Russound AirGo Outdoor Speaker Review: I Froze It. I Drowned It. It Would Not Die.

Russound makes speakers camouflaged as rocks to sit out by the pool at your mansion. Their tough outdoor products, it turns out, can also survive over five months on a Brooklyn fire escape. The sound might not be the greatest, and the product may be inelegant, absurd, and expensive, but the weird AirGo Outdoor Speaker is brutally tough and undeniably effective.

What Is It?

Technically, the AirGo is not an AirPlay speaker, but with the addition of a dedicated AirPort Express, the $400 speaker becomes wi-fi enabled.

Who's it For?

Someone who wants a super loud wireless party speaker to leave in the backyard indefinitely.

Design

The AirGo isn't beautiful like its dainty, officially-licensed cousins. It's a hulking, water-resistant box, with a cacophonous speaker inside.

Using It

Unscrew a plate on the back, connect the AirPort to the speaker's power and audio, screw the plate back on, and then operate the speaker as you would any AirPlay speaker.

Russound AirGo Outdoor Speaker Review: I Froze It. I Drowned It. It Would Not Die.

The Best Part

Impervious to the elements. Snow, sleet, rain, hail, vehicular exhaust—still worked.

Tragic Flaw

Even with a handle, the 16-pound, basketball-sized AirGo is too heavy to move anywhere.

This Is Weird...

The whole bulbous, space heater design is weird. Either weird or genius.

Russound AirGo Outdoor Speaker Review: I Froze It. I Drowned It. It Would Not Die.

Test Notes

  • The speaker was tested immediately upon delivery to Brooklyn some five months ago. We configured it, listened to music for an afternoon and then threw it on the fire escape where it sat until late August.
  • We love tough gadgets no matter how ugly they are. It's downright impressive that the speaker survived about 80 degrees in temperature fluctuations, snow, hail, and a bucket of ridiculous summer thunderstorms.
  • The only notes we took when listening to the speaker back in the winter were, "sounds pretty good," and "very loud." After its battle with mother nature, we listened again. It's still very loud, but not all that clear. From 25 feet away, the best thing that can be said is: You can hear it. Either the speaker's not in the best shape anymore, or it never sounded especially excellent to begin with.
  • The speaker did get discolored and grimy from being outside in the city for so long. We're not sure what the green sheen on the back is, but we're not touching it without bleaching it first. They really shouldn't have made the AirGo cream-colored. A dingy gray would do.

Should You Buy It?

Despite the clever evasion of Apple's AirPlay licensing labyrinth—no way. It's just too expensive for an ugly, middle-of-the-road speaker. It's great that it's so tough. But for the price, it should at least sound stellar.

Russound AirGo

• Price: $400-500 w/AirPort Express
• Weight: 16 pounds
• Speaker: Passive, two-way
• Power: 72 watts
Gizrank: 2.5