We have tried many products from Skullcandy and we are always very impressed with what we see & hear. They now have a new speaker range available, called Barricade and they effectively come in three sizes, small, medium and large. They have a rugged design and are advertised for both internal and external use. We got sent the largest of the three models, the Barricade XL, so lets check it out.

First impressions are very good. As always, the packaging is on point. Its quite a large and heavy box but it looks fantastic, and it highlights all of the speakers features. Inside the box is the speaker and a USB cable to charge the speaker.

barricade_xl_1Take the speaker out of the box and it looks and feels a little chunky but I guess it has to, if its to withstand the outdoors. This is also the largest model Skullcandy have on offer, so if size is a real concern, one of the smaller options may be better for you. I wouldn’t class this as a large speaker though, its still very portable in my opinion. It has a very rugged, thick, rubbery plastic exterior, all the way round the speaker, apart from the front, which has a beautiful stainless steel grill. The buttons to control the speaker are located on top and are traditional ‘push’ to use buttons. Buttons include on/off, play/pause, volume up/down, change track, plus connection buttons. To the side of the speaker, is a rubber flap and underneath it is aux in/out ports for playback through multiple speakers, micro USB for charging and normal USB ports for external device charge.

So the speaker is built for both internal and external use, with its rugged construction, it is impact resistant and IPX7 waterproof. It can be fully submerged into water 3ft deep and is designed to float back up to the surface. AWESOME!

The speaker is packed with features such as, it can allow multiple users to control the speaker at once, so you and your friends can swap between your favorite tracks on your own phones. You can also connect multiple speakers wired or wireless and will even let you charge your phone while music is playing. I’m sure that last feature will reduce the battery life somewhat but its such a good idea and the first ive heard of it.¬† It also allows you to connect a bluetooth device upto 33feet away and has a 10 hour battery life.
Using the speaker is very simple and pairing it, is the same as any other speaker. Turn the bluetooth on, on your device, turn the speaker on, hit the connectivity button, wait for the speaker to appear on your bluetooth device and pair the two together. The buttons are responsive and easy to use. The sound quality of the speaker is very good. It offers a well balanced sound, with the perfect amount of bass. It can get very loud but maintains its quality at the higher volumes, meaning this speaker is perfect for medium sized rooms and I reckon could just about handle a party environment. Unfortunately I only had the one speaker, but I imagine if you could pair another with it, it would improve the experience.

As much as it hurt to think I might destroy the speaker, I had to put it in water to see if it was truly waterproof and….IT IS! I put it in a large bucket of water and the speaker kept working. Its very buoyant and whenever I pushed the speaker further under water, it rose back to the surface instantly. As expected, take the speaker out of the water and the sound quality and volume is reduced significantly and will not return until the water on/in the grill is removed or dried. One word of warning, make sure the rubber flap to the side is fully closed shut, as its a little fiddly to close and if it isn’t, water will get into the ports and cause damage.

The speaker currently retails at ¬£99.99 and I think that’s a decent price for what you get. There are similar speakers on the market that will perform as well as or slightly better, but will be for internal use only, so if you need something for both indoors and out, this is the one for you. The only negative I have is because the exterior is rubberised, it really shows up and marks/damage the speaker takes.

For further info and to purchase, visit the official Skullcandy website.