Scosche BoomBottle H2O review: A compact, bike-friendly Bluetooth speaker that repels water

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The Good The Scosche BoomBottle H2O is a compact, waterproof Bluetooth speaker that offers decent sound for its size and solid 11-hour battery life. It fits in the bottle holder on your bike, can be stood upright on a flat surface, or hung by an included carabiner clip.

The Bad No speakerphone capabilities; has trouble with bass-heavy material at higher volumes.

The Bottom Line While it has its sound limitations, particularly in the bass department, the downsized version of Scosche's BoomBottle H2O is a pretty decent little wireless speaker that's travel-friendly and repels water.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound 7
  • Value 7

Canister-style speakers that fit in your bike's water-bottle holder have been around for a while. In fact, long ago, in the pre-iPhone days, there was the iHome iH85 that used alkaline batteries and had a wired connection for your iPod. Remember that one?

Probably not. But compared to Scosche's BoomBottle ($150, £120, but can be found cheaper online) which was released in May 2013, and the newer and smaller BoomBottle H2O ($100, £100), that iHome seems quite primitive. That's because the Scosche speakers use wireless Bluetooth technology and have built-in rechargeable batteries.

In the case of the BoomBottle H2O reviewed here, it's fully waterproof, while the step-up BoomBottle is water-resistant and has a built-in speakerphone. There are tradeoffs with going with the smaller model. It doesn't sound quite as good as its big brother -- and leaves off the speakerphone -- but it's easier to tote around since it's basically half the size.

Design and Features

Measuring 4.5 inches (115mm) tall with a diameter of 2.83 inches (72mm) and weighing 10.6 ounces (301 grams), the speaker comes in a few different color options and feels solid in your hand, with a soft-to-the-touch rubberized finish. While some people may not love its design, the good news is it doesn't look (or feel) cheap.

As I said, it is waterproof (IP67), and is rated to be submersed in water down to 3 feet (about 1 meter) for up to 30 minutes. The caveat is you have to make sure the ports are properly sealed off. Like all of these water-resistant portable Bluetooth speakers, there's a lid that covers the charging port and audio input (for non-Bluetooth devices). To make that lid easier to lift up, Scosche has added a little strap (the bigger BoomBottle doesn't have it).

The BoomBottle H2O side by side with its bigger sibling, the BoomBottle. Sarah Tew/CNET

A metal grille covers the speaker driver and it's worth noting that I did manage to dent it when I stuck it into a bag with some shoes and other gear (the speaker worked fine with the dented grill, but my takeaway was that if you use this thing as it's intended to be used, it's going to get a little dinged up).

As far as controls go, there's a power button on the front along with volume up down buttons that are raised and easy to operate by feel if, say, you actually do have the speaker tucked into the water bottle holder of your bike. With no pause/play button or transport controls on the speaker, you'll have to use your smartphone or tablet to control playback (some people like having at least a play/pause button on the speaker itself).

Like most Bluetooth speakers, this has the standard range of 10m or 33 feet. I had no problem holding a connection and the speakers is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, which makes pairing even easier.