Monster’s SuperStar BackFloat is the kind of device I never thought I needed until experiencing it firsthand. A pocket-sized bluetooth speaker designed for the pool? It’s not something I’d typically stand in line for, but this little piece of expertly designed tech offers more than meets the eye. Advertised as the world’s first audiophile-quality floating speaker, Monster’s sales pitch may initially sound like an oxymoron. I’ve yet to meet an audiophile in desperate need of a waterproof, floating speaker system. But, despite its quirky marketing, Monster has convinced me otherwise. After hearing the BackFloat’s superb audio and testing its tank-like durability, it’s hard not to be enamored with this tiny wonder box.
Although small in size, the speaker packs serious punch. The BackFloat is designed for outdoor usage, and it effortlessly pierces through the mumbling noise of a swimming pool, shower or bathtub. As long as you’re not constantly trying to drown the speaker, the sound never hitches. Its high volume levels impress, and Monster has done a fantastic job of balancing sound frequencies for different music genres.
"Monster’s Superstar Backfloat is the kind of device I never thought I needed until experiencing it firsthand."
The SuperStar BackFloat is compatible with all wireless Bluetooth 2.0 devices, as well as wired devices with headphone output ports that support 3.5 mm minijacks. Unfortunately, the speaker only comes with a micro USB cable and doesn’t include the minijack cable. To be fair, most users are buying the SuperStar BackFloat exclusively for its wireless capabilities, so the minijack omission isn’t a deal breaker. The SuperStar BackFloat takes seconds to pair with the chosen Bluetooth device, and it’s incredibly easy to use. Audio levels are maxed out on the device by default, and the controls have decent range, but it’s best to adjust volume directly from the source (computer, smartphone or music player).
The BackFloat has a built-in mic that allows users to answer incoming calls when connected to an iPhone. The feature works well, but it operates unconventionally. The same button is used for answering and ending calls, playing and pausing tracks and pairing bluetooth devices. I’m guessing this is to limit the number of buttons on its back panel. It doesn’t necessarily hinder usability, but it seems like a strange choice.
"Monster’s SuperStar BackFloat surprises in just about every way. It’s a powerful audio system that’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for portable high-end sound outdoors."
From high-end HDMI cables and surge protectors to unprecedented headsets for both gaming and music, Monster is no stranger to exceptional build quality. The company has proven time and time again that they don’t take shortcuts when it comes to product materials. The SuperStar BackFloat is built like a small tank and is likely to withstand even the most intense outdoor partying. This doesn’t mean it should be thrown against a wall, but it handles tough outdoor usage without skipping a beat. While this may sound self-evident, the BackFloat’s floating ability is also noteworthy. It stays in place no matter how turbulent the surface. Although, for best audio quality, it’s best to keep the speaker in an upright position.
While the SuperStar BackFloat is primarily designed for water-resistant outdoor usage, it’s also useful as a general on-the-go speaker system. Since it’s slightly larger than a dollar bill in width, it’s easy to carry in your pocket wherever you go. It’s great for indoor use too. Want to listen to a podcast or your music playlist while going between different rooms in your house? No problem. Aesthetically, the BackFloat boasts elegant curves and embraces simplicity. The small logo, which also correlates with the upright speaker position, is a nice visual touch that makes the BackFloat look sleek and modern.
Monster’s SuperStar BackFloat surprises in just about every way. While the asking price doesn’t necessarily scream affordable (it’s currently $150 via Amazon), it’s unquestionably justified with its powerful audio and build quality. Monster isn’t joking by describing the BackFloat as the world’s first audiophile-quality floating speaker. It’s a powerful audio system that’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for portable high-end sound outdoors.
Review by: Tin Salamunic