Published on December 9th, 2014 | by Greg0
TDK Trek 360: A Small Box With Fully Rounded Sound
If the holidays leave you tired of Christmas carols bombarding your ears, perhaps it’s time to take matters into your own hands and fight back with alternative music. Or maybe you’d like to spread some cheer yourself, whether you’re still enjoying time by the pool somewhere (we’re jealous), or are just boosting the spirits of your visiting family. In the past year, we’ve seen dozens of portable Bluetooth speakers, but they’re always improving- and today’s model is no different.
The TDK TREK 360 Wireless Weatherproof Speaker is definitely built for the outdoors- it’s fairly large, a bit too big to serenade you in the shower, and can put out sound in 360 degrees (hence the name). The first thing you’ll notice is the cubular design, and the nice built-in handle. Thanks to an IPX3 rating, you’ll be able to take it out and about even when it might be raining lightly. At more than four pounds, you can’t really throw it in a bag, but it’s fairly easy to hold and has large sound and a decent battery to compensate. Speaking of which, the total stereo output is about 23 watts (15 from the subwoofer and four two-watt drivers). That’s four speakers total, which does allow for a good amount of surround sound and depth, though the flipside of that equation is always that you lose a bit of detail. Six hours of playtime is better than many, and enough for even the longest parties!
As with many competitors, TDK’s Trek 360 includes both an auxiliary 3.5mm minijack input so you can hardwire your sound if you want, as well as a USB charging port to top up your mobile device. Unlike almost any others we’ve seen, there are independent bass/treble controls- you can always modify those things using an app, but it’s often far more convenient to do so speaker-side. We did miss having a newer Bluetooth version- 2.1 as used here is fine, but more recent versions can offer better range, superior battery life, and higher-quality audio with apt-X. We liked listening to rock and pop tracks most, but did notice distortion at upper and lower ends- there’s a bit of a rough edge at the top on electronic tracks, but a decent amount of bass that satisfied hip-hop fans and clear, solid vocals.
The shiny control knobs are a nice touch, and we liked the lighted volume indicators. Part of TDK’s family of TREK audio gear, there are smaller (Micro) and mid-sized (Max) models as well. But this is the picnic companion, and great for camping trips or rocking out at the beach. Available now with an MSRP of around $250, it would be a bit expensive at that price- but we saw it online for around $150 at which it’s a solid deal. Some alternate color options and other finishes might be nice, but black goes with everything.