Let's face it, we all do it. That warm water starts hitting the back of our heads, and instantly, we start belting out the latest from Lizzo or an oldie but goodie from Aerosmith. No? Just me? C'mon, you know you do too!
Most of us do this without musical accompaniment, but sometimes, if we're lucky, we remember to bring some tunes into the bathroom. Maybe it's your smartphone with the volume cranked to 11, or perhaps you have a waterproof shower radio or Bluetooth speaker. But you know what those solutions are missing? Convenience. Heck, I'm all about that convenience. Enter the Aqua Dew.
What is the Aqua Dew? Well, it's a small, puck-shaped speaker (as these things tend to be), that is IPX5 water-resistant and is voice-operable with Amazon's Alexa smart assistant over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Pitched as a shower speaker, this rugged device is also well-suited for outdoor use, and it even has utility in spaces like your kitchen.
I was one of the initial Kickstarter campaign backers for this device, and I finally received my Aqua Dew a little over a week ago. As soon as I got the device, I was eager to give it a shot in the shower. What flows next are my thoughts, which will I'll drip out in the paragraphs below. Ok, ok, I'll stop. It's review time.
Singing in the shower
Bottom Line The Aqua Dew is a great way to take your tunes and Alexa with you into the shower. The sound quality doesn't compare to that from an Echo or Sonos speaker, but it should complement your shower voice just fine. If you consider this a shower speaker only, it's too expensive; but if you consider it a portable Bluetooth speaker, it starts to make more sense.
- Brings Alexa smarts to your shower
- Speaker gets pretty loud
- Water- and drop-resistant
- Can be taken outdoors or used in utility areas
- Responsive and courteous customer service
- Pricey for what it is
- Delay upon startup is frustrating
- Sound quality is just meh
A bit of background on the Aqua Dew
Aqua Dew purports to be the "first Alexa shower speaker," and as far as I could tell, they are right about that. The device began as just a glimmer of an idea on Kickstarter, where many technology products never even get off the ground. Starting in Fall 2018, the project created by Wasserstein reached its funding goal in a scant 35 days, and began slowly shipping out from late Spring 2019 through Fall 2019. Wasserstein later co-launched the project on Indigogo, and now sells the product on its own website alongside its other smart home products and accessories.
To set up the device, you must first download the Aqua Dew app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Once you power on the device, you will then pair it with the app and log in to your Amazon account to grant access privileges. After that setup process is complete, the Aqua Dew will appear in your list of Echo Devices in your Alexa app, and you can add it to other speaker groups, use it in Alexa routines, or stream content via Bluetooth to the speaker.
Once I received my device and tried to set it up, it kept getting bricked in the Wi-Fi setup stage. After a few frustrating emails to the Wasserstein customer service department (who were as nice as can be, by the way), I was informed that a patch was being issued to the software and app. Once I updated my app, the setup went smoothly and quickly, and I was ready to begin using the Aqua Dew in earnest.
After I had the device all set up, I would occasionally have some connection issues, but I attributed this more to the layout of my house than to the device itself. Indeed, my master shower is literally as far from the Wi-Fi router as you can get in my house. But floorplan issues aside, I really began to enjoy my daily shower more thanks to this little speaker... does that sound weird?
|Category||Aqua Dew Product Specs|
|Size||4.35-inches x 1.96 inches|
|Battery||2 x 2499 mAh Lithium-ion|
|Charge||Lasts 8 hours on a charge; shuts off after 20 minutes of inactivity|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth|
|Smart assistant||Amazon Alexa|
|Physical mute switch||Yes|
|Speaker||5W, 1 x 40 mm full-range neodymium drive|
|Audio output||50 ml acoustic volume, up to 89 dB|
|Components||silicone, PC, ABS, steel, chrome|
The Aqua Dew speaker ships with an included suction cup from which you can hang the speaker up in the shower; alternatively, you can hang the device from its attached silicone strap to a shower caddy or railing. It appears solidly-built, consisting of a silicone and hard plastic body, with stainless steel, chrome, and silicone trimmings. There is an LED indicator light in the center of the device that can convey dozens of statuses via different colors and patterns (a reference manual is included, but these largely match up with those on an Amazon Echo speaker).
Aqua Dew What I like
It has been forever since I have owned a shower speaker, and even that was a cheap piece of junk. I've had a smartphone for over a decade and Echo speakers for half of that time, but it never really occurred to me to bring either into the bathroom to listen to tunes while showering. Maybe I'm just slow that way.
I have to say that despite my initial setup frustrations, I've really enjoyed using the Aqua Dew. Now every time I get in the shower, I can make requests of Alexa, and it has no problem executing these tasks. The first time I set it up and asked it to play music, Alexa picked out a great 90s U2 playlist from Amazon Music. Another time, I asked Alexa to read my latest Audible book, and it picked up right where I left off. I really need to be better about getting through those, but with the Aqua Dew, I may just listen every day since I'm a captive audience!
I often have bright ideas or things I want to remember in the shower but never have a way to record them, and I love that I can now just ask Alexa to take a reminder or tell me about my upcoming calendar appointments. It seems so simple, but it's such a useful thing. I also tried to trip the speaker up by asking Alexa what the capital of East Timor is, and it got it right! Ok, my curiosity compelled me to look it up to confirm after the fact, but darn it if Alexa wasn't correct (if you're curious, the capital of East Timor is Dili — for really).
Remember that bright idea before it gets drowned out of your head
Installing the suction cup in my tile shower was simple, and then all I had to do was hang the speaker from its stainless steel hook and silicone strap. It stays securely in place and is water-resistant, though Wasserstein advises that you not hang it directly below the shower nozzle (mine is mounted on the shower's side-wall). The tactile buttons are an interesting combination of squishy and clicky, but they seem to work well enough. The device feels pretty solid and well-made, and I am not worried about its durability one bit.
Aqua Dew What I don't like
While I've quite enjoyed using the Aqua Dew, I do have a few minor niggles and one relatively major complaint about the device. First, the little stuff.
For (Kick)starters, when I pledged to the initial Aqua Dew campaign and placed my order, I asked for the turquoise version, but as you can see from the product shots, what I received was a white speaker. According to our spec chart and the Wasserstein product page, the turquoise color is no longer an option, so it looks like what happened was that I was bumped to my second choice instead. I actually don't mind the white and think it looks better in my white-tiled shower, but a heads-up on the swap would've been appreciated.
The Aqua Dew has rechargeable batteries that are supposed to last up to eight hours of continuous playtime, and so-far, so-good. My gripe is with the tiny included micro-USB cable, which is only six-inches long! And not to bang on the same drum that we always do, but come on, micro-USB? Why not USB-C? These cable issues have presented some challenges when it comes to charging the device back up. Not a deal-breaker, but not optimal either.
The frustrations pour out if you forget to prime the pump
The biggest pain point for me with this product is not the sound quality or its charging quibbles but the activation process that you have to go through each time you want to use the Aqua Dew. Remember in the chart above, where I said the device shuts off automatically after 20 minutes to save power? Well, because of this, you have to turn it back on when you want to use it. Problem is, There is a significant delay from the time when you turn on the device to when Alexa is really ready to go. I've noticed this delay with other third-party Alexa-enabled devices as well, such as my Roav Viva Alexa car charger. With both of these products, that startup delay can be as much as 90 seconds, which I suspect has to do with the fact that the devices have to communicate with their own app, which then has to talk to the Alexa app and Alexa service to authenticate before they are ready to be used. Again, not a deal-breaker, but definitely a mild annoyance. My advice to you is to be sure to turn on the Aqua Dew a few minutes before you get into the shower if you want to start rocking and rolling as soon as the water starts flowing.
Aqua Dew A worthy shower buddy?
Is this a necessary item for your connected home? No, not really. But is it a useful and/or fun one? Yes, I think so!
I purchased my Aqua Dew during the initial Kickstarter campaign for around $85, with no promotional consideration whatsoever from Wasserstein. For that price, I believe the device is a pretty good value that might just motivate me to give it a slightly higher star rating. However, at its retail price of $119 I'm not sure it's worth it when you could pick up one of the best Alexa speakers around like an Echo Flex and just plug that into the wall next to your hairdryer. For about $25, the Flex gives you most of the same functionality as the Aqua Dew at a quarter of the cost.
The Aqua Dew, however, is a portable Bluetooth speaker, which means you can take it wherever you go. None of the Echo devices (including the Echo Flex) have this mobility or flexibility. So if you consider it a portable indoor/outdoor Alexa speaker, and not just a shower gadget, it might just prove itself a more valuable addition to your smart home suite.
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