iFrogz have a wide variety of portable audio devices. Having already reviewed two of them, in the form of the Coda Wireless Headphones and Coda Wireless Earbuds, I recently received a third unit, the iFrogz Coda Wireless Speaker. As with the previously reviewed units, the main focus here is portability, which it has plenty of.
Build and Design
After unboxing the speaker, you’ll notice that it’s a pretty simple unit, rather unassuming on the whole. This isn’t a bad thing by any means. The iFrogz Coda Pop speaker, however, was a lot more minimalist compared side by side. The speaker is made from a mix of plastic and rubber, and seems solid enough to withstand a fall or two, although I wasn’t willing to run that test myself. It’s extremely lightweight, making it super portable. If not for its round base, you’d be able to carry one in your pocket all day without adding much additional weight. With a box weight of 118g, I put the actual device weight well under the 100g mark. The unit is available in four colour varieties, although the rose gold option is by far the best looking.
There are a few key components on the speaker that should be mentioned. The first is the layout. The unit’s speaker faces upward from the frame, and while it is protected by surrounding plastic, it is still slightly exposed. This is a little worrying to me. There’s a plastic strap that runs across the speaker like a radius, which looks like a little handle kids would use. The unconventional speaker location and design gets a little weirder, as the control buttons are all placed on the bottom. I won’t go as far as to suggest it’s cumbersome to have to lift the unit to use the controls, it’s just peculiar. The three buttons include a power button, skip forward and back. The power button doubles in functionality as the previously mentioned wireless devices, but instead of single-press volume buttons, we now have a single press skip track function. Long-press, in this case, would either decrease or increase volumes. The buttons aren’t flush against the bottom, however, with a circular rubber band across it doubles as the speaker grip on different surfaces, while also raising it slightly.
Performance and Battery Life
While the looks may be a bag of mixed goods, the performances leave a lot to be desired. To start off with, the upward-facing speaker isn’t that loud. I made some adjustments to my audio settings on my phone, from which I managed to extract slightly higher volumes but still doesn’t reach sufficient levels to fill the room. I found that there isn’t a lot of bass either, something which could be a direct result of the speaker position. Turning the speaker around doesn’t do much to increase the bass, although it does slightly muffle the sound. Overall, then, I wasn’t too impressed with the sound quality the device provided, although it was a slight step up from the loudspeaker bolted onto my phone.
From a portability perspective, being light means nothing if the battery life doesn’t match up. The speaker has a charge of about four hours. This is a fairly reasonable amount, although not quite extreme. The disappointing aspect of the battery life is that it takes quite a long two and a half hours to fully charge. The ratio of charge time to battery drain is not great, where I would have expected it more in the range of an hour.
What I found surprising on the speaker was that it included a built-in microphone, which allowed me to make and answer calls using its audio capabilities. It wasn’t a bad setup at all, and I was able to hear without difficulty, along with the participant on the other end of the line.
All in all, the iFrogz Coda Wireless Speaker isn’t a bad device, but has quite a lot of flaws to make it a good one. The volume levels and design lead me to believe that this is more a personal speaker for in-home usage, possibly for children playing mobile games, rather than to entertain a small audience or play music sufficient to fill a room. The built-in mic is a bit amiss on a Bluetooth speaker, especially given the overall set of capabilities, but it may be useful to some. I’m not sure if the addition of an IP rating would have made any difference to my opinion of the speaker, and I wouldn’t expect it to be anywhere near a pool, or any other outdoor area, given that volume levels are simply washed out when moved outside.
At a price point between R300 and R400, the unit is fairly well-priced and has much better quality in build and performance than what you’d find for cheaper at a flea market of Chinese mall. While it doesn’t stack up nearly as well as their earphone and headphone offerings, the portable speaker would make for a good addition to your child’s entertainment setup, as they spend hours at a time flicking monsters or surfacing the rails on their smartphones or tablets.