I may not sing along with Taylor Swift songs into a microphone made of bubbles while I shower, but I do like to listen to podcasts. And up until now, I haven’t discovered a great way to do this. I’ve tried wrapping my iPhone up in a hand towel and perching it near the shower door, but even there, the volume is just too low. And I don’t want to bring in a dedicated pair of speakers, because they wouldn’t match the somewhat serene aesthetic I’m attempting to cultivate in my bathroom. I’ve even tried searching for a Bluetooth shower radio, but the options are pretty limited.
So I was genuinely curious when Kohler announced the Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker. Sure, it’s a little pricey at $199.99 (list), but it’s a high-quality showerhead with a removable Bluetooth speaker—it’s not the sort of impulse purchase you make on your way to the checkout counter. The showerhead itself works very well, and the Bluetooth speaker sounds excellent while you’re soaping up. The volume can be a touch low for certain podcasts, and the speaker doesn’t sound too impressive outside of the bathroom, but if you’re looking for the ultimate sound-in-the-shower setup, look no further.
Design and Setup
Kohler is well-known for making quality showerheads, so it should come as no surprise that the Moxie is well-designed and attractive. It measures 4.18 by 5 inches (HW), and comes in either a white or polished chrome finish. The sprayface is made of a white, soft silicone. It’s a simple design that should look good in most showers. The Moxie is a single-function showerhead, which means it only has one spray setting, and comes in either 2.0 or 2.5 gpm models. You can’t buy the showerhead alone, but a similar showerhead from Kohler will cost you around $75. I’m not sure why you’d buy the speaker alone, but if you’re inclined, it costs $129.
The speaker itself is a 1.5-watt detachable Bluetooth device made of the same white silicone as the sprayface. It has a magnetic design, and pops in and out of the showerhead for easy recharging via the included USB cable. Kohler rates battery life at up to seven hours. If you’re at all like me, that should give you about a week’s worth of battery life, but then again, I’ve been told I take “forever” to get ready, so you may get even more mileage out of it.
Installing the Moxie was simple. I used a wrench to twist off my old showerhead, then wrapped some Teflon tape around the base of the shower arm to prevent any leakage. I screwed the Moxie on by hand, tightened it up with the wrench, and was good to go.
Pairing the speaker via Bluetooth is just as simple. There’s just a single button on the front of the speaker, which you must press and hold down to activate pairing mode. Then you can pair it with the Bluetooth device of your choice. For this review, I paired the Moxie with an Apple iPhone 4S, an HTC Droid DNA, and an iMac.
Performance and Conclusions
Prior to installing the Moxie, I had been using a similar showerhead from Kohler, so it wasn’t much of a change for me. Then again, I use a similar showerhead because I’m very happy with the performance. There’s plenty of spray coverage, with 60 angled nozzles along the perimeter of the showerhead. There’s just the right amount of force, too; there’s some power there, but it’s mostly gentle.
Audio performance varies from very good to just okay, depending on where you use the speaker and to what you’re listening. In the shower, with the water running and the music at top volume, the Moxie sounds great. Volume is sufficiently loud, and audio sounds crisp and clear. And even with the volume turned all the way up there is no distortion.
When you take the speaker out of the shower, however, it doesn’t measure up quite as well. Compared with the $100 Logitech UE Mobile Boombox, the Moxie sounds treble-heavy, with very little emphasis on the low-end. The Logitech UE has a richer, fuller sound, thanks to much better bass response, and can really fill up a room with sound.
My biggest issue with the speaker is that it doesn’t have any controls for volume—you need to use the connected device for that. But it’s hard to tell how loud you’ll need to pump up the volume on the Moxie to hear it properly once you get into the shower. I set it too high and too low just as often as I got it just right. And if you’re unhappy with the volume once you get into the shower, there’s no good way to change it—unless you have a waterproof phone, that is.
Another issue is volume itself. The Moxie gets very loud—definitely loud enough to listen to all of your music. But for a few podcasts I listen to, like NPR’s Fresh Air, I had a difficult time hearing the conversation above the spray of the water, even with the volume set to max.
Range is the standard 30 feet, and I had no trouble connecting to the speaker from anywhere in my apartment. Additionally, since the Moxie is detachable, you can use it in other areas where you might want a waterproof speaker, like in the kitchen or on the beach.
Volume buttons and audio issues aside, I really like the Kohler Moxie Showerhead + Speaker. The attractive, streamlined design is certainly the most useful way to listen to music in the shower that I’ve encountered. If you don’t want a new showerhead, though, you might be better off buying a different dedicated Bluetooth speaker, like the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox or the Jawbone Jambox. Both of those sound better than the Moxie, and get you speakerphone functions as well. But you need to take precaution against getting them wet. So if you’re looking for a soundtrack to your morning shower, the Kohler Moxie is a good bet.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc