BOOM Urchin speaker for your listening pleasure
When I received the Boom Urchin speaker I have to admit that my first thoughts were that it was ugly and heavy. After using it for a month, I don't notice its weight or form factor, because I am delighted with its sound.
BOOM Movement is one of three audio brands, along with Polk Audio and Definitve Technology, owned by DEI Holdings headquartered in Vista California. This is relevant, because these are the folks behind the Anti-sonic diffraction geometry that is responsible for the speaker's great sound.
The ovoid-shaped Urchin offers Bluetooth connectivity and can be used as a speakerphone or connected to a device through the auxiliary port. I tested it with my iMac, iPhone, iPad, and a legacy iPod video, using the auxiliary cable. I also tested the Urchin with a wide variety of music and it performed flawlessly. I watched podcasts and used it as a speakerphone too and the sound was just pleasing. It doesn't have bass enhancement as with many sound products, but it doesn't need it either. It reproduced every sound file I played with a full sound and no distortion, no matter the volume.
The upper volume will not blow you away, but it can play fairly loud, and is also affected by how loud you've set your device to which it is connected. You know you've reached its loudest setting when it beeps at you, rather loudly. You control the volume with a simple plus and minus button on the device.
The controls include the two volume buttons, which also double as skip forward or back and pause, a Bluetooth button, and a power switch. A small green light indicates when the unit is on, and flashes blue when the Bluetooth is enabled. The case makes the buttons a little hard to press, but holding them down for a second or three works fine.
The Urchin boasts a removable silicone skin that supposedly comes in ten different colors, but only the red and black covers appear on the site, while the Apple Store also offers it in blue. I saw other skin colors available on Amazon for US19.99. The unit I received has a red skin, which is a bit more muted than shown in the photo below. You can swing it around with its built-in carry ring, but is not pocketable, as early reports claim. It barely fits into my size seven hand, but it's not as big as a watermelon, as one review on Amazon claimed.
The thick skin includes a flip-down tab that covers the mini-USB charging port and the auxiliary port. This tab is probably the biggest failing of the whole device, as it has already ripped a little along the edges after minimal use. I edited BOOM's photo and circled the area where it ripped in the shot below. It looks small, because it is a small tear, but I suspect it will rip more with continued use.
The press release claims that it is "waterproof for up to five minutes of saturation, dustproof and drop-proof as high as 10 feet (50 times in a row!)." The tab isn't sealed though, so I am not convinced of its water immersion protection. It hasn't rained here during daylight hours in months, so I wasn't able to put it to a water test. (Sorry, I'm not putting a working sound system in the shower!) The Urchin has an IPX4 Ingress Protection Rating (IP Code) also known as the International Protection Rating, according to Wikipedia. The Rugged Technologies site which explains the NEMA and IP Ratings and Equivalency states that the "4" means that "Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect."
I dropped it on grass a couple of times and the pavement once with no effect. I dropped it not to test it, but because it is a bit heavy and even with the rubber-like cover, it slipped out of my hand.
The Urchin includes a variety of holding accessories, including a carabiner, a self-adhesive mount that includes a screw that fits in the back of the device, a suction mount with stub on which to hang it, and a hand strap. Now, I think the Urchin is too heavy (.75 lbs) to carry via the hand strap, so I used the built-in ring most often. You need to be careful where you mount the self-adhesive screw mount because the Urchin could be difficult to screw into the mount. The aluminum carabiner could come in handy though. After a number of mishaps with suction mounts from a variety of companies, I elected not to test it.
The Urchin retails for $149.95 and can be found with a red, blue, or black skin at your local Apple Store. The bottom line is that the Urchin has really nice sound and doesn't distort your music at any volume. The skin seems to rip around the tab too easily. The Bluetooth works well, but it started to degrade at around 15 to 20 feet, which is less than other Bluetooth speakers I've tested. I recommend the Urchin, if you can find it at a discounted price.
The Urchin Package
- Speaker with a silicone skin
- USB Power Supply
- Micro USB Cable
- AUX Input Cable
- Adhesive Screw (which you need to unscrew to remove it from the packaging)
- Suction Cup
Technical Specs (from the Apple Store)
- Frequency Response: 100 Hz to 18 kHz
- Input Type: 3.5mm Stereo Jack, USB
- Other Features: Bluetooth
- Speaker Configurations: Stereo
- Drivers: Two 43 mm drivers
- Power Source: Battery Power
- Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
- Height: 2.25 in./5.71 cm
- Width: 3.875 in./9.84 cm
- Weight: 0.75 lb./0.34 kg
- Length: 6.25 in./15.87 cm
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