There are few things more enjoyable than listening to tunes in the cockpit and watching the sunset with a drink in hand. Sadly, the tunes part had eluded us for years aboard Lyra, a Reliance 44. Sure, we have a stereo in the saloon and speakers in the boat, but not wanting to drill more holes or mount speakers in the cockpit, listening to music outside meant that we just blasted it inside. Not ideal.
Last night though, was a revelation. I had the opportunity to try out the new Ecostone Bluetooth speaker ($149) from ECOXGEAR, and my dream of having tunes in the cockpit (or anywhere I want them) was realized. The speaker is rugged and seems well made. It was super easy to pair it through Bluetooth with my iPhone 5c, and even gives you audio confirmation. Once paired, you have full control over the speaker from your device, and there are also controls on the speaker. The Ecostone is waterproof to over 6 feet, floats, and even has rubberized pads on the bottom to keep it from slipping around. On the back, there is an audio-in jack, a USB port and a micro USB port, which is also how you charge it. The company claims that it has 12-hour battery life on the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The Ecostone can charge your smartphone as well, although I haven't tried that feature out yet. Sound quality was good — the speaker uses AptX technology, which improves music sound over Bluetooth connections.
The Ecostone comes with a carabiner and it's meant to be clipped on to backpacks or a bike; however, I think that it might prove to be a little bulky for that application. In the cockpit, on the beach, or in the dinghy, the Ecostone will be right at home.