Polk are on course in their plan for world domination via the medium of audio. If you had asked me several years ago who they were, I would not have been able to tell you, but then their name was no synonymous with gaming like Turtle beach, Tritton or Mad Catz. This changed with their 4shot headset and recently my reviewed ZX Striker’s. When I was asked to review their new Bluetooth speaker system it came as no surprise that they were expanding their influence even further following their successful foray into gaming Audio.
The Boom swimmer is classified as an Ultraportable Bluetooth speaker, and Polk have strived to ensure it lives up to that expectation. At 5.5 x 3.75 x 3.125 inch, (I didn’t measure it was in the literature – honest), the swimmer is a small pocket sized speaker that you can take with you anywhere.
The flexible tail attachment allows you to mold the speaker to your situation. Similar to a Gorilla grip tripod commonly used on DSLR set ups, the moldable rubber base can be contorted into numerous positions without wear and tear. Hook it to suspend it nicely from any bench while out, fold it back on itself to create a directional stand or loop it back into itself to hang from a variety of poles, such as your shower.
If you always dreamed of being as ignorant as the boy racers that infest most towns, you can now trump them by looping the Swimmer tail to your handlebars and pumping out annoying dubstep at high decibels while riding on your decidedly greener bicycle of choice. (Neon and drop not included).
The swimmer comes in a choice of colours, and where I tested the blue you can pick it up in grey, white, green or red instead. Four buttons below the moulding give you the basic controls required with power and bluetooth pairing buttons sitting either side of the volume controls. Beside these sits a small led indicator, to signify both the Bluetooth pairing and turning red when power is low.
Pairing is simple, and with one press of the Bluetooth button on the swimmer a voice prompt announces your status and that it is searching for any devices; it instantly picked up my Android phone, my wife’s iPad and even my android Smartwatch all of which synced with ease. Testing of the range again showed the literatures accuracy, with decent sound throughout at a range of 30 Feet even through numerous walls. Somewhat short of the predicted 33 metres, but with a clear line of sight this would no doubt be easily attainable.
With an predicted life of 16 hours at half volume, or 8 hours at full volume this little speaker should last as long as you need it to, and even when testing over several hours I still did not see the red led until the second day, so these predictions appear to be accurate. When it does need charged, you unscrew either of the bases and beneath lies the micro USB and a 3.5mm input port should you wish to connect the speaker by something other than bluetooth.
Also included in the pack, and tying in with its impressive IPX7 rating, is a replacement suction cup attachment perfect for audio in the bathroom. The suction cup works surprisingly well, adhering to a tiled surface for well over 45 minutes, and submersing the speaker for around 20 mins in a foot of water left it with no adverse side effects. Added to this, the sound conduction when attached via the sucker cup gave the speaker more solid bass notes on most of the music I tried.
At the maximum volume range the audio did crackle and distort somewhat, but that level is extremely loud for in house use (85db according to the literature) and I personally enjoy my ear drums intact. I wouldn’t see this as a problem unless you planned to hold a concert at Wembley through the medium of Bluetooth, as such, most will not be affected by this issue.
The quality of the audio is surprisingly robust when not maxed out. As I said before, setting the volume too load would distort the audio, with treble sounding extremely warbly and bass very muted in spite of the interference that cuts through it all, but at a decent level of approximately 70db both ends of the spectrum sounded good.
Overall, this is a well rounded and handy addition to any roaming audophile’s collection and at the entry level cost it is well worth the investment. A fantastic little device for audio on the move.
MLG Rating: 9/10 Format: All Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a Polk Boom Swimmer for review purposes. The device was reviewed over the course of 1 week on a multitude of devices. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.