Nyne Aqua review
A waterproof Bluetooth® speaker that floats
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“It’s some binoculars, daddy,” my three-year-old said as she pulled the Nyne Aqua speaker out of the box. It’s certainly a similar size and shape, but this rubber-coated portable speaker is for listening — not for looking. It plays music wirelessly from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. Not only is it waterproof, it even floats!
A sample arrived on my desk with strict instructions—go have fun.
Opening it up
First thing I noticed on the lightweight speaker was a soft rubber flap in the back to protect the charging port and minijack aux input. When completely snapped in and sealed, the speaker is waterproof to depths of 3 feet for up to 30 minutes.
I flipped the speaker around and found some large rubber buttons. They let you turn the speaker on and off, control the volume, or take a call using the Aqua as a speakerphone. I made a call and was told my voice was “loud and clear,” thanks to the built-in mic.
The Nyne Aqua features front-panel control buttons for when you’re in the water and your phone is safely poolside (golf ball shown for scale).
Listening on dry land
I spent some time listening at home to check out the sound, particularly the EQ settings. There are four choices, which you toggle between using a button on the speaker: "Flat,” “Pop,” “Rock,” and “Jazz.” “Pop” worked well for Jamie XX’s album In Colour, with a slight boost to the midrange that let the synth brass do its thing. Crosby, Stills, and Nash sounded good through the “Rock” setting that put vocals and guitar up front. “Jazz” sounded best for Mary J. Blige and other R&B acts, giving percussion a bit more punch.
Taking it outdoors
There’s a ton of cool outdoor stuff to do here in Central Virginia, and I had a pretty busy summer weekend planned. I decided to take the Nyne Aqua along with me.
Since the speaker is flat and sturdy, it’s easy to stash in a gym or beach bag. It weighs just over a pound and doesn’t take up much more room than a couple bottles of sunscreen. Plus it can handle bumping around with sneakers and sports equipment.
On the River
We took the kids down to the nearby South River’s bank to feed ducks and skip rocks, and plopped the Nyne Aqua right in the water. It didn’t miss a beat as it kept pumping through our kid-friendly playlist, even when the kids would kick it over — accidentally or otherwise.
The Nyne Aqua portable speaker provided a riverside soundtrack while sitting in the river.
Catching a game
The next day, I played some pickup hoops to relive the good ol’ days with a few buddies. I set the speaker up courtside with old school hip-hop blaring. We heard our music just fine, even over the constant trash-talking. The Aqua's 10 hour battery life easily outlasted our winded team.
Our passing game didn’t exactly have the accuracy of the Golden State Warriors, so some wildly errant passes knocked over the speaker. We just dusted it off, and it kept on playing, living by the old street hoops code: no harm, no foul.
In the shower
If you wanted to listen to music in the shower, a portable speaker right outside the shower will work fine. But I have to get ready in the morning before the rest of my family. If I play my morning podcasts loud enough to hear over the running water, it would be sure to wake them. Using the supplied rubber strap, I placed the Aqua on the shower head, right by my ear. With the “Flat” EQ, speech came through really clearly. I was able to listen at more moderate levels and not wake up the whole house.
A heavy-duty rubber strap is included for hanging the waterproof Aqua speaker in the shower.
But does it really float?
I needed to do one final test with the Aqua. That Monday, I left work early and took my family to Sherando Lake, a scenic recreation park with a beach area for swimming and boating. The Nyne Aqua delivered some tunes as we set up our camp. With my wife’s iPhone® paired up and safely on shore, I sealed the speaker and took it into the water. I left the rubber strap on so I could more easily grab it (just in case). With “Take me to the River” playing (hey, it was close enough), I tossed it in the lake, and...
The Nyne Aqua played “Take Me to the River” as it floated around the lake.
The bottom line
There may be portable speakers with more power and more refined sound, but you'll be hard pressed to find one that can travel more places. Indoors or out, on dirt or in water, the Nyne Aqua waterproof speaker can keep the music going.