The entertainment systems on today's RVs can be pretty sophisticated. But for older model motorhomes, perhaps not so much.
In particular, it can be hard to listen to podcasts (hint, hint), audiobooks and streaming audio on a system without a Bluetooth or USB connection. And while you can purchase third party connectors and FM transmitters that can get the sound out of your tablet or smartphone into the RV's dashboard speakers, the sound quality and hookup wires can make it hardly worth the bother.
I have another solution to suggest: A small wireless Bluetooth speaker.
Now there are a lot of quality Bluetooth-based speakers available. But one of the best around – especially when it comes to living the RV lifestyle – has to be the Fugoo (available in three styles –Sport, Tough, and, well, Style).
Sure, the name is goofy, but the sound and versatility are anything but – able to fill our Roadtrek with a nice, big, full sound without having to make room for a much larger system or speaker. This speaker is not cheap. But it's the best I've found. The Sport and Style are around $200, the Fugoo Tough is $229.
It’s pretty amazing, in fact, that this unit sounds so good since it’s just under 8 inches and about a pound in size.
But it sure does pack a lot into that space. There are six symmetrically-placed drivers – two tweeters (for highs), two mid/woofers for mids and two passive radiators that bring out the full, deep bass sound. That’s all geek-speak meaning that this little thing gives your music (or favorite podcaster's voice… hint, hint) a full, awesome sound.
And it’s built for the elements, too, meaning it doesn’t just have to sit in your RV. It’s actually snowproof, sandproof, AND waterproof and the company says it would be ok when submersed in up to 3 feet of water for as long as 30 minutes. While that scenario, of course, doesn’t seem likely, it does suggest that Fugoo wouldn’t have any issue sitting by the campfire or on the picnic table when it’s raining/snowing or otherwise damp out.
There are accessories, too, for when you want to actually take it away from your site. For example, the available bike mount ($39.99) allows you to put it on your bicycle for when you don’t want to go through the hassle of putting earbuds in your ear. Also available are the multi-mount ($29.99) which consists of a camera tri-pod mount, rope or carabiner loop or belt spring-clip. And there is a strap mount ($29.99) that allows Fugoo to hang out on a pole or tree (sorry, only goes up to 3 feet in circumference so no redwoods). Oh, there’s a remote control you can get, too ($49.99).
Part of the reason Fugoo isn’t meant for sitting on a bookshelf is it’s just well-built – able to stand a fall of 6 feet (allegedly). To help protect it, there are different, interchangeable “jackets.” There is the Fugoo Sport ($39.99 when purchased separately), which according to the press pics on the company’s website, is designed for use at beach-like settings and/or ON surfboards.
Seriously, that's what they say. Can't say that fills a huge part of the RVers wish list but, hey, who knows. Rest-assured, according to Fugoo (the company), there's some surfer dude out there who wants to listen to tunes or a podcast (hint, hint) while waiting for the next big wave.
There is Fugoo Tough jacket ($49.99 alone), which has a more industrial-looking design and offers a bit more protection, and Fugoo Style jacket ($39.99 alone), which is simple and kinda boring-looking next to the other two styles.
It’s versatile in the way it can be used, too. The battery life promises up to 40 hours without needing a charge. A human voice (unexpected at first) “tells” you everything you need to know – when it’s on, how much battery is left, when Bluetooth is connected. Fugoo also includes an integrated mic for speakerphone, Siri, Windows Phone or Google Now. It charges with a microUSB and also has a 3.5-mm stereo input for connecting sans Bluetooth.
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect audio toy to add to your RV, this may be the one.
– Thanks to Andrew Dietderich, who assists me with content creation on my PC Mike Tech Blog, for research and development of this post.