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Bluetooth portable speakers are become more and more popular. Whether you’re having a party outside, working out, or just wanting some loud speakers wherever you move, these devices boast great battery life and the simplicity of Bluetooth connectivity.

Back in April, Seth posted a “Mega Review” of many of the Best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market. Jawbone’s Jambox was truly the first innovator in the market, but now companies like creators of the RockSteady XS, KillerConcepts, have brought in less expensive or more powerful alternatives. Today, we’re taking a look at the updated Rocksteady XS 1.5.

Look & Feel

The device’s case is all-aluminum, which is pretty clear when you pick it up. It’s extremely lightweight – it almost feels like the battery is the only component inside. On the bottom of the device is the cover to the removal battery. The controls (mode, pause/play, volume, skip/back) are on the front of the device. In addition, there is a microphone for phone calls… but more on that later. The back of the device has the on/off switch, AUX line in, DC power, and USB plug (more on that port in just a second). The main speakers are on the sides of the device, but there is also a speaker on the top for additional sound.

The design and structure of the device get a big two thumbs up.

Sound

On the press sheet we received with the device, one of the questions they answer is, “Why is it so loud?” I read that question before I actually used the device and thought it was the weirdest “issue” for them to address. But after I turned up the volume, it all made sense. To turn up the volume to 100%, I had to set it down on my desk then walk into another room and increase the volume using my phone. I couldn’t sit right next to it without my ears falling off. Even in such a small casing, this device has no problem pumping out over 90dB. If you main concern with a portable Bluetooth speaker is volume, you have no need to worry about that with the Rocksteady.

Speakerphone Feature

New in this version, the Rocksteady boasts a speakerphone function and even has an “answer/hangup” button right on the device. This would be a great thing… if anyone could actually hear you. I called up my colleague Zac and he could not even hear a word of what I was saying even when I spoke right into the speakerphone. On the other hand, I could hear him just fine, although I couldn’t get his voice to be loud.

Additional Features

Other new features include the ability to connect two devices at the same time (up to four can be paired with the Rocksteady) and the dual function USB port that allows you to charge your phone. If you don’t take advantage of this feature, expect over 10 hours of battery life (and our real-world tests brought us to just about the same amount).

Conclusion

What started as a niche product is becoming increasingly popular as people discover new places where they can be handy. At just $99.95 on Amazon, the Rocksteady XS is a great choice for audiophiles and casual music listeners alike.