Gadgets Riva_TurboX_1

Published on February 27th, 2015 | by Greg


Riva’s Turbo X, A Bluetooth Speaker That Packs A Punch

One of the defining technologies of our time with definitely be Bluetooth, the wireless protocol that has connected computers and phones and tablets with one another, as well as speakers and keyboards and other peripherals. According to the official organization behind it all, Bluetooth SIG, as of 2013 there were over 2.5 billion devices with Bluetooth… shipped each year. We can only imagine that those numbers have gone up significantly, since 90% of all phones now include it. Bluetooth has changed significantly though- it’s up to version 4.2, now, with the latest specification just finalized late last year.

Two of the biggest improvements have had a huge impact on one of the key categories: the portable Bluetooth speaker. Battery life and audio quality both have seen major upgrades, and that’s definitely clear on one of the newest competitors, Riva, and their Turbo X Bluetooth Speaker. Battery-powered but with more power than many plug-in models, the Riva X is definitely on the upper end of the spectrum. It’s bigger than most other ‘portables’, but the flipside is that it has better battery life as well- around 25 hours or more when fully charged! Along with fairly typical additions, like a decent speakerphone and a auxiliary minijack input, there is also a USB power output so you can charge your devices if you need. And you can charge via USB, or by plugging directly into an outlet.

The coolest feature by far, though, is their custom audio processing techniques, called Trillium Surround. It’s a way to simulate surround sound, but unlike many systems that are forced to use only a couple of speakers, they’ve actually built in seven distinct drivers, four for bass alone, into the Riva Turbo X. That’s probably a record number for a unit in this class, and it supports the high definition apt-X codec for better audio quality. At 3.5 pounds, it’s not a speaker that you’re likely to throw into a purse, but feels solid and stable in the hand, or on any surface. It’s dense enough that it won’t rattle much when playing even at louder volumes- and speaking of which, it’s the loudest Bluetooth speaker we can recall, thanks to a mode they call “Turbo EQ”, which boosts output greatly (though will drain your battery faster). There’s even an optional custom app you can download (iOS or Android), which allows you control over EQ modes and an easy battery check.

The Riva Turbo X might not quite have the visual panache of the X-mini Clear that we checked out recently, but it’s still good looking. Touch-sensitive controls are fairly, well, sensitive, but they layout and backlight were nice. One more unusual addition: voice prompts, which aren’t that rare by themselves, but with the Riva you can actually turn them off and use tones instead. It’s not truly weatherproof, no remote is included, and in this price range, we might’ve liked to see AirPlay support as well for use at home. But those are fairly minor points- overall, this is a great-sounding, easy-to-use Bluetooth speaker with incredible battery life and a unique feature set. The Riva Turbo X is available now in either black or white, online and in stores for around $350.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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