Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
On first glance, I think the Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903 strikes a nice balance of style and ruggedness. Like a lot of these items we have reviewed, such as the Silicon Power Armor A65 and ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650, the Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903 is again a happy blend of rubber and plastic. Around the front and back edges, we have a rubber tread lining, and this should allow the HR-903 to grip to any surface it sits on. The corners are also rounded out, so if the AcoustoShock HR-903 is to fall, there would be no corners to damage. An orange plastic ring goes around the speaker, and it serves no purpose other than to add some color to what could have been a boring black and grey. The speaker grille is seen on the front here, and you can possibly see the two drivers pointing out the front. The grille is indented in, just for aesthetic reasons if not anything else.
It is hard to tell from the photos, but the Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903 is quite the tank. I am more used to the portable and smaller speakers we reviewed in the past, but the HR-903 is closer in size to the Audioengine B2 than Inateck BTSP-10 Plus. At measurements of 254mm in width, 96mm in depth, and 119mm in height, this is still portable, especially with a feature I will mention later on, but it is still a handful. In comparison, the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus is 165mm in width, 60mm in depth, and 50mm in height. The AcoustoShock HR-903 is not a lightweight either, weighing in at 1.66kg, while the smaller Inateck is less than a quarter of the mass. Even so, this is all quite understandable considering how large the speaker drivers are.
Moving around the HR-903, the top is where all the controls can be found. From left to right, we have a Bluetooth button, Previous, Play/Pause, Next, Volume Up, and Volume Down. The Play/Pause button also doubles as a Call and Hang-up button when in calling mode. All of these buttons are capacitive touch sensitive, and they do not have any tactile feedback to them. This presents a bit of a challenge while using it, as even just hovering over the button activates its function. Furthermore, any water touching the buttons could also activate the function, rendering it not usable when water drops are on it. In my opinion, while the speaker is still technically functional, it sort of defeats the purpose of water resistance in general, and it would have been nice for there to either be a switch underneath each button for physical actuation, or a hold button to prevent accidental presses. Also on the left side is an NFC tag, where users can pair up their phones with the speaker. As the time of review, NFC tap to pair is only available for Android phones, as iOS devices are restricted in its use of NFC for mobile payments. Finally, Turcom's logo is pasted on the right side of these button controls.
The right side of the Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903 is where most of the inputs and outputs can be found. At the top, we have an illuminated power switch. It is used for Bluetooth pairing, battery, and even auxiliary input indication too. Underneath we have three inputs, which are all sealed shut by a plastic door. This ensures the AcoustoShock HR-903's internal stays water-free. The door is a bit of a hassle to remove as it seals very tightly, but this is just to ensure no water enters these ports. Inside this compartment is an auxiliary input for direct connection, power input for charging the device, and a USB output. Inside is an 8000mAh battery powering the AcoustoShock HR-903. Thus the speaker unit is also capable of charging other smart devices via the USB out. I say this is a great idea, especially if users just need a bit of juice. Battery lifespan is rated at eight hours of operation, and I can say this unit lived up to these expectations during my tests. While the AcoustoShock HR-903 is charging, there is actually a separate LED beside the power input, and it glows orange to indicate charging. Upon finishing charging, this LED turns off.
The last neat feature about the Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903 can be found on the other side of the speaker, where we have a single button labeled "Push to Open". Pressing this button pops up part of the frame to act as a handle. This is spring loaded and quickly pops out. To close the handle, it is just a matter of pushing it down. I found a few times the handle would require a bit more effort to secure it, as the sliding mechanism is not very smooth. Even so, I think the handle is a great idea, and it helps with carrying the speaker around. When you consider the size of the speaker, any effort to make the speaker easier to carry is a worthwhile effort.
The last thing I should talk about is the water resistance of the Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903. I splashed the speaker with my shower head, until it started exhibiting random button presses, as I have mentioned earlier. Due to the nice sealing on all inputs, everything else remained perfectly functional. As it is noted, you should never actually submerge this pair of speakers into water. Overall, we have a decent looking speaker, with a rugged housing, and good build quality. Unfortunately, there are a few things I would have liked to change for practicality reasons. However, the real reason we review speakers like these are to check for sound quality, so let us take a closer listen to what the Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903 actually sounds like.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis