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GadgeTell Review: BlueFlame Slingshot Wireless Speaker

Sections: Accessories, Audio, Communications, Mobile, Portable Audio, Reviews, Smartphones, Speakers

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Summer is the ideal time for beaches, pools, and parks. As it happens every year, there is always some new song that sweeps the radio as the summer-hit. Music pervades every aspect of our lives and memories, so when we set off for those summer group adventures it’s important to bring the soundtrack.

The Slingshot wireless Bluetooth speaker by BlueFlame is one of those speakers that great at home and even better on the go. Its water resistance makes it the perfect poolside or beach companion. The outstanding battery life and easy-carry sling lets it tag along everywhere to keep the tunes flowing.

Design & Durability

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It’s lightweight, easy to carry

The BlueFlame Slingshot speaker is smaller than I expected. But that’s good, since it’s that much lighter and more portable. Included is a silicone sling that wraps around the entire unit, leaving only the speaker face, rear USB port, and microphone port exposed.

The sling provides a protective snug fit, preventing water and even dust from sneaking its way in between. The loop, shown on the packaging as the method of hanging the speaker over a showerhead, also makes it easy to carry or clip somewhere with a carabiner. I’ve hung the speaker from the side of a stroller when taking my daughter out for walks.

The Slingshot tapers out from the top to the base, providing better stability, though it can still get knocked on the side and roll. It’s constructed pretty well. I’ve dropped it from waist-high a few times. The silicone sling also acts as a cushion against bumps and scratches, so long as it’s not extreme.

The built-in 3.7V lithium ion battery is tucked away under a battery door, which is protected by a gasket-ringed, locking back cover. Clearly, the Slingshot is designed to keep water out.

Controls

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Simple, clean design and controls

The BlueFlame Slingshot is ready to go right out of the box, though it’s recommended to fully-charge it first. The buttons on the front are also made of silicone and deliver a firm click when pressed.

The power button, which also doubles as the play/pause button, requires a 5-second click-hold to turn the speaker on or off.

The other buttons control next/previous track, volume, and to take incoming phone calls through the speaker. The track buttons work with my smartphone’s Amazon MP3 player as well as Pandora. Other than a long beep, there is no indication of when the speaker has reached max/min volume.

The microphone works well enough to hold a conversation, but I found myself having to enunciate and speak louder as to not have to repeat myself. This is with the speaker only a couple of feet away. It doesn’t pick up so well further than that, unless you don’t care about private conversations.

The Micro USB port has its own silicone cover to keep the elements out. It’s for recharging only and won’t work as a data cable for music, making the BlueFlame Slingshot a Bluetooth wireless-only speaker.

The Slingshot will turn itself off after a period of non-use, helping to conserve battery life.

Volume & Sound

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Notice how the back cover and gasket help to keep water out

The Slingshot speaker produces enough sound for a backyard cookout or to fill a large livingroom and kitchen together. The sound will have to be maxed out on both the speaker and the phone, though doing so can lead to some distortion, depending.

While the Slingshot won’t be able to fill an entire house or keep above the noise level of a group of rowdy party-people, it does its best to get close.

I’ve taken it with me in the backyard, the park, and the pool, and it provides more than enough volume for anyone within 15 or so feet to hear clearly and enjoy.

Now on to the quality.

The mids and vocals are where I found the most listening enjoyment. Good examples that I listened to would be Dean Martin, Ray Charles, and Michael Buble. The tones are true and stand out. For a speaker of this size, I felt it’s able to provide clear distinction of layers in mids and highs.

The highs, for the most part, perform well. Sometimes I would hear a little distortion when the piano would cross vocals in the upper registers. Hihats tend to sound fuzzy instead of crisp. Rarely, I would come across a song where the highs sounded a little watered down. But overall, the highs performed well and compliment the mids.

BlueFlame Slingshot

Backyard/outdoor listening? No problem!

Depending on the type of music you listen to, the lows may be considered as either weak or totally fine. Considering the size of the Slingshot, one can’t really expect bone-shaking lows.

The low bass and drums are there, but more in the background. This becomes more true if you listen to rap and hip-hop, where those lows are more like hollow taps instead of heavy thuds.

When I attempted to listen to “Shake Ya Ass” by Mystikal and “Roses” by Outkast, the songs begged for speakers that would deliver fuller, richer drums. It’s likely because these types of songs are too far from a good rock base.

If you listen to lots of rock music, then the BlueFlame Slingshot is going to make you happy. The bass on rock and punk music is very punchy. The speaker treats bass guitar well, but take note that synthesized bass sounds a bit tamer by comparison.

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It sits well and generally won’t roll over

Rush, Boston, and Led Zeppelin songs had excellent-sounding drums and bass, even with the volume maxed out. Though one problem with maxing the volume is how it makes some of the higher end notes (and the hihat) fuzz out.

Dropping the volume a notch or two helped to keep the distortion in check, though I found it can be song- or artist-specific.

Offspring, for example, tends to fuzz out easier simply because they love to play loud, which brings on the distortion at higher speaker volumes. This distortion affected the instruments more so than the vocals. When playing “Miss Murder” by AFI, the singing stayed pure even though the Slingshot was maxed out.

For the most part, when it comes to the lows, bass guitar wins while low drums can tend to sound muffled and pale.

Verdict

Good things can certainly come in small packages, and the BlueFlame Slingshot is no exception. With a full charge, I was able to play over 25 hours of music before having to recharge again, which is incredible. Depending on the volume sustained, it could go more or less, though I gave a pretty fair share for all the volume ranges.

The Slingshot is fantastic for rock, classical, and world music. Though the smaller size doesn’t make it ideal for hip-hop or jungle music, one can still enjoy that music for the beat and technical mids. Just keep in mind that maxing the volume can lead to distortion, especially if what you listen to plays loud and/or aggressive.

The silicone sling and IPX4 water resistance leaves you with little excuse to not take this speaker almost anywhere you go. I garden-hose and shower tested it (by the way, acoustics always seem to sound better in the shower!) for a few minutes, and it continued playing without missing a beat. Or dying.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting speaker that you can grab-and-go, the BlueFlame Slingshot is definitely one to consider.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for the review it is very comprehensive. How much does the unit weigh? I would be interested in an update in a few months to see if the design allow for the bumps and hits that it will obviously be taking along the journey.

    John Peterson