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Bigger, louder, longer lasting: the Kube Bluetooth cooler gets a new look for 2016

The Kube is a waterproof cooler that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker with really powerful sound.

kube-2016.jpg

And you can keep your beer in it, too.

Nic Healey/CNET

When my colleague Eric Franklin first saw the Kube, the big cooler that doubles as a giant Bluetooth speaker, it was still in prototype stage and expected to hit the shops in May of 2015.

If you've been eagerly pestering your local electronics store wondering when it'll be in stores, slow your roll: the Kube might finally be out of prototype stage, but it's not going on sale until later this year. What will it cost? Well, last year the ballpark figure was $1,100 but for 2016 Kube Sound isn't talking price, although the founder and CEO Russell Williamson joking assures me it'll be "under $5,000".

It's broadly the same product on display last year: a cooler (aka an 'esky' in Australia) that stores your beer while pumping out 400 watts of sound from your Bluetooth connected device.

The storage capacity of the ice chest is a little larger than the prototype, 35 quarts compared to 33 (39 litres and 37.5) and the carrying straps have been replaced by more robust anodized metal handles. It's still "weather proof", with most of the components rated to IP67 in terms of their ability to resist water. Translated, that means you can probably hold it underwater for a while, but it's not really recommended.

The sound is the the big change. Originally designed to blast 100 dB max, that's now up to 125 dB, which is officially regarded as the volume where "pain begins". The Bluetooth range is now 500 ft, way up from the prototype version.

Of course, if you do really want to play music at 125 dB, perhaps during a enhanced interrogation, you'll only get five hours of battery life. Drop it to a less ear-splitting 94 dB and the Kube will give you 20 hours of play. Williamson tells me that if you drain the battery, four hours will get you a full new charge.

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