If you are looking for a Bluetooth speaker, chances are you might be overwhelmed by the number of options in the market. Bluetooth speakers come in various shapes and sizes and some of them are also waterproof so you can use them around a swimming pool or in your bathroom. Zaap Technologies, an Indian brand, has launched a couple of Bluetooth speakers in the market. One model that has caught our attention is the Zaap Aqua, which is an IP67-rated speaker priced at Rs. 1,499. Yes, it is affordable, but is it good? We review it to find out.
The Zaap Aqua is a round speaker and is primarily made out of plastic. It has a suction cup at the back which lets you stick it on a flat surface. The body of the Zaap Aqua also has a hook that can be used to attach it to a carabiner.
It seems that the body of the Zaap Aqua has a layer of rubber on it, and it looks like the device might be able to take a tumble without getting damaged. All the buttons are positioned around the body of the speaker and have the same rubber finish. The buttons are big and easy to press, and have clicky feedback.
There are six buttons in total; two for adjusting the volume, two for changing tracks, and the other two are the power and call buttons. The Micro-USB port and aux port have a thick rubber flap covering them. This flap can be a bit tricky to open but does a good job of protecting the ports from water. The Aqua has an IP67 rating, and Zaap claims that it is dustproof, shockproof, snowproof, and waterproof.
The speaker is light and compact. The suction cup is attached to it, but you can slide it off if you don't need it. Zaap provides a tiny carabiner in the box which makes it easy to clip this speaker onto a backpack.
At the heart of the Zaap Aqua is a 3W speaker that fires upwards. The speaker has a frequency response range of 180 Hz to 20 kHz. There's also a 500mAh battery that is charged via the Micro-USB port. There is Bluetooth support, but you can also connect to an audio source using an aux cable. This speaker does not have a microSD card slot, so you'll always need a source device to play from.
We found the suction cup to be strong enough to keep the speaker mounted to a glass or tiled surface. If you are looking for a bathroom speaker, this checks that requirement.
When we first saw this compact speaker, we wondered whether it would be loud enough for us. That doubt was put to rest after playing a song on it. The Zaap Aqua is loud enough to fill a 200 sq. ft. room. Pairing the speaker is pretty easy and it goes into pairing mode automatically when you first power it on. It gives you audible cues so you know when it is powering on and when it has successfully paired to a source device.
We tested the Zaap Aqua with a Google Pixel 3 (Review) and a MacBook Air, streaming music from JioSaavn, Amazon Music, and YouTube. We also played a few high-quality FLAC audio tracks using VLC player.
The Zaap Aqua offers strong mids and has decent highs at moderate volume, but clearly misses out on bass. The single driver isn't capable of reproducing low frequencies and does not offer any thump. This device doesn't have the V-shaped sonic signature that is quite common. Instead, it is mid-heavy. We would have preferred a more neutral audio profile.
Listening to On My Way by Alan Walker, the speaker played vocals clearly but it lacked bass. Listening to Naina Da Kya Kasoor from Andhadhun, this little speaker handled the piano well, and Amit Trivedi's voice stood out thanks to the strong mids. We were happy when using this speaker at medium volumes, but found that the sound would distort at higher volumes.
Since the mids are strong, dialogue was clearly audible when we were streaming content on Netflix. The speaker also has an in-built microphone which makes it possible to use it to take calls. We used it as a hands-free speaker a few times and could hear our callers clearly.
We also put the IP67 rating to the test by dunking the Zaap Aqua in a tub of water. We did not see any bubbles coming out of the device, indicating a tight seal, and the ports were still dry when we pulled the flap back after taking it out.
The speaker sounded a little muffled for a little while after that test, but after playing a few songs, it was able to pump the water out. The buttons did not work properly after this dip though, and we had to wait for the device to dry out completely before we got them working again.
The box that the Aqua comes in claims 5 hours of battery life, while the company's website claims 6 hours of continuous audio playback. However, we only managed to get a little over 4 hours when using it at full volume when paired to our Google Pixel 3. When you run out of power, it will take close to two hours to recharge this speaker.
The Zaap Aqua is a tiny rugged speaker that boasts of an IP67 rating and decent audio quality at a very affordable price. Its sound lacks bass but the mid-range is good, and it and can get really loud. With few waterproof Bluetooth speakers that cost less than Rs. 1,500 in the market, the Zaap Aqua is easy enough to recommend. If you are looking for something that is a bit more stylish and don't mind spending a little more, you could also consider the JBL Go 2 (Review).
Which are the best budget Bluetooth earphones and headphones in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.