REVIEW: Goal Zero Rock Out 2

by: Sarah Blessington

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On our recent jaunt across the country in our commuter car, that lacks any mp3 playing abilities, I was pretty sure we would be stuck between static and small town radio doom for it’s entirety. However, I was lucky enough to be surprised with a Goal Zero Rock Out 2 for our journey. At first I was a bit skeptical of it’s size, and if we would really be able to hear it over the rushing air though the sunroof. The Rock Out 2 blew my expectations right out of the water!

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As far as sound goes, while listening to my ‘go-to’ Pandora comedy station, we were greeted with crisp raunchy antics that had perfect clarity. Transitioning to songs boasting a deeper bass, I was left wanting a little more umph, but all of the other aspects of my playlists were delivered clearly. Overall I am very pleased with the depth of sound that these little speakers pumped out. I mean seriously, while each of the 2 internal speakers are hardly bigger than a quarter, they get LOUD, while still championing quality. So, thanks Goal Zero, you saved my life.

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An awesome update from their older version, the Rock Out, is the new controls on the front face. Unless you have an Android (apparently there are known issues using the controls with an Android system, however Windows and iPhones are good to go), the interface between the two devices is pretty darn seamless. My first few days of using this speaker, while being otherwise occupied driving, produced an odd realization of how the universal symbols used for song selection and volume control, are the same when viewed in either direction. For example, while trying to skip a song, and only sparing a moment to look, I was sure the controls weren’t working properly as it kept repeating the same song. Eventually the obvious dawned on me, and I turned the speaker around. If you can read the GoalZero logo opposite the buttons you know you have the speaker in the correct orientation.

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The fist Rock Out that Goal Zero produced had a pretty sweet bungee system on the other side of the speaker. The Goal Zero bungee system gives you the freedom to rock out wherever you can wrap the chord. The new Rock Out 2 has a cleaned up bungee set up by adding plastic clips that keep the bungee chord in close quarters to the speaker when not in use, getting rid of the bulky foam that was on the old speaker. This system also allows you infinite ways to re-attach the chord giving you the flexibility to wrap it around objects big or small, while still keeping it tight. Incase your bungee securing goes awry, you can rest assured that the built-to-take-a-beating case will protect itself and your music player inside it’s zippered oasis. This cleaned up bungee system is a great addition to the overall appearance upgrade that the Rock Out 2 received.

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What an amazing world we would live in if all of the HDMI, AUX and USB chords of the tech universe could never be lost from the devices that needed them? Well, Goal Zero went ahead and made sure that the 3.5mm audio plug and USB charger attachments would never make it to the land of Lost Dryer Socks. They not only attached them to the speaker, but they even included a separate groove for each chord to fit neatly and securely. There is even an audio input, located where the audio chord nests when stowed to use for ‘Chaining’. If you are unfamiliar with chaining, basically it means that when your buds get together with each of their Goal Zero Rock Outs, they can connect them together to pump out maximum sound. Watch this video of how the folks at Goal Zero tested this out: HERE.

Under the Specs for the Rock Out 2, they say that the run time for the battery is 20+ hours for one charge. I lost count of how many hours the speaker was on during it’s first run, but I know it was over 30 before I finally charged it, while my phone is long since dead. The battery life they have developed is kicking some serious butt, but it would be nice to share some of that love with my phone so I could keep rockin’ with an option to charge it off the speaker. The Rock Out 2 only need 2 hours to fully charge (you’ll know it’s ready when the red charge light turns off), and then if you have a phone charger, the world is your oyster. If you abandon your speaker while it’s still on without anything playing, the speaker is nice enough to turn itself off after 20 minutes.

Pros:

Front Controls for song and volume change

Weather proof and durable exterior

Awesome Sound

Cons:

No ability to charge music player

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(Disclaimer: Goal Zero provided Exploring Elements with a review sample of the Rock Out 2 speaker.)

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