The sign of a true innovation is that you can’t really imagine life without it. Think about stretchy boardshorts. Once you’ve experienced the rash free wonder and that snug, stretchy comfort, you just can’t imagine surfing in anything else. You’re basically ruined. Goodbye old world. Hello rash-free gooch. The humble leash. A wetsuit. Beer. These were all once brand spanking new “inventions” but now they are simply de rigueur. (Fancy talk for “absolutely necessary”).
Little did we know, 8 months ago when the package first arrived from Nixon, in it’s own nifty Pelican case container to boot, that it would herald a bonafide “innovation”. We’re talking here about the Nixon Blaster. A hardy little rubberised brick that wirelessly channels all the sound from your blue-tooth enabled phone, tablet or laptop and pumps it into the atmosphere at impressive decibelage.
Designed by people who know what we get up to, the Blaster is really hardy, it’s also practically waterproof. And we’re not talking about a bit of drizzle here. You could still be rocking Katy Perry’s “Eye of the Tiger” while crying and cycling languidly in the rain. Tough?! Let’s just say, hypothetically speaking, you’re using it to listen to your favourite James Blunt album, (All The Lost Souls, obviously) while semi-legally painting a mural on a slab of concrete that, strictly speaking, belongs to the municipality and you have to throw it over a fence to free up both hands for your getaway, because the security goons are closing in. Well your Nixon Blaster will be fine. Your ankles may not. Just don’t forget to scoop it up as you run / hobble to freedom. This device will seem out of place in a security hut, but would be just as appreciated, if not a little bit more…
Auxillery and USB ports can be found at either end of the Blaster.
And if you’re into analog vibes, you can simply plug it directly into your phone / tablet / laptop and save the batteries on both machines, not that the Blaster needs it, considering that it can run for more than 12 hours straight before you have to re-charge.
If we had to find fault, and yes we must say something mean, so it seems like we’re fair and balanced and objective, oh brave surf consumer we’re on your side. So what’s wrong with the Blaster? Well the Bluetooth range is a little limited and at top volume it doesn’t make your nostrils vibrate and ears bleed – but we reckon those are battery longevity trade offs. It’s not like the machine is hobbled by these problems. It still fills the room with sound and if you pump it in your garden your neighbour will tell you to shut it off. Hands down the worst thing about the Blaster is the annoying Southern Californian surf dude who says shit like, “let’s connect” when you hit the Bluetooth button, or “see you later!” when you turn it off. I’m serious, instead of a functional bleep or bloop, the Nixon Blaster channels a Californian drug addict. The explosion noise that happens when you turn it on is pretty cool.
So why did it take 8 long months for us to review it? Well, uh, um, we test things thoroughly here at Zigzag. Since receipt, the Nixon Blaster has been on two international surf trips – serenading the troops in their hammocks strung between the idyllic palm trees of Indonesia and rolling in the deep, on a boat in Southern Madagascar, where it drowned the steady monotonous duk-duk of the diesel engines with a feast of Hollywood’s latest torrents and sketchy surfer girlfriend’s playlists. Will.I.Am not. Beyond that the thing has been used as the speaker of choice for almost every magazine deadline (much to our shock and disappointment, design-monkey Mark has been caught pumping loud RnB through the Blaster late nights when he thought he was alone) and countless braais in the backyard. An exemplary record of unfaltering service. In fact, the Nixon Blaster has become so central to our very existence here at the Zag it has even replaced my car stereo. True story.
Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Supported Codecs: AAC, apt-X
Wireless Range: 10m (33 ft)
Output Power: 3W RMS x 2
Frequency Response: 80 – 20,000 Hz
Charging Input: DC 5V 500mA, DC 5V 1A
Dimensions: 21.85 x 9.5 x 4.5 cm
ABOUT THE ZAG REVIEW:
The Zag Review is an independent editorial feature on surfing hard goods, ranging the full spectrum from boards and wetsuits to tide watches and travel bags. None of the reviews are paid for by advertisers or part of an advertising deal, and we retain the right to give honest, critical feedback that is in the interest of our readers. The product is reviewed by Zag staff and everyday surfers who rip, not pros who are paid to endorse the goods. We test the gear for a minimum period of two weeks (and a month for boards) to give you comprehensive feedback for the surfing layman. We know that surfboards are not a “one size fits all solution” and different surfers prefer different aspects on a board according to how they surf, even if they are the same weight and height. In the case of surfboard reviews, we’ve made sure to seek feedback from at least three different surfers to get well-rounded input.
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