A lot of portable speakers claim to be rugged, to bear the brunt of the elements and laugh at getting wet. They also tend to cut back on the quality of the audio in order to project this point of view in their outer shell. The results is an impressive chassis and poor sound. NudeAudio strips away all the unnecessary glitter and lets the Super-M Bluetooth Speaker speak for itself. And what this $99 Bluetooth speaker does is provide good sound.
Let’s get the basics out of the way fast. The casing enclosing the speakers is moderately sized, about the size of a “phablet” and has a built in corded grip and employs a rounded shaped and a silicone sleeve to keep the interior free from impacts and the shock reaction that results. Waterproof, the Super-M goes the distance because it’s also sand and snow resistant as well. This means taking it to the beach or on a ski trip doesn’t turn it into a brick. Controls are simple, being power, BT sync and Volume Up/Down with all these located at the top. Also, as should be obvious, they’re just as shockproof and weather resistant as everything else is (or what would be the point)? That also includes the USB socket which is where the internal battery will be getting its charge and which is behind a rubber “stopper” that also conceals a mini-jack input.
The one difference in what I have and what a buyer will have is that mine is a preproduction model that doesn’t quite have the Bluetooth “oomph” finals will. By that, I was told that the BT distance for streaming is less than that of the normal 30 feet or so. Over time I found this to be true, but as long as I stayed within 10 feet of the Super-M, there was no connection problems.
So my tests began by turning the Super-M on, syncing it to my iPhone as its tiny blue LED rapidly blinked across from the power’s red LED, and then held the speaker under running water as the Rolling Stones warbled on. A quick pat with a towel was all that was needed afterwards, and again — no brick. Had a phone call come in, I could have used its speakerphone/mic capabilities — from the music I was listening to I could tell the vocals were coming in loud and clear so any calls would too.
So now’s a good time to see what NudeAudio filled the Super-M up with. They say it has a 360-degree sound, and by that I imagine that means a wide sound field coming out from the speakers. I placed it down on the kitchen table and let the Stones continue playing, and as far as I can interpret based on my own hearing, the sound emanating wasn’t “narrow.” By that I mean that it didn’t seem to be coming at me like toothpaste from a tube but more like a popped balloon that has exploded outward in all directions. Volume was no issue, so I went outside to the BBQ area and let it continue playing. The sound dropped a bit in volume due to the more open environment (no walls), but there was enough volume “oomph” to compensate. I also found that the battery life stated — being that for up to 8 hours — seemed reasonable as I had used it for close to 6 hours and the power had yet to give out.
The final point to make is that there’s four audio drivers, using Neodymium magnets which are known to make for a quality sound. Added in the package are two passive subwoofers — listening over an extended period of time I can say that it adds a big plus to the overall musical expressions being projected. Passive subs don’t take the place of an active one, but when I compared the Super-M to another (unnamed) portable whose speaker-set was minus passive subwoofers, the increased depth to the music coming from the sub’s addition was evident. And having two didn’t hurt either.
Bottom line: The Super-M Bluetooth Speaker is a portable — make that big pocket-able — speaker that combines shock and weather resistant protection with a minimalist design. Its usability with a mobile device (smartphone/tablet) or laptop is obvious and that it can take abuse is a definite plus.
Grab 'n go cord, Wide dispersion of speakers
Rubber stopper could break off
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.