Tunebug Shake Portable Speaker Review

Christen da Costa Profile image

Written By:

Updated July 5, 2022
Our posts contain affiliate links. Sometimes, not always, we may make $$ when you make a purchase through these links. No Ads. Ever. Learn More
83 Expert Rating

Tunebug Shake Portable Speaker - 3Tunebug-Shake-Portable-Speaker-Review

Wearing headphones is without a doubt a calculated risk. There is the potential for hearing loss, but more importantly not hearing or being aware of your surroundings, such as an out-of-control dump truck. Add into the mix a bicycle and we’re talking about a serious road hazard to both yourself and drivers. You can enjoy great music without the hazard, especially if you have one of the best speakers on the market.

So with all that said, the TuneBug Shake surface speaker makes perfect sense. You place it on any surface – the more hollow the better – and it amplifies or resonates the speaker to an audible level.

Tunebug Shake Portable Speaker - 2

The device itself is relatively hefty considering its amplitude. It includes a headphone input jack (also doubles as a charging port when connected to a USB port), Bluetooth connectivity, and two touch-sensitive buttons (single bump decreases volume, double bump increases volume) on its face for controlling volume and powering the unit on/off. The manufacturer claims about a 5-hour battery life per charge (we didn’t have enough patience to test this), but of course, that will be variable with volume and how you connect your MP3 player; Bluetooth will suck more juice.

For more great portable Bluetooth speakers, you’ll want to read our Korus v600 wireless speaker system review and our Libratone lt 400 NA 11001 loop wireless portable speaker review.

Related: If you like this speaker, you might be interested in our Tivoli Audio Model One review.

Pairing the device is a simple process. After an initial charge, you hold down both touch-sensitive buttons to power on the Shake and enter pairing mode – this is noted by an alternating red/blue flashing light in rapid succession. I used my iPhone and the Shake was listed as “Shake 001EDE”. Tap pair and you should be good to go – no pairing passcode was requested, though if your device does ask for one “0000” should work.

Tunebug Shake Portable Speaker - 1

In terms of testing in the field, I chose the bicycle, which is one, if not Tunebug’s targeted market. Included is a plastic mount (Gecko Mount) that can be fixed by sticky velcro pads to the top/back/side of the helmet and works in tandem with a mount that allows the device to be popped in and out as needed. Alternatively, a velcro strap and nylon like pouch is also included if you’d like a less permanent fix. You might like the JBL Jr. Pop speaker, as it has a built-in strap, too. It’s paramount that the speaker portion is facing down onto the helmet’s surface, otherwise, the technology will be rendered useless. Once complete, you just need to start the tunes.

In terms of sound quality the Shake isn’t horrible, not great, but definitely lacking in the fidelity department. Placing it on a hallow surface, such as a guitar will result in much better sound, but that’s an impractical surface given the Shake’s purpose, which I suppose is to bring sound to those who’d otherwise wear headphones in risky situations (i.e. bicycling).

Related: Also check out our Uniden BC365CRS review.

At full volume, which is necessary to just barely hear the tunes while biking, the Shake distorts. And by distort I mean unintelligible sound. I tested this with both my iPhone over Bluetooth and my iPod Shuffle via a wired connection – the results were mirrored.

As mentioned in the intro the Shake is relatively heavy. After cycling miles and miles, the added weight starts to take its toll – hence why serious cyclists looking for the lightest helmet on the market. Clearly, no one on the professional circuit will be wearing this device during a race, but it’s worth noting if you cycle a significant amount of miles per day.

Tunebug Shake Portable Speaker - 4

Fixing the Shake to the helmet is a bit of a fiddley affair and then there is the fact, yes a FACT, that you appear even geekier in the already awkward bike helmet. Adding insult to injury, the touch-sensitive buttons are riddled with sentivity issues. More often than not you’ll find yourself turning the device on, even though you’re not holding both buttons down for a few seconds. Or you’ll cause the device to freeze up all together, making it useless until it’s plugged into a USB port. Additionally, you might find yourself inadvertently increasing the device to max volume.

At $120 the Tunebug Shake is an overpriced piece of speaker tech. It lacks significant amplitude, distorts at high volumes and is riddled with control problems that can easily be quelled by a pair of $20 headphones combined with the iPhone Awareness App.

Pros:

  • Novel idea
  • Cool design
  • Headphone jack doubles as a charging port

Cons:

  • Distorts at high volumes
  • Lacks enough amplitude to be useless
  • Touch-sensitive controls are flawed

If you so dare you can buy it via Amazon for $120.

[starreviewmulti id=4 tpl=20 style=’starrating’ size=’30’]

Christen da Costa Profile image