Waterproof Portable Outdoor Speaker w/ Hi-Res Bluetooth aptX, NFC, TWS, USB Phone Charging, Deep Bass, Tall Tower Design, & 360 Omnidirectional Sound
Compared to many of the best high-volume capable portable Bluetooth speakers, Soundcast is in a class of its own. Their speakers are not just background music speakers — they are designed to rock out and play loud and clear. And better yet, they do not care if they are sitting in the sand or a snowbank. Soundcast's portable VG5 is an absolute outdoor powerhouse that brings “serious speaker” performance to the picnic table at an affordable price point. Two 3" aluminum dome drivers & a 6" downward-firing sub deliver crystal clear audio that will make your music come alive no matter where in the world you are.
Imagine a speaker small enough to carry around with a built-in 6" subwoofer! The VG5 has huge sound, yet is still light enough to move around pretty easily.
Soundcast speakers all meet IP64 or better specs which means they are totally resistant to dust, pollen, or any solid and they do not mind getting splashed.
Bi-Amped Immersive Stereo
The VG5 can really throw out big, rich sound with its active DSP amp system using dual aluminum drivers and a 6" subwoofer.
Company & Product Overview
Soundcast builds ruggedly designed, technologically sophisticated, premium outdoor Bluetooth speakers that are made for people who are really serious about their adventurous lifestyle and their music.
As we mentioned in our Soundcast Wireless Outdoor Speaker Comparison where we compared all of the Soundcast models together, Soundcast portable outdoor speakers really have what it takes to deliver the sound quality you would expect from high-performance stereo speakers. They all connect to each other wirelessly, they are all rechargeable, and each one is designed extra-tough to withstand the elements in just about any type of extreme weather.
Previously, we reviewed the biggest, loudest, and “baddest” portable outdoor speaker Soundcast makes — the top-of-the-line, special edition Soundcast VG7SE. At Audio Advice, we love it when high-performance tech from more expensive gear trickles down into premium products for less. So, in this review, we are focusing on their smaller, lighter, and more portable powerhouse.
The VG7SE stood out as one of the best Bluetooth party speakers for outdoor audio, but the Soundcast VG5 is a more portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker that brings “serious speaker” performance to the table at a more affordable price point.
Design & Build Quality
Standing a little over 17-inches tall (just under a foot and a half) the VG5 is perfectly sized for a backyard pool party, lounging by the patio in the sun, or on the deck of a fishing boat or a yacht. You’ll need a duffle bag instead of a backpack to tote it around, but the trade-off here moves you into the serious speaker category of Soundcast’s lineup.
For comparison, the VG5 has a slim, vertical tower design much like its rugged little brother — the VG3 — but it stands slightly over 8-inches taller, and just a little over 4 inches wider and deeper. On the other end of the spectrum, the VG5 stands about 8-inches shorter compared to Soundcast’s flagship VG7SE model, which is over 2 feet tall.
Almost all of Soundcast’s portable outdoor speakers share this same vertical form factor, helping them perform more like a home audio loudspeaker. The design helps them present an immersive 360-degree soundstage that maximizes the speaker’s output for greater coverage with an optimal dispersion pattern compared to many of the pill-shaped Bluetooth speakers, which basically fire sound just out the front.
Inside the VG5, there is an impressive 6-inch powered subwoofer, plus two 3-inch aluminum-cone drivers on each side that fire out big stereo sound — and yet the VG5 is still small and light enough to carry. It weighs 12 ½ pounds, but you’ll be able to feel the bass with the VG5 and fill up a much bigger area than comparable Bluetooth speakers in this price category. The result is bass that reaches an impressive 5 dB down of 70 Hz, which is just fantastic for a portable speaker!
The sound and durability are what actually convinced the Audio Advice team to offer Soundcast as a portable speaker option. They sound just fantastic for an outdoor speaker and the fact they are portable and rechargeable is a bonus! Many of our “audiophile” clients who have tried them have been super impressed with their big, full sound.
Features & Technology
At Audio Advice, we were very impressed to find that Soundcast certified all of its products for the International “Ingress” Protection rating (or “IP rating”) as a standard feature across every model they make.
Designed for Outdoor Use
All Soundcast products are weather-resistant to varying degrees, but unlike a lot of speaker companies, they actually define a spec for how resistant they are. The VG5 has a very high IP rating of IP64, so it is pretty immune to everything except a long dip in the pool.
In terms of solids, IP64 means it is totally resistant to dust, pollen, and most small particles — so there’s nothing to worry about if it gets hit with a sandstorm. The VG5 can even be used in extreme temperatures (-4°F to 140°F, -20°C to 60°C) without any loss in audio quality. It doesn’t mind getting splashed on either, so if you are looking for a rugged, portable Bluetooth speaker to bring around water, then the VG5 is one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy for outdoor entertaining in just about any type of weather.
24-Bit DSP for Great Outdoor Sound
Soundcast uses a proprietary 24-bit DSP technology that delivers great audio, perfectly adapted for each speaker model. In the VG5, dual aluminum drivers and an impressive 6-inch subwoofer throw out big, rich stereo sound. The speakers are actively amped with separate amplifiers for the different types of drivers, and this allows Soundcast to fine-tune the audio to the speaker drivers' characteristics. Every single model in the Soundcast lineup, except for the entry-level VG1 model, is designed to throw out a very large and wide sound field and to our ears, the VG5 sounded very clear and rich from all directions.
Bluetooth & NFC Pairing
Bluetooth is compatible with Hi-Def AAC, aptX™ and aptX™ Low Latency Bluetooth® codecs, plus this one has NFC which makes Bluetooth pairing completely automatic and extremely convenient. The VG5 has the ability to remember up to 8 devices, which makes it really easy for anyone with an NFC-compatible smartphone to take turns being the DJ.
The VG5 uses TrueWireless Stereo (TWS) with interchangeable stereo & left/right modes. You could pair two of them together and cover a much larger area — and when you do this, they switch into true stereo units where you can swap between the left vs the right speaker on the fly.
AUX Input for Wired Audio Sources
Each and every model gives you the option of connecting an audio source via an auxiliary input on the unit. Should you wish to connect up a separate playback device like an audio streamer, the VG5 has a 3.5mm Aux stereo mini-plug input for a wired connection with external audio sources.
Capacitive Touch & USB Charging Bank
Not only can you control the VG5 from your smartphone via Bluetooth, but the VG5 has touch-capacitive controls that light up on the front panel so you can clearly see several of the VG5’s functions in the dark. Plus, the USB Type-A port is the icing on the cake that will let you or your friends charge your phone or tablet and keep the party going!
Keypad Lock Modes
There are also two different keypad lockout modes that prevent unintended or accidental operations. When enabled, all keypad functions except for the power on/off button are ignored. This comes in handy to prevent children or other adults from accidentally stopping the music.
The VG5 can really throw out an impressive soundstage that will cover a medium to large outdoor area with good, rich sound for its size. Inside, there is an active DSP amp system that puts its premium dual aluminum drivers and 6-inch subwoofer to great use. The class-D power amp is highly efficient and not only meets the power demands of the high-performance dual drivers but also optimizes the power so the VG5 can provide a longer playing time. Playtime was 10 hours, which took about 4-5 hours to charge, so we see the VG5 as more of an outdoor speaker you can take to the boat dock, a tailgating event, or out by the pool.
The VG5 is a little heavy, but we liked the rear-carrying handle which balances out the weight. You’ll probably want to find a better way to tote this 12 ½ pound speaker around if you are going more than a couple of hundred yards with it — but, the VG5’s weight translated into a much bigger sound.
The VG5’s full-range drivers are packaged in a stereo 360° array that presents clear audio up to 18 kHz, plus a powered downward-firing long-throw woofer that delivers good subterranean bottom-end. The result is bass that reaches an impressive 5 dB down of 70 Hz, which is just fantastic for a portable speaker!
If you want to experience the VG5’s deep bass, you’ve got to check out a song called “Take My Breath Away” off The Weeknd’s Dawn FM album, which features Quincy Jones who famously produced Michael Jackson’s iconic 1982 Thriller. 40 seconds into this party jam, the VG5’s deep low-end came alive with chest hitting impact that made us want to get up and start dancing to the music. Two VG5s paired together are a fantastic idea for your next social gathering outside or even a pool party.
We called up some friends and hosted a get-together on a patio in the backyard, and just one VG5 was enough to provide clear-sounding background music at low volume. When we raised the volume, our cozy outdoor area was well covered with high-quality sound at enough volume that impressed everyone around us. The sound quality was so impressive, guests kept turning their heads and looking at the speaker.
A great way to experience the VG5’s fantastic outdoor coverage is John Mayer’s Sob Rock album, which features a lot of organic instrumentation and a good mixture of pop-sensible beats. Just listen to the entire album on the VG5, because it just sounds fantastic, but one song that stood out on the album was “New Light.”
We listened to this track outside around a bonfire in the backyard. Immediately, the dynamic details hiding in the music were revealed clearly with a rich, warm sound. When we added the second VG5, details in the soundstage were more spread apart and easier to pick out. Even at low volume, two VG5s presented all of the acoustic instruments in the sound field, clearly. Harmonic details hiding in plucked guitars and electric bass strings came alive with good bottom-end weight and with a tuneful sense of timing that made us want to tap our feet along with the rhythm. When we turned up the volume, our intimate little backyard bonfire was completely covered with music that sounded like Jon Mayer was serenading us live.
Having the ability to charge our phones while out in the backyard really came in handy. This allowed everyone to be the DJ and helped us keep the music playing the entire night. It was also nice not having to worry about drinks spilling on the speaker, or the consequences of it getting wet had mother nature taken a turn for the worse. We also liked how the touchable controls lit up so we could still see them clearly after the sun had already set. It’s safe to say the VG5 passed our backyard portability test.
We think the rugged tower design and the ability to charge your phone are really nice touches — but it was the sound quality coming out that made the VG5 a portable speaker that stood out against the best in its price category.
When we compared this to similar outdoor Bluetooth speakers like the Sonos Move, the VG5 was about 7 inches taller — and substantially larger than pill-shaped speakers that slide into a backpack such as the Sonos Roam — however, the trade-off in size and weight was greater sound coverage for entertaining medium to large outdoor occasions with crystal clear sound at low volume.
If you are looking at all the Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers for outdoor use like the Sonos Move, but want something a little more rugged that doesn’t mind water splashing it, then you have our permission to splurge on this premium Bluetooth speaker. It is a little heavier compared to some portable Bluetooth speakers, but the size and build quality allow it to give you greater sound coverage and deep bass response even in extreme weather conditions like nothing else in its class.
Standing right next to the best high-volume capable Bluetooth speakers, the VG5 simply stands out as a more rugged, portable powerhouse for the money. Just turn this baby up, and the VG5 will deliver great low end that will completely transform your outdoor venue into a dancefloor. You could even add two of these together and use them as a stereo pair for an even wider soundstage that really spreads the sound out for even greater coverage.
Watch our comparison on the Best Bluetooth Speakers for Outdoor Entertaining.
- One 6" long-throw woofer in a downward-firing configuration with high-efficiency BL ferrite motor design for increased battery life and high-performance IMPP cone with butyl rubber surround
- Two 3" full-range drivers in a stereo 360° array with high SPL Neodymium motor design, aluminum cones, and butyl rubber surrounds
- Bluetooth® 4.2 with 8 memory slots
- Hi-Def AAC, aptX™ and aptX™ Low Latency Bluetooth® codecs
- NFC™ for automatic Bluetooth® pairing
- Efficient Class-D power amp for longer playing time
- Selectable indoor & outdoor EQ settings
- Proprietary 24-bit DSP technology delivers quality audio
- Supports A2DP & AVRCP (v1.4) Bluetooth® profiles
- Qualcomm® TrueWireless™ Stereo (TWS) with left/right modes
- Backlit multi-mode capacitive-touch keypad
- Fuel-gauge LED array shows power, battery & volume
- Volume up/down, power, mute, play/pause, Bluetooth & TWS buttons
- Auto-adjusting keypad brightness based on ambient lighting
- Keypad lock/unlock & child lock functions
- High-capacity rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack
- 36W universal AC power adapter supplied
- 10 Watt power bank charges most USB devices
- Battery pack is user-replaceable
- 1/8” (3.5mm) stereo Aux input
- Type-A female USB power bank output
- 1.7/4mm 15-volt DC input for external power adapter
- Frequency response: 70Hz – 18kHz ± 5 dB
- Amplifier: Class-D 44W RMS bi-amplified (30W + 14W)
- Play time: Up to 10 hours (depending on volume setting)
- IP64-rated for weather-resistant outdoor use
- Size (H x W x D): 17.2” x 8.25” x 8.25” (43.5 x 21 x 21 cm)
- Weight: 12.5 lb (5.7 kg)
- Shipping weight: 17 lb (7.75 kg)