seem to lose the attention of Google Now at times and have to
click the microphone button on the phone to do voice commands again. I'll do
the firmware update and report back in the final report.
All in all, this has been a handy and fun device to have around. It
certainly is loud. It fills the 1250 sq ft (381 m) great room area of our
house with music and can be heard for hundreds of feet/meters outdoors. Plus
its sound quality is excellent. No distortion at even the highest volume.
Just good crisp audio with a great dynamic range.
Thanks you to BackpackGearTest.org and to Fugoo for the opportunity to try
out such a unique product. Please check back in two months to see how the
Fugoo fares in the dust and heat of a Colorado summer.
John R. Waters
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