Last updated: 7/1/2016
Our Altec Lansing Mini H20 rating:
Two weekends ago, we grabbed a little Altec Lansing Mini H20 waterproof bluetooth speaker on our way to river tubing with friends.
Total impulse buy – we didn’t expect a lot from it, but it’s fast becoming the star speaker of the summer. This little guy fills a niche our Amazon Tap and Bose Mini speakers don’t: it can get wet! It can also get dirty! And at just $40, it can go everywhere with us!
- It’s everything-proof: water, sand, snow, drops and bumps
- It floats!
- Good sound and fairly loud
- Strong metal “carabiner hook” for clipping it to things with a carabiner or lanyard
- Micro USB charging
- 3.5 oz weight makes it portable and light enough to wear
- Speakerphone and microphone for taking phone calls out loud (we haven’t tried this feature)
- AUX port for hooking the speaker up to your phone via its headphone jack (note: it’s not waterproof in this configuration)
- Keep your fancy expensive speaker safe at home!
The top buttons allow you to control audio volume and navigate a playlist backwards and forwards (hold the – or + button)
The bottom’s rubber flap covers the AUX port and the micro USB charge port.
The bottom flap opens up for charging and AUX in
A Little Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker that Goes Everywhere
Lanyard hook for the win
The speaker has a metal loop that you can hook a carabiner or lanyard to (neither is included). The speaker is light enough to wear around your neck or clip to a bag or bicycle.
This was great for river tubing, since getting in/out of the river usually fills your hands with important things like your inner tube and the copious amounts of alcohol you brought with.
Here’s ours in action:
Loud and clear – for the most part
We brought the speaker to the pool, sat it on the edge near the deep end while we played around in the pool. The speaker was audible from the shallow end and could be heard over us splashing around. This speaker wouldn’t be sufficient for DJing your backyard summer bash, but it’s fine for creating a good volume of background music for a backyard swim or float.
The sound quality is better than we expected from this price range. Honestly, it’s not that much worse than the Amazon Tap speaker at low and medium volumes. Bass clipping is noticeable when you turn up the volume and play a bass-heavy song, but how bothersome this is varies by listeners. Hardcore audiophiles will cringe, your kids and grandparents won’t care.
It can go for a swim!
Yes, it floats. No, it doesn’t float “speakers up”. It floats one-corner-up with its speakers underneath the water, so if it falls into the water you won’t hear it. The floating feature seems like it’s there to help you retrieve it if it gets knocked into the water (which beats swimming to the bottom or losing it in the river).
6 hours of battery life, at least
I’m impressed at how long this thing ran on a single charge. The manufacturer says 6 hours but I ran it for 6 and let idle for a week in between uses and it still has half its battery life left, according to my iPhone. The speaker uses Bluetooth 4, which allows the device it’s paired with (in this case, my phone) to display its remaining battery life.
Easy to pair, stays paired
We tested pairing this speaker with an Android phone and an iPhone 6 and both paired easily and stayed paired.
Comes in 6 colors!
We went with red so it would stand out against the pool, but the speaker also comes in black, white, blue, orange, and mint. (Amazon’s prices sometimes vary by color, so be sure to check them all).
What would make it better?
For $40 this speaker is amazing. It’s hard to find much to complain about.
Only two minor gripes stand out:
It should come with a lanyard
The corner loop makes you think it’s going to come with one, and a lanyard goes a long way to improve its portability. The lack of a lanyard almost made us not buy it on our way to the river, but we were able to scrounge one up between the store and the river shore.
Built-in voice is kind of annoying
The built-in voice that announces successful Bluetooth connections, charging status, etc is very loud and tinny. I’d have been happy with beeps. On the bright side, at least you know what the speaker is doing when you plug it in, turn it on, turn it off, etc.
If you need something bigger and more booming, check out the CB3 Armor XL Waterproof Rugged Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, which is one of the speakers we considered but didn’t go with because we wanted ours to be tiny enough to take river tubing with us.
The bottom line