The Boombot Rex is not Boombotix’ first crack at a portable wireless speaker, but it is their first crack at making one that combines the portability and durability they’re known for with audio quality that surpasses average. In that sense, the Rex, the beneficiary of a successful Kickstarter campaign, is a fine effort and, ultimately, a resounding success.
The Boombot Rex is a portable Bluetooth speaker that fits into the palm of your hand. The hexagonal shape and the two drivers give off the image of that old king of beasts, the T-Rex, hence the name. It’s a unique look, and of course up to you as to whether or not it’s a good one. What is clear is its durability – the Rex was made to be portable, and this time that means it was made to take a beating. It’s both weather and shock resistant, with soft flaps covering up the ports on the back to prevent internal damage in case of storms. And, it is certainly durable – there was no noticeable decrease in quality after I “accidentally” dropped it/chucked it at the ground (hard and soft surfaces alike) a few times. There’s a very sturdy clip on the back perfect for backpack straps, belts, and bicycles, too.
The Boombot Rex features two 36 mm drivers and a small bass woofer. When I say small, I only mean size – the bass output is impressive. The biggest credit to the Rex is that it gets very loud for a palm-sized speaker. It’s perfect for when you’re on-the-go and have to deal with a lot of background noise. Bicyclists in particular should love it. The audio quality, for me, was not too good at first, but give the Rex some time. It takes a few hours for the components to warm up. Once that happens, the muffling and fuzziness recedes, and you get nice, clear sound that only distorts slightly at the loudest volumes. Any of the imperfections in the audio will probably be drowned out by all the background noise, anyway – it’s a speaker best used when traversing the great outdoors.
The Rex is automatically discoverable as a Bluetooth device once you turn it on. Unfortunately, you can’t pair it with multiple devices. I needed to unpair the Rex from my laptop before I was able to pair it with a tablet. On the back are three small buttons that serve several functions. The center button will be your play/pause button if you’re listening to music from your smartphone or tablet’s music app. The two buttons flanking that control the volume. Double-tapping the center button will skip one track forward. Range is advertised at about 33 feet, which is accurate.
You can also use the Rex as a Bluetooth speakerphone. It’s equipped with a noise-cancelling microphone which, again, is terrific for outdoor use. If you receive a call on your smartphone, you can tap that center button to answer the call, or either one of the volume buttons to reject it. The center button can also activate Siri. That’s done by holding the center button down – you can then use the microphone on the Rex to say your query, then hear Siri’s response over the speaker. I can’t confirm how well the Rex works with Siri, but I can say that it works perfectly well with S Voice on Samsung tablets and smartphones. Boombotix advertises Siri integration specifically, but the Rex appears to support smart assistants in general.
Also on the back of the speaker are three ports – Micro USB, AUX in, and AUX out. AUX in and out are for wired connections and daisy chaining. Daisy chaining is possible whether the master speaker is wired to the music player or connected over Bluetooth. Unfortunately, I was not able to test daisy chaining multiple Rex units. The Micro USB port is for charging. Boombotix advertises a six-hour battery life for the Boombot Rex, but I got about nine hours on my first use.
The Boombot Rex is available in seven colors. Three – Plox, Mudrunner, and Brushed Aluminum – are limited edition, while the other four – Electric Blue, Savage Green, Arctic White, and Pitch Black – are the standard choices. On top of that, there are separate grillkits you can buy to mix and match colors. Those grillkits come in purple, orange, and carbon fiber, and include a speaker grill, a clip, and three soft flaps that cover up the back ports. The old clip can be slid off with a little force, while the grill can be easily removed by turning the grill face counterclockwise.
And, if you’re wondering, those Swagonomics points included in the box go towards Boombotix’ rewards program, which can get you discounts or free speakers on the Boombotix store. Besides the free ten, you can get points by taking ‘lifestyle’ pictures and slapping the #BOOMBOTIX hashtag on them on Instagram.
The Boombot Rex packs a punch for being so small. After an initial breaking-in period of a few hours, the audio really comes alive, and the Rex can get terrifically loud. The audio quality dips a little at high volumes, but if you’re using this outside with a lot of background noise, chances are you won’t even notice. Bluetooth pairing is easy and reliable, although it’s a bit of a shame you can’t pair the Rex with multiple devices. And, it’s proven that it can take a hellacious beating and keep rocking as if nothing happened. For a palm-sized Bluetooth speaker, it has big sound, solid audio, and great durability – not much to complain about. It’s not an impressive indoors speaker, but it’s perfect for outdoors use. It is a little expensive, at $120, but then again, it is likely one of the best compact portable Bluetooth speakers you’ll find.
If you’re a bicyclist (or any kind of outdoors enthusiast) who needs a speaker that can overcome a lot of background noise and still sound great, while taking the beating that comes with an active lifestyle, you should absolutely give the Boombot Rex a look.
The Good: Gets extremely loud for being such a small speaker. Audio sounds terrific after it gets warmed up. As durable as advertised, takes a real beating. Battery life better than expected. Speakerphone and smart assistant integration is well done, and comes in handy.
The Bad: Can only pair it to one device at a time. Audio distorted slightly at max volume.