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Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro review: A pocket Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a flashlight/charger

It may not sound great, but the Buckshot Pro is a versatile little wireless speaker.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks and Nook e-books, as well as audiobooks.

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In the past few months we've reviewed several tiny Bluetooth speakers, some better than others. What's interesting about Outdoor Tech's Buckshot Pro, which retails for $80 and comes in multiple color options, is how versatile it is. In addition to being a pocket-size water-resistant (IPX5) wireless speaker, the Buckshot Pro can also be used as a USB charger for your phone and a flashlight (it comes equipped with a detachable LED light). Alas, it's currently not available outside the US.

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6.9

Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro

The Good

The Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro is pocket-size water-resistant portable Bluetooth speaker that incorporates a detachable a lighting component and can also be used to charge your smartphone. It offers an above-average 10 hours of battery life and comes with a bicycle handlebar mount accessory.

The Bad

Bass is still pretty thin; a little expensive for what it is.

The Bottom Line

It may not sound great, but the Buckshot Pro is a versatile little wireless speaker.

The speaker/light combo functions as a flashlight or you can strap it onto your bike's handlebars and use it as a bike light. I wouldn't say the light is all that strong (don't expect it to completely illuminate the road in front of you), but there's a strobe mode that at least allows this to work as a safety light while riding.

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The light is detachable and plugs into the USB charging port on the speaker. Sarah Tew/CNET

Previously, Outdoor Tech made a smaller version of this speaker, the Buckshot. While the two speaker share the same cylindrical design that's reminiscent of shotgun shell, this speaker is a bit bigger than that model, weighing 6.7 ounces or 190 grams and now includes a passive bass port for "bigger sound." Also, battery life has improved to 10 hours, which is good when you consider a lot of these micro speakers deliver 5-7 hours of battery life.

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The light has three modes: Torch, lamp, flash (strobe). Sarah Tew/CNET

The bass on the earlier Buckshot model was quite thin and while this doesn't exactly pack a lot of low-end oomph, the bass has in fact been augmented a bit and the speaker sounds better overall and plays a bit louder, though it distorts when you max the volume out. Ultimately, while the sound is OK for speaker this tiny, you can get better sound and more volume from competing micro Bluetooth speakers such as the JBL Clip Plus , Sol Republic Punk , Logitech X100 or the Sony SRS-X11 .

But those models don't have a built-in light, USB charging port or bike handlebar mount (when mounted to a bike you set it up so the speaker fires toward you). The only thing missing with the Buckshot Pro is speakerphone capabilities, which might actual come in handy if you wanted to take a call while while you were riding your bike.

Conclusion

The Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro is a versatile, travel friendly portable speaker that's well suited for hiking or camping, offering offers some nice extras with its USB charging and lighting capabilities. It's a shame it doesn't sound a little better (especially for the price) because it's definitely a cool concept.

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6.9

Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Sound 5Value 6