We’ve reviewed quite a few Bluetooth speakers over the past couple of years here at Techaeris, and are always on the lookout for something a bit different. Our Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush review takes a look at a portable, dust and immersion resistant, “Oceanproof” Bluetooth speaker which features a built-in FM radio.
The Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush Bluetooth speaker features the following specifications:
- RMS power: 2 x 2 W RMS
- Peak power: 8 W
- Frequency response: 130 Hz – 20,000 Hz
- Bluetooth: 3.0 A2DP
- Rechargeable 3.7 V 1,800mAh lithium-ion battery
- Output: 5V/500mA
- Input: 5V/1A
- Standard 1/4″ screw thread
- Line in connector, Micro-USB port, USB-A port
- Magnetically-shielded speaker won’t disturb your surroundings
- RoHS-compliant product
- Speaker dimensions: 165 (H)/57 (D)/65 (W) mm
- Weight: 0.7 pounds/320 grams
What’s in the Box
- Single-unit IP67-certified Bluetooth® speaker
- USB charging cable
- Wrist strap with key to open speaker’s access hatch
- Warranty certificate and user manual
The Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush features a triangular prism design. Each end is triangular in shape with the top featuring the WAE logo, and the bottom houses the sealed “access hatch” under which you’ll find the Micro-USB input, USB-A output, and AUX line in ports. The grilles are coated in a turquoise finish, which according to Hercules are specially treated to protect them against corrosion by salty seawater via a nickel electroplating process. One of the speaker sides, the bottom if you’re laying it down horizontally, has a small metal piece which has a 1/4″ screw thread which allows you to attach it to most attachment systems.
The edges of the speakers are are wrapped in black strips, one of which contains a stub for attaching the included wrist strap, and another edge is where the 8 buttons are located. The Hercules logo wordmark sits at the top of this strip (when standing on end), followed by the power, volume up, volume down, play/pause, next, previous, Bluetooth, and FM buttons.
Overall it’s a pretty trendy looking design, although it’d be nice to have some colour choice for the speaker grilles. The components look to be well sealed as well, and even after dunking in water the speaker still performed as it should.
Ease of Use
Like most Bluetooth speakers, the Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush is simple to use. The first time you fire it up, the Bluetooth indicator flashes blue indicating it’s ready for pairing. If you’ve already paired it with a device, you can hold the Bluetooth button for 3 seconds until it beeps to disconnect from the current device and then pair and connect to a new device.
Setting up the FM radio function is just as easy. Simply press the FM button on the speaker and the FM Radio indicator will light up in white. Again, the first time you use the FM Radio function, the speaker will perform an automatic scan and save detected stations. While scanning, the FM Radio button will flash white. Once the scan is complete, it will start playing the first station. You can switch between stations by using the Next and Previous buttons, and if you’re in a different location you can re-initiate scanning for stations by holding the FM Radio button down for 3 seconds. Up to 40 stations can be saved by the speaker, and for better reception in the US the instructions indicate that you should get the accompanying smartphone app (more on that in a minute). Your mileage may vary but up here in Canada we had no issues using the speaker to listen to FM Radio stations straight out of the box and reception was good.
All the button controls including play/pause, skipping tracks, volume, and power worked as one would expect and we had no issues with the functionality of this Bluetooth speaker.
There is also a WAE Music app that you can download for both iOS and Android devices that gives you more control over the speaker. Some of the features include:
- A fully integrated Music Player
- Music streaming services: all your music libraries (local library, Deezer, Spotify and SoundCloud) are centralized in one application
- Play any song, any time, thanks to the music services databases
- Create your own playlists and mix them wherever the song is stored (local library or streaming services)
- Comprehensive Equalizer to fine-tune your music
- Social networks integration, to share your musical moments with your friends
- View your speaker’s battery level
- Sleep Mode
- Get total control of the speaker’s FM function
- Geolocation: easily find and tune in to radio stations in your vicinity, no matter where you are in the world!
Of course the app and features listed above only work with compatible WAE speakers like the Outdoor Rush. The speaker works just fine without the app, but the added functionality from your smartphone is a nice addition. One thing that I found a bit odd was that not only is there a smartphone app, but you can also charge your smartphone from the speaker and yet there is no call answer/speakerphone functionality on the speaker itself.
Even at full volume, music is pretty crisp and clear on this speaker and I didn’t note any distortion. As always we ran it through the gamut of music genres, and everything from rock and classical to EDM sound fine on it. While the Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush speaker is pretty loud, it does lack a bit when it comes to the bass department. Even with the WAE Music app equalizer enabled and the Google Play Music equalizer enabled with the bass spectrum pushed all the way up, you won’t be getting a lot of heavy bass from this speaker.
The Outdoor Rush is rated at 12h of battery on a single charge, and the lowest we saw during testing was just over 10 hours, with a best of 12.5 hours before requiring a recharge. The 1800mAh battery worked great for a quick charge of the smartphone as well, but of course charging your smartphone from the speaker while using it is going to significantly lower your usage of the speaker. When drained, the speaker takes about 3.5 hours to fully recharge.
Priced at $129.99USD, this Bluetooth speaker would be a slightly better value if it offered a bit more bass and smartphone call functionality. For the price though, it is quite the durable, decent sounding, and water-resistant speaker.
The Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush is a pretty decent speaker with crisp, clean sound, FM Radio functionality, good battery life, and its IP67 water and dust resistant ratings.
Note: The Hercules WAE Outdoor Rush will be available to purchase from Amazon on May 20th.