Over the last month I have been listening to the Polk BOOM Swimmer Duo and it has quietly become my go to speaker. Where it shines is its versatility and mobility. Its durable, waterproof and the tail/hook is a genius addition. Wherever I took this speaker, be it hikes or vacation, I could always find a way to include it. Wrapped around a shower head in my rented vacation house or on a backpack’s strap, the BOOM Swimmer Duo was always able to come along for the adventure.
For the look Polk was trying to achieve I think they did a great job. Out of all the speakers I have tested so far none come close to matching the shape or uniqueness of the BOOM Swimmer Duo. For being a fun looking speaker, it doesn’t feel or look cheap at all. The raised buttons and details are all top notch quality. The colors are punchy and the feel is a very soft, durable rubber that is very easy to grip and carry. This should not be a speaker that easily slips out of your hand, but if it did it feels as if it could easily take the drop.
The tail section is the most brilliant thing about the BOOM Swimmer Duo, allowing you to mount it virtually anywhere. Tent poles, branches, shower rods, oven handles, railings, chair backs, stool legs, bed posts, floor lamps are your friend. Unless you are in a padded room there should be something for the BOOM Swimmer Duo to latch on to. If not, they even provide a suction cup attachment for those occasions.
The Polk BOOM Swimmer Duo has a versatile camera mount system.
In the accompanied pictures you can see the bases attach by a simple screw, a system identical to what is usually found for camera mounts. You must remove the base to charge the BOOM Swimmer Duo, which may seem inconvenient to some. On the plus side, it hides the eyesore of a flap, but I assume it also allows it to be waterproof.
The main downside I see by the shape is twofold. First at higher volumes it tends to roll around. When doing the battery tests I would come back a couple hours later to find the BOOM Swimmer Duo was facing the opposite direction. This problem leads directly into the next, which is in order to use the line in jack the base have to be removed, rendering the line in jack as almost useless. If you plan on setting this on a desk without securing the BOOM Swimmer Duowith either the tail or the suction cup I can’t recommend this speaker. You could nest it in a pillow or wedge it between two objects but its not an elegant solution.
My background is in home audio so this is what matters most to me. Due to that the score is weighted towards the sound, unless I explicitly give another reason. Let me say first that the Polk BOOM Swimmer Duo has a lot of heart and lives up to its “BOOM” name. The speaker physically shakes it is pumping out so much bass, but unfortunately the bass doesn’t translate to sound. You can literally feel the BOOM in the speaker when holding it, but hearing it is another story.
For its size the speaker has a decent “slam” but anybody looking for real bass as their main priority should keep looking. Its an admirable attempt, but eventually physics steps in the size can’t be overcome. That being said, let me reiterate that for its size the slam very respectable and I haven’t found a Bluetooth speaker that outputs more bass in this size category. My only point is you aren’t going to get great bass from any speaker this size.
The overall presentation of the BOOM Swimmer Duo is forward and dynamic. I noted over again that it was very clear and detailed. During quiet songs it could really soar at times. The downside is that kind of clarity means it could be fatiguing after long listening sessions.
The real secret to the BOOM Swimmer Duo is it can get loud. I said LOUD. For the size, this Bluetooth speaker can easily fill a room. No other speaker I have tested has impressed me with volume levels compared to size like the BOOM Swimmer Duo. Measured from a foot away, it managed to put out 85 db of white noise at full volume and measured 68 db for dynamic range. Even with all the volume and clarity I just spoke of, it did tend to compress during songs with a lot going on at higher levels. My guess is buying two and pairing them as stereo speakers would alleviate this issue some. After I finish the rest of the speaker reviews I am working on I will order a second one and update this review with my findings.
BASS QUANTITY: 3
BASS QUALITY: 6
COMPARED TO HIGH END HOME AUDIO SYSTEM: 3
OVERALL: (based on size)
As you can see the Polk BOOM Swimmer Duo did incredibly well on the battery test, ranking in our top 3 speakers so far (12 tested). I conducted the battery test with the speakers at their half way point in volume, or one above if the range was an uneven number. From a foot away the mid point decibel reading on a white noise signal was 69 for the BOOM Swimmer Duo. Under normal listening conditions the BOOM Swimmer Duo was able to last an average of 18 hours and 19 minutes.
This is where the Polk BOOM Swimmer Duo shines. Maybe a bit bulky to comfortably carry in a pocket, it is still very easy to take with you. You can wrap it around something, you can stick it to something or you can bring your own camera tripod and use that as the base. In my opinion, Polk should add add a mini tripod next year, or even better figure out a way to turn the tail section into a tripod to minimize the number of bases. That would make it virtually the king of small waterproof speakers in regards to portability.
The Polk BOOM Swimmer Duo fully stretched out
The removable bases and the ability to use a tripod is a major plus, but the standout feature is that it is waterproof. I can attest it has no problem with water, but the real star in my opinion is the tail that makes this speaker so valuable and versatile. You can take it and use it virtually anywhere and the battery lasts. It also connects to your phone and allows you to take calls. The Polk BOOM Swimmer Duo is only missing the ability to skip songs keeping it from a perfect score in this category.