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Philips Shoqbox Mini review: This compact Bluetooth speaker makes a big splash

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The Good Durable and splash-proof, the Philips Shoqbox Mini has an anti-clipping feature that can reach loud volumes without distortion. It's compact, easy to use, and has a built-in microphone for making conference calls as a speakerphone.

The Bad Battery life isn't great at 5 hours and the speaker isn't as waterproof as its marketing claims.

The Bottom Line The Philips Shoqbox Mini Bluetooth speaker earns high marks for its rugged design, dual-firing driver, and an impressive ability to reach loud volumes without distortion.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

The Philips Shoqbox Mini is a small, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker that reinforces the company's commitment to high quality portable audio products, as we've seen in the past with the older Philips Shoqbox SB700 and the Philips Dot .

Unlike those products, however, the $60 (£40) Shoqbox Mini is rated to the IPX6 waterproofing standard that protects it from light splashes and rain. There's a loop on its base for a lanyard or dongle and it also happens to float, making it ideal for music fans looking to add a soundtrack to a pool party or even in the bathroom.

For such a small device, it reaches impressively loud volumes with relative clarity (Bluetooth limitations notwithstanding) thanks to an internal limiter circuit that prevents the sound from distorting. You probably won't use it to power your next house party, but as a personal speaker it deserves our recommendation.

Design

A few people in the office commented that the Shoqbox Mini bears resemblance to a hand grenade, but I'm not sure an explosive device would be my first comparison. I can see where they're coming from, though -- its compact form and oval design with a knurled speaker grille fits easily into your hand.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The speaker weighs just 7 ounces (200 grams) and measures 4.2 by 2.3 by 2.7 inches (107x58x69mm). The build materials feel very capable of surviving the elements (more on that later), and a set of rubber feet on the bottom show that it's designed to sit horizontally with a rubberized set of media controls on one side (including separate power and volume) and a water-resistant gasket on the other that opens to reveal a Micro-USB and a 3.5mm auxiliary port underneath.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A 1.6-inch dual-firing driver lives inside that can pull up to 2.8 watts of power out of the speaker, and you have two options for connecting it to a source. You can either plug a hard wired 3.5-inch cable into the auxiliary port or you can pair it wirelessly via Bluetooth by simply holding down the pair button and selecting the Shoqbox Mini on your music player. It also has a microphone built into the unit so you can use it for conference calls.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The only critique worth mentioning here is that the speaker doesn't have an integrated auxiliary cable. Other speakers like the JBL clip make it easy for non-Bluetooth devices to play music with this feature, but it seems the trade-off here is that you get extra durability with IPX certification instead.

The Shoqbox Mini is rated at the IPX6 ruggedness standards, which means it's not completely waterproof, though it can certainly survive drips of water, rain or some sprinkles of shower water if you want to add a soundtrack to your bathroom routine.

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