Sway Audio has a wide array of innovative Bluetooth speakers listed on their website, but how innovative are they in reality? We’ve been sent a few samples of their latest products to try out for ourselves and let you know if they hit the mark or not. (Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review)
Sway MagBoom LED
The Sway MagBoom LED speaker is the most interesting product that I’ve seen on the Sway website so far. It’s a pocket-sized speaker that attaches to your MagSafe-compatible iPhone or, with the help of an included magnetic sticker ring, any other smartphone. This allows the speaker to act as a kickstand for your smartphone as well, which is a nice touch.
I was excited to give this one a spin since it seemed to be the most unique item Sway offers. The potential was really there — and still is — but, unfortunately, the technology just isn’t there yet…at least not at this price point.
Sway’s MagBoom LED speaker will run you about $35, which is just about the only positive with the product: it’s cheap. However, that’s also it’s biggest pitfall, due to the incredibly poor sound quality. I played some music through the speaker and then through my iPhone 13 Pro Max and the difference in quality was astonishing. My iPhone speakers were leagues better than the MagBoom, and the volume wasn’t much different either.
In my opinion, there really is no reason to buy the Sway MagBoom speaker — you really are just better off using the built-in speakers in your device. I do have hope that Sway will continue to improve on the idea of the portable speaker/kickstand, but this version of the product is just not up to par quite yet.
Fire Flame Hydro Go
Now, the Fire Flame Hydro Go is an entirely different story than the MagBoom. The Hydro Go is an IPX7 waterproof, full motion LED, 20 Watt speaker that I am fairly impressed with.
While it isn’t exactly pocket-sized, the Hydro Go will comfortably fit in a backpack or purse for easy carrying throughout the day or a trip to the pool.
The Hydro Go sounds much better than the MagBoom, which was expected due to the difference in size and price, with the Hydro Go costing $105. Which is still a hefty price, especially when you can snag a JBL Flip 5 for just under $90 (though I’m not sure what the difference in quality between the two would be).
Sway rates the Hydro Go for 12 hours of play time with the LEDs on and 15 hours with the LEDs off, which should last most people plenty of time for one session. However, the biggest issue with this is that even with USB-C, Sway rates the Hydro Go’s charging time as four hours. In 2023, where smartphones can charge a majority of their battery in about 30 minutes, I find a 4 hour charging time for a speaker absurd. For comparison, the JBL Flip 6 is rated for a 2.5 hour charging time with the same battery life.
I understand that there may be more to this than I am privy to, but for a portable speaker with a few LEDs, I just feel like it shouldn’t take that long to charge.
So, should you pick up either of these Sway speakers? No, probably not. The Hydro Go is alright, certainly not the greatest sounding thing in the world, but it’s not bad. However, the Sway Splash Extreme speaker looks to have similar specs (just no LEDs with a 20-hour battery life and an $80 price tag.