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on July 15, 2012
I consider myself somewhat of an "expert" on portable Ipod boomboxes as I buy a new one very year. I'm always looking for that perfect combination of functionality and performance, which I haven't found yet.

PROS

It really is lightweight, durable and waterproof
Controls are smart and functional
It runs on "C" batteries as opposed to being rechargeable - if you're camping you can bring extra batteries

CONS

The problem withis unit is that it just doesn't have enough clean volume for a lot of outdoor environments. I used it on a fairly noisy beach (waves crashing, kids playing, other music, etc.) and I had it at about 90% volume (any more and the distortion is noticeable). I needed to have it about 3-4 feet away to clearly hear the music.

Also the Ipod geta a little hot when used in the sun.

BOTTOM LINE

A great device unless you need some volume. That's why I gave it 3 stars. If I was the manufacturer I would design an alternate model with about 150% of the size and sound volume that runs on "D" batteries.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on August 15, 2013
First off, let me preface this review by saying that this product is defintiely worth every penny, especially if you are one of those music junkies like me that likes to take my tunes anywhere I go. I have several music playing devices, BeatsByDre large Ipod dock that blows any other dock out of the water, a smaller wireless bluetooth speaker, and now I've added this beauty to my repertoire. I've always had the issue of anytime I'm outdoors near water, never being able to have something that either a) doesn't require an outlet b) could get damaged if it falls in the water or c) is loud enough for people to hear. Now I do!The ECOXTERRA is built very well and is very durable. While the sound isn't that compared to my 200W Beats dock, it is still good enough for this device. I read many reviews that people said it wasn't loud enough and let me say that that is not true. This boombox is plenty loud for a portable device of this size, that runs on 8 AA batteries. If you have cd quality music (i.e ITunes, Rhapsody, Pandora etc) on your device and not stolen music off of the internet with terrible bit rates, then you should have no issue with the loudness of the music. I can even put the volume all the way up on my IPhone5 and the music sounds great when turned up loud on the ECOTERRA. For those of you with Iphone5's, the 3.5mm jack is long enough were you don't need to have your phone upside down. It will fit perfectly upright in the compartment. The only bad thing (and it's really not even that bad) is that the bass is not the greatest. But it's not bad. Given the size and the fact it runs on AA batteries, it does just fine. Took this device out on a float trip with me and had other rafts float with us the whole way cause they enjoyed the music. It was plenty of loud where 50 drunk people were singing along. It's 100% waterproof as promised and does float. To keep from having my Ipod overheat, I placed a piece of foil (shiny side up) inside the compartment to reflect the sun back out and it did the job just fine. The other BIG plus about this device is how long the batteries last. My batteries lasted almost 25 hours before I had to replace them. That's a big deal when your sitting on a raft for 9 hours that you don't have to worry about your tunes going out because your batteries are out of juice.

Overall I am very satisfied with this purchase and would recommend to anyone who loves to be outdoors and enjoy their music! Trust me, you won't regret this purchase.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Wow, your review was great, thank you! We modified our audio system for the ECOTERRA and it is designed to perform better with 8AA batteries(versus 4C batteries.) We are very pleased to see that the changes are providing a more positive experience for you.
on March 12, 2012
I ordered this item on Friday and received it on Monday with super saver shipping - amazing fulfillment. I was skeptical of the 3" speaker and thought they would sound tinny but this device makes a great sound. I am very impressed with how it handles bass. I plan on using this for my kayak and hanging out at the beach. I might even let it float - so far this device is amazing. I will keep you posted on how well it holds up through spring break!

2 Year Follow-up:

I still have this device and it is a crowd please. But, as others have pointed out it doesn't get very loud. Still, it has been air-tight and keeps the tunes flowing. I often throw it in the pool or off a boat into the ocean just to be silly - people are shocked when I pull it out and its still works and my iphone is dry. I would love to find something with big sound and similar features, even if I had to buy a pelican case to house the iphone. I mostly use it for the pool and paddleboarding.
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on March 8, 2012
Just received the Eco Terra and so far I think this is a quality product with durability. I compared the sound with my other portable speakers: Logitech, Dewalt and the smaller Eco extreme. I found the sound of the Eco Terra to be similar to the Logitech,which is smaller in size. Better sound quality although not as loud as the Dewalt, which I use when I need something more rugged, the Dewalt is also much bigger and heavier. The Eco Terra was better in sound quality and in volume than the Eco extreme, which I love and use for kayaking, hiking.I then let it sit under running water and found no leaks and it still worked great. Although I am little worried of the clear middle portion not being so durable, it is set in between the speakers so that when the Eco Terra sits on its face,the more rugged speaker parts touch the surface where as the middle does not. Here are the pros: good size & portability, rugged, good sound, love the aux and ac inputs,the rubber legs which makes it sit up off the ground and tilts it back for better sound and durability, control buttons, carabiners, waterproof and MP3 protection. The cons: the price, the FF,rev and play buttons did not work for my older iPod ( manual states that these buttons are designed to work with iPhone),I would have liked to have seen a rechargeable internal battery instead of lugging around C batteries. Overall, I am very happy with this product and camping with it in the northwest will be a blast as you never know what the weather will be like.
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on August 14, 2012
I live at the beach and bought this boom-box to use throughout the year on the sandy SC shoreline and at the neighborhood pool. I can definitely vouch for it's durability and it is waterproof. I've dropped it from the back of the car in the parking lot at the beach onto the concrete with my iPhone 4S in it, and it's been knocked off the chairs in the backyard and onto the stone firepit patio by the kids more than once while playing. Not a scratch on it, and the music just kept on playing. I've thrown it in the ocean with the kids and floated it in the tide pools where they play during low tide. It floats speaker-side up, and has not leaked once. I've even dropped it in the sand and only had to rinse it off with the hose to clean out the speaker grills.

There are a few improvements that could be made, only because the XGEAR is rather expensive for what it is, but given the current lack of competitive options in the marketplace, it's still a fantastic portable player that will protect your valuable smartphone or iPod in lots of demanding environments. That being said, for the price, I wish it had an internal rechargeable battery. Yes, you could buy rechargeable C-batteries, but I've read lots of conflicting reviews about the quality and performance of different brands, and they are fairly expensive. XGEAR should just have an adapter to plug in and charge itself with a waterproof cover to snap in place while in use. We're still on our first set of Energizer Lithium C-batteries, and have listened to about 25 hours of music, so it seems that they do last a long time.

The volume could also be louder, but the sound quality is great. The instructions say to set your iPhone to 80% of full volume, then use the external XGEAR volume to turn the speakers up and down. We place the boom-box in our beach cart at head level while sitting in our beach chairs, about 3-4 feet behind us, and the volume is just about right to compete with wind, waves, conversation, and other people on the beach. But don't expect the XGEAR to compete with a lot of noise. For us, it's just right - providing background music that we can talk over without straining to hear - AND - without worrying about our iPhones getting wet or sandy.

My iPhone did get pretty hot one day while in the XGEAR at the beach. The phone was shaded while inside the XGEAR, but the entire boom-box was sitting in the sun, and after about an hour and a half, the phone overheated and shut itself down. I couldn't turn it back on until we were in the car on the way home, holding it in front of the air conditioning vent to cool it off. I've made a point to keep the XGEAR under the umbrella or covered in our cart ever since, and have not had the problem reoccur.

Overall, I recommend the XGEAR. It's a little pricey, but you're paying for the shockproof, waterproof ability to have decent sounding tunes wherever you go - NOT for low bass, loud volume, Hi-Fi sound!
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on May 15, 2013
This device is small and light, and has a nice carrying strap. It WILL fit an iPhone 5. I guess it's designed to go to the beach. It has water-resisting features, but the instructions clearly say: "Although the ECO TERRA is waterproof, the unit is NOT designed for use under water. Do NOT intentionally submerge the unit underwater." Ok maybe not the beach, or make sure you have an umbrella because it says not to keep it in heat, but I guess all electronics mention that. It has an audio-in jack. It does not recharge batteries, but you can put any kind of C batteries (needs 4) into it. It comes with the AC adapter you need which is nice. You can put your device INTO the front of this, and not worry about it falling if you walk, which is why I bought it. But, I will be giving it away for these reasons.

* The sound is not so great. Not loud enough, not enough bass, etc. For its weight/price though I guess it's as good as one can expect.

* It does not charge your iPod. It plays sound from your music device's earphone jack which is nice if you have a weird adapter to the device (like the new iPhone 5s), but that's why it's not charging the device. It has a switch for iPhone type jacks or Samsung type jacks, I have no idea why that's necessary but it will probably help someone.

Those are my deal-breakers, but there are a few other things I wish were different. For example:

* In the effort to make this device water-resistant, they have this screw-down cover over the hole for the electric plug, so when you have it plugged in this big cap just kind of sits there poking out. I had planned to always use this just plugged in except for visiting other people, so this big plug is a pain.

* The wire that goes into your music device needs to bend over on itself which bugs me and makes me nervous that it's going to wear out from being bent a lot.

* Because it gets info from your music device through the headphone jack, it can't perform a lot of selection action with the device, and says only iPods will be likely to act with the limited functions available. (Still better than nothing.)

* The instructions kind of suck. For example there are these teeny weeny pads with a little stick on a string that came in a plastic bag, but I have absolutely no idea what they're for. Then the rest of the instructions I found myself reading several times to grasp. I'll copy some here.

"NOTE: Audio Cable 3.5mm Plug left & right channel inputs are connected in parallel with the channels for the AUX-in jack on the back of the unit. Thus, if connected and played at the same time, audio from a device connected to the internal 3.5mm Audio Plug will be heard at the same time as audio from an external audio device connected to AUX-IN (located on the pack panel of the ECO TERRA & protected by a screw on cap)" [all punctuation, caps, typos SIC] All this in teeny type. I think this means you can use it to do karaoke? Or maybe it's a warning.

Again in the very small type:

"NOTE: Audio to the earphones is not driven by the audio power amplifier of the ECO TERRA. Instead the jack is designed so that the earphones connected to the jack are driven directly by the audio device connected to the internal audio cable plug or the device connected to the Earphones & earphones/microphone features are not universally supported as interoperability may vary by model."

I think the problem there is part of a sentence is missing, but I'm not sure what the first warning is saying. Maybe it means that earphone output will be low?
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on March 31, 2015
This is extremely waterproof and tough. Kayak flipped and got swept away downstream for almost two miles through fast current and possible branches. Hours later kayak was found with stereo completely submerged with phone still inside and still playing music. No damage to phone or stereo.
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on August 24, 2012
I bought this for my father-in-law because he wanted a "boombox" he could take in the boat fishing with him and use it around the house and in the rain also. I was somewhat skeptical and was leery that it would not have sufficient volume, based on the speaker size of 3" and some of the reviews. However, after testing the product with my father-in-law, I would state that this has sufficient volume for most any situation! I found that there is clear, powerful sound after checking on a couple of things. When connected to an iPod or iPhone you still have volume control on the device itself, independent of the volume on the boombox. So make sure that volume is at least 75%. Also make sure that all equalizers are turned off on your iPod or iPhone. When following those two steps I have found that you can get the loudest, clearest sound.

It was nerve racking at first, like it is with all "waterproof" electronics to test that feature. But I did test it first in a bath tub, running water over it (hot & cold) from all angles that I possibly could, with a piece of paper in it at first to ensure the water tight seal. Worked great. So I threw the iPhone in there and still worked great! Some sound dampening happens when you leave it on it's back, with the speakers facing upward, then fill the speaker face with water. But as soon as you tip it up and the water falls from the speaker face "cupping" then it sounds just as good as normal again. I have not tested the floating feature yet, but plan to this weekend and will update my review in that aspect.

Overall great product and one of a kind! No negatives or drawbacks in my opinion, exactly as is advertised and works great!
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on November 13, 2014
I like the waterproof aspect of this boombox. All of the components are fully sealed. I use it in a ceramics classroom that is full of dust and water and I go through a boombox about every year due to the environment. Hopefully this lasts longer. It is strictly a device that you plug a phone or MP3 player into. It does not charge the device so make sure your battery is full because it drains it pretty quickly. I also found the sound a bit tinny and it lacks bass.
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on July 18, 2014
This thing works fairly well but it has a few issues. I'm using it with a Galaxy S3, and it barely fits in the waterproof area - I have to take the phone out of it's case to fit in. if you've got a Galaxy Note or something similar forget it - it wont work.

The sound is OK, but there is very little base, and it's barely load enough to use outside. It's ok for personal use sitting next to it, or on a small boat, but it's not the kind of volume that can be heard above any sort of constant background noise.

The speakers in the housing are very small - maybe 2" - what's seen on the outside of the base are just plastic covers.

I'm using mine with a Bluetooth receiver inside instead of the phone - $20 around amazon. Much less hassle if you don't need the waterproof feature.

The external controls only for work pause/play on the S3. Next and back don't work with Pandora. Maybe with a player they might work.

There's not much else around like this device, and it's super rugged and the batteries last a while. It's nice, but don't expect load volume or it to fit your device.
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