We love it when design and functionality seamlessly come together. We also like it when they come together in a quirky manner, which is something the Gum Rock Wireless Bluetooth Speaker manages to achieve.
The Gum Rock Wireless Bluetooth Speaker has a funky rubber shaped body which is available in an orange, blue, yellow, pink, black or green. Our model is the luminous orange one which looks very playful. But its rubber body also means it can be treated playfully too; its overall construction is very rugged and is built to be used indoors or outdoors. We enjoyed using its suction pad, located on its base, which allows it to attach itself onto flat surfaces at any angle. We found that it worked best on glossy surfaces, such as glass and aluminium. Interestingly, when we attached it onto painted walls we noticed that it tended to fall off, but because it's rather rugged it wasn't a worry.
One of the advertised ways to use the suction pad is to attach it to the rear of the iPad and use it as a stand and speaker. It works well used like this, but generally we kept it playing music on a window in the studio, it was convenient and the window helped to amplify the audio.
Connectivity & Functionality
This speaker connects via Bluetooth to play audio. Its Bluetooth setup procedure was easy, and once a connection was established with a suitable device, it would always reconnect when within around the ten metre range. Volume up and down and pause/play buttons are scattered along the side of the speaker. It's always nice to have on board controls and it only helps to makes this a more complete package. The on and off switch is discretely placed underneath a flap, with the micro-USB charging inut (battery life around five hours). An inbuilt microphone is present too, for calls, oddly this doesn't offer much of an advantage in terms of quality over the iPhone in loudspeaker mode.
The audio quality that is heard from the 45mm driver is very good. The outputted audio is mono, so some detail is overlapped and therefore hidden, but all frequencies can be distinguished. The highs are sharp, the mid range is ample and the lows are beefy for a portable mono speaker. Volume fully cranked becomes difficult to speak over, but does distort on bass heavy audio. It makes for a great speaker outdoors or in an intimate environment with friends. However, if we compare it to the new X-mini UNO, which is equally priced, the UNO clearly has the edge in audio quality but doesn't have the very useful Bluetooth functionality.
The Gum Rock Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is sewn up in a cartoony and playful outfit and works well. So if you're looking for a louder notch up in terms of quality over your device's inbuilt speakers without the wires, the Gum Rock Wireless Bluetooth Speaker will do the job nicely. They're available for £16.99 in the UK and $23.49 in the USA.