Photive Hydra – Is this wireless waterproof speaker worth considering?
The Photive Hydra rugged water resistant wireless Bluetooth speaker seems to be a good choice if you are looking for a Bluetooth wireless speaker that you can use both indoors and outdoors.
However as a prudent consumer, it is always good to ask questions to make sure that you are getting something that you really want.
For example, in looking to buy a water proof wireless speaker, one of the key question you may be interested to know is that the weather protection offered by the waterproof speaker good enough for what you may be intending to use it for?
What about the sound quality and loudness?
What about the length of time it can continuously play your music; what about the size, and many other questions that you may have...
I will try to give you as much information as possible in this Photive Hydra water resistant Bluetooth speaker review so that you can come to a decision on whether the Hydra is a good choice and worth to part your money for.
Do you currently own a wireless waterproof speaker?
What is IP rating?
Before we proceed to find out about the Photive Hydra, one of the key things that you must look for when you plan to buy a water proof electronic device is its IP rating. So what is an IP rating in this case?
IP in this case stands for "Ingress Protection". Ingress Protection or IP for short is an industrial standard used to define the levels of sealing effectiveness of an electrical or electronic enclosure against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture.
Each of the two numbers you see in the IP rating has a specific meaning. The first shows you both the degree of protection of people from moving parts and the protection of the enclosed electrical equipment from foreign bodies.
The second figure tells you the protection level that the enclosure enjoys from various forms of moisture for example drips, sprays, submersion etc.
As it will be boring to go into the details of all the numbers, I will just focus on the two numbers specific to the Photive Hydra which is IP66.
The 6 of the first digit indicates total protection against dust while the second digit, also 6, indicates that the device will be protected against string water jets and waves. What this means is that it is good enough for use in the rain, next to the pool or in your bathroom.
As for those who intend to buy the Photive Hydra to take it underwater when they go scuba diving or snorkeling, my advice to you is don't. This is because the Photive Hydra may "drown"! You will need another device which is rated at the minimum 7 but preferably 8 on the second digit of the IP rating.
By the way, 7 indicates that the device protected against temporary immersion while 8 indicates that the device will be protected against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure.
Jokes aside, I really don't understand why anyone wants to use a speaker underwater. I don't think you can enjoy any music under water! If you don't believe me, try to putting your Hydra in your bathtub and I am sure will agree 100% with me!
The reason I brought this up is that surprisingly I saw in some forums quite a number of people asking how deep they can take the Photive Hydra under water!
What about the sounds?
Now that we have a good understanding on what this waterproof wireless speaker is capable of, the next most important consideration is the quality of the sound.
Sound quality is very relative. However I would say that the sound quality is very good for the price of this diminutive Photive speaker.
For those of you who like to place the speaker close by, you will notice that you can easily pick up the stereo separation; especially if you place the speaker in front of you. However due to the physics of sound, you will tend to hear less of the stereo as you move further away.
This Photive speaker produces crisp and clear sound from its two 40mm drivers together with a passive subwoofer.
Is the sound loud? Yes I would say it is very loud for me. However again, loudness is relative and unless you have the equipment to measure the volume (which I don't have), it is all relative. I have tried to turn up the volume very high during a party and I can see my friends shouting to each other when try to talk to each other. It is that loud!
Apart from the sounds, what can you expect from the Photive Hydra?
As mentioned earlier you get solid outdoor ruggedness with the Photive Hydra.
This means that this Photive is dust proof, shockproof and waterproof. This was an important criteria for me when I was looking for an outdoor wireless speaker.
Of course the sound quality as I have described above is also very important. I don’t want to buy a wireless waterproof speaker that has an excellent IP rating but lousy sounds. After all sound is the reason we buy a speaker for!
The other parameters which I had looked for were a speaker with a rechargeable battery that holds a long charge. Depending on my usage, if I give the Hydra a full charge, I can get around 8 to 10 hours of play with it. I also have the flexibility to charge it via my computer or the wall.
The Photive Hydra was also easy to set up. I could easily pair it with my Samsung Note tablet, iPhone as well as my notebook and desktop computers and I control what I play on the Hydra via these devices.
By the way, due to the nature of the Bluetooth technology, you can only play on the Photive Hydra from one source at a time. What this means is that you cannot daisy chain two speakers up and expect stereo or surround sound!
I also particularly like the fact that I can get about 30 feet or 10 m wireless range.
Besides Bluetooth you can also connect to the Photve Hydra speaker via the 3.5 mm audio cable from your source. I find this very useful as I have an old MP3 player that does not have Bluetooth and all I did was to connect it via this audio cable. Very neat!
Pros and Cons of the Photive Hydra
As a summary, let me tell you what I like and don't like about the Hydra.
As an outdoor speaker, I wish it would have come with a carrying strap. I also found the bass to be slightly lacking when I put the speaker to a full blast but I guess I have to be realistic – I get what I pay for!
I also find that sometimes the Photive Hydra tend to collect water because of its design; so I have to wipe off the water to avoid it dripping all over the place..
On the positive side, this small light little Photive speaker that is 7.4 inches (length) by 2.4 inches (width) by 2.4 inches (height) is extremely portable and rugged. It is supposed to be designed to withstand falls and accidental drops. However I must admit, I have not dropped mine yet and don't intend to unless it is an accident!
Apart from the lower bass at very loud volumes which I mentioned earlier, the Photive Hydra comes with a total sound output of 7 watts. It has 2 drivers and a passive subwoofer that can deliver very nice sound for your music and can get quite loud as you turn the volume up.
For a lazy guy like me, I can always leave it outside without worrying about rain. I can also leave it near the swimming pool or take it to the beach without worrying about water getting into the speaker and spoiling it.
Lately I find that I am increasingly using it as my shower speaker. As it has an IP of 66, it has no problems with the water from my shower.
Due to the advanced Bluetooth 4.0 technology that it uses, it is able to throw the sounds to as far as 30 feet or 10 m and it consumes less energy as well. Depending on usage, one full charge typically delivers about 8 to 10 hours of crystal clear sound for me.
The other thing that I found very useful is the ability to use the auxiliary port when my source does not have Bluetooth function. It is also very easy to setup without the need to do messy configurations.
I also found the speaker phone features of the Photive Hydra very useful. It has a built-in microphone and speaker. So it is easy to take hand-free telephone calls via the speaker.
Its ability to charge via both the computer or wall socket is also very convenient for me.
What is the budget that you have set aside for your wireless Bluetooth speaker?
Buy or not buy?
So is this rugged water resistant wireless bluetooth speaker worth considering?
If you need a rugged waterproof Bluetooth wireless speaker and your budget is around the $40 to $100 range then the Photive Hydra is the right choice. It gives you value for money and is highly recommended.
On the other hand, if you don't need a waterproof Bluetooth wireless speaker, then there are many good Bluetooth wireless speakers out there in the market with different budget ranges that you can choose from.
I have carefully selected and reviewed some of the best wireless speakers available in the market today. Check out those links below if you are interested.
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- Sound Blaster Roar SR20 - the best wireless Bluetooth speaker today
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© 2014 James Causian