Fugoo doesn't offer a wide variety of speakers, but the ones it does make stand out from the crowd by offering excellent sound quality at reasonable prices. The company’s latest speaker, the Fugoo Go, aims for music fans who want a tough portable speaker that costs less than the competition. It succeeds in most areas, though it lacks the great sound quality and battery life that wowed us on previous models.
At 1.8 x 8.8 x 5.3 inches, the Go is longer and narrower than the $100 5.3 x 1.6-inch, disc-shaped UE Roll 2. Compared with the Fugoo Style (now available for $140), it’s actually a little longer, but not as tall. The Go weighs 1 pound, more than the 0.75-pound Roll 2. ,surprisingly, it’s the same weight as the Fugoo Style.
The Go is encased in a black case, but you can add a little flare by choosing among black, blue and red buttons and a matching color for the bungee cord that runs around the outside edge of the case. The bungee cord is handy for hanging the speaker from a tree, clipping it to your pack or acting as a handle.
It features a minimalistic design, with only -, + and O buttons on the face. These buttons all serve multiple purposes. For example, + raises the volume, but if you press + and O at the same time it advances to the next track. It’s worth reading the manual to find all the combinations, as they are not intuitive just by looking at the speaker.
On the top edge you’ll find the power and Bluetooth pairing buttons. There’s also a single white LED to indicate power status and a blue LED that lights when the Go is connected to a device. A micro USB port is located under a cover on the right back.
MORE: Connect multiple Bluetooth speakers to Receiver for whole house ...
Unlike many Bluetooth speakers that seek to cram as many features as possible into a unit, the Go is all about music. It doesn’t have a speakerphone or any other special features. But it’s built to withstand a rugged outdoor life. With a IPX67 rating, it’s waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. I dunked it in a sinkful of water for a few minutes and it played without issue after.
By comparison, The Roll 2 is IPX7 rated, which makes it waterproof, but it lacks the protection from dust and drops.
The Go's audio is comparable to that of the Roll 2, making it one of the better-sounding Bluetooth speakers in this price range.
The speaker delivered crisp guitar and cymbals on Ed Sheeran’s "New Man." It created a good rumble during the bass breaks on Jidenna’s "Long Live the Chief," especially when I placed the speaker so that the bottom rested on a table — that turned the desk into a bass resonator. The Go showed limited midrange, though, and the Roll produced fuller vocals on Bruno Mars’ "That’s What I Like."
The Go’s bright treble helped the fingerpicking guitar work on Fleetwood Mac’s "Never Going Back Again" sound sharp, and Miles Davis’ trumpet was crisp on "Round Midnight," though the lack of midrange made it less warm than the Roll 2. Compared with the slightly bulkier and more expensive Fugoo Style, though, the Go couldn’t match its sibling’s full sound and overall performance.
The Go can also get plenty loud, especially for a speaker in this price range. I measured it at over 90 decibels, and that was in Normal mode. The Loud mode adds a few decibels. Even at top volumes, the sound didn’t distort, although the treble sounded harsh.
Wireless and Setup
The Go features a 100-foot wireless range, and I found that to be accurate in testing. It also maintained a strong signal indoors from 50 feet away, even with walls between the speaker and the music source.
Like other Fugoo models, the Go lacks visual indicators on the speaker and there’s no mobile companion app, so it relies on voice prompts. You can use button combinations to engage loud mode, which boosts the volume capability, and change the level of the voice prompts themselves, which are fairly loud by default.
If you have two Gos, you can pair them together and use them as left-right stereo speakers or have them mirror sound. However, you can’t pair them with the original Fugoo or the Fugoo XL.
The Go has a stated battery life of 10 hours, and I found that to be accurate. That’s slightly better than the Roll 2’s 9 hours, but the Fugoo Style offers 40 hours of battery — one of the best available.
MORE: Best Outdoor Speakers (2017) for Decks, Gardens and Patios
To check the battery status, you have to push the power button while the speaker is on and the voice prompt will tell you if it is full, three-quarters, half or low. When it ran out, I received a prompt to recharge the battery, and then it powered off immediately — which was frustrating. A little more warning would have been appreciated.
The Fugoo Go is an appealing $100 wireless speaker, if your focus is on music playback and if you intended to treat it roughly. Its ruggedness helps it to stand out against similarly-priced speakers, like the UE Roll 2.
It delivers overall good sound, though the Roll 2’s better midrange makes the UE speaker better for people who prioritize vocals.
If you can spare $40 more, consider the Fugoo Style instead of the Go. It features the same ruggedness, much better sound and 40 hours of battery life. It’s a little bulkier, but the improved quality is worth it.