Portable Bluetooth speakers have been pretty popular this year and will likely be a hot holiday gift item now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Legit Reviews was approached by the PR firm handling iLive products and wanted to know if we’d be interested in reviewing the iLive ISB380B Bluetooth Tailgate Speaker. They pitched it to us as being a way to bring audio or music wherever you want to go as 2020 has been the year of alternative entertainment thanks to COVID-19 the global pandemic.
The iLive ISB380B Bluetooth 5.0 Tailgate Speaker runs $49.99 shipped (buy on Amazon) and looks pretty impressive with an 8-inch speaker and color changing LED light effects. We said to send it on over as we wanted to see how a sub $50 tailgate speaker would perform.
Inside the full color packaging you’ll get the tailgate speaker, 1-page instructions a micro USB to USB Type-A charging cable and an invitation to review the speaker for a chance to win a $150 gift card. No remote is included, so everything will be done on the front panel of the device.
Right off the bat we noticed that the unit was super light once we removed it from the retail packaging. The entire weight of everything was 5 pounds and 7.4 ounces. The retractable handle and roller wheels are fun for kids to move it around, but serve no real purpose for adults. Weight is usually a pretty good sign of quality, but this is an inexpensive speaker and this was sort of expected.
The next thing we noticed is that the front speaker ports and baffles are all fake. It looks cool from a distance, but they are closed off and serve no purpose.
The controls on the front of the iLive ISB380B Bluetooth Speaker are fairly simple to use. You have a simple knob that powers the unit on and increases the volume. A mode button lets you switch between Bluetooth, FM Radio and USB or micro SD card inputs. Bluetooth is in opening pairing mode, so you just need to turn it on and connect to it!
You also have a microphone line in that allows you to speak to a crowd or sing along with your favorite songs. Two knobs on the far left side allow you to adjust the mic level and do an echo effect if that is what you are after. A long press of the hold button is supposed to turn on/off the color changing LED light that sits over the speaker, but ours did not work.
To charge the iLive ISB380B Bluetooth Speaker there is a micro USB input on the far right side of the front panel. The speaker can’t be used while it it charging, so be sure to fully charge it before use. The official battery life ratings are 6 hours at 50% volume and 2.5 hours at 100% volume.
We always like to take stuff apart, so we removed the eight screws that hold the iLive ISB380B Bluetooth Speaker enclosure together.
Inside we found a G&D 2 Ohm, 10 Watt general purpose speaker with soldered on speaker wires. This is just a run of the mill low-cost paper cone accordion edge speaker that has had the front pained silver.
The lithium ion battery pack wasn’t inside the main housing, so we removed the front panel and discovered a tiny battery pack that is hard wired to a connector for the front panel circuit board. This is obviously something that is not easily end user replaceable. The battery life did not last as long as the specifications have listed, but there is only so much you can do with such a tiny battery pack.
The iLive ISB380B Bluetooth Speaker uses a ZY-6110 echo active 3.7V 8W speaker amplifier module and it looked to have an average build quality.
Sounds quality from the iLive ISB380B Bluetooth tailgate speaker was what we would call average. It gets fairly loud and should work for small gatherings or venues. The bass isn’t that incredible, but what do you expect from the components that we discovered inside? We have young kids in grade school and they find it entertaining and at under $50 it isn’t a super big investment if it gets broken outdoors. It gets the job done for the backyard, picnics at the park and those that are lucky enough to be tailgating in 2020.
What happens if it breaks? iLive, a brand of Digital Products International is based in St. Louis, Missouri and back their wireless tailgate speaker with a 90-day warranty. Ours came with non-working color changing lights, but we have enough RGB lighting in our home as it is!
You can buy the iLive ISB380B Bluetooth Speaker at Amazon, Walmart, Office Depot, Best Buy, Kohls, HSN, and all sorts of other places. Most places have it priced under $50 and it seems like a decent bargain for that price point if you get one that is fully working. It looks good from a distance, sounds okay and won’t break the bank!