The Soundcast VG1 is a rugged, portable speaker with good sound and great battery life

If you’re looking for a rugged, wireless, portable (2.9 x 6.8 x 2.3 inches and weighing about a pound) speaker that packs good sound for its size, give a listen to the Soundcast VG1. It’s a Bluetooth speaker that’s shock absorbing and waterproof, so it’s ready to hit the road, sit by the pool, or provide audio in your home office.

The VG1 is made of two-inch aluminum drivers that pack powerful neodymium magnets, a rear-firing weighted bass radiator and digital sound processing. Of special interest to Mac users: it also works with Siri for hands- free control. If you use the VG1 in an office setting, you’ll appreciate its built-in microphones,  which can be used for conference calls.

Across the top of the VG1 are controls for power, volume up/down and a multifunction button that operates playback and manages calls via the speakerphone. The right side panel is home to connections for an included micro USB charging cable, as well as a 3.5mm aux input and output. The left panel is home to a metallic loop for the included shoelace-style lanyard.

Yep, a lanyard. You can clip it to the speaker for transport options. For example, it makes it easy to clip the VG1 to a backpack for hiking.

When it comes to speakers, two is better than one. Auto Bluetooth pairing feature allows two VG1 units to connect and play at a 30-foot range for up to 15 hours thanks to the rechargeable batteries. If you’ve used many portable Bluetooth speakers, you’ll understand that 15 hours is pretty darned impressive.

As I said, the VG1 offers great sound for its size. Like every portable wireless speaker I’ve ever used, audio gets distorted when you crank the volume up to 11 (or even 9). That said, I was impressed with the bass. The VG1’s bass radiator is powered by premium amplification that includes aptX and AAC technology.

For US$149, you get really good sound and exemplary battery life in a rugged design. That makes the VG1 a good investment for anyone wanting a portable wireless speaker.