The Kygo B9 / 800 is the first portable smart speaker on our test bench. The battery should last for eight consecutive hours, and the speaker has both Bluetooth for mobile connection and Wi-Fi to connect to the Google Home system. For outdoor use, it benefits from being waterproof (IPX7), and can be soaked to a depth of one meter for up to 30 consecutive minutes. To achieve this, it is clad in rubber, which seals tightly around the speaker. Which in turn means that one has to make powerful EQ adjustment with digital processing (DSP), so that it does not sound completely confined.
Two speakers can be connected in stereo, and the speaker works just as well as any other Google speaker. “Hey, Google, vacuum!” Since it goes into sleep mode after a long time without power, it should in practice be connected to the socket at home. Then it is stupid that the charging socket is on top, because it is not a nice view of the bedside table, with the cable sticking up from the top. You can lay it horizontally, but it works best standing up.
The voice assistant sounds clear, much more so than with Google’s own Home speaker. But getting the harmonics through a layer of rubber requires a lot of processing, and creates a lot of distortion. The treble does not get exactly dissolved and airy, more forward and sharp. There’s not much bass to talk about here either, and it sounds a bit strained in the long run.
If you want a Google speaker that is both portable and waterproof (and floats!), Then the Kygo B9 / 800 is a safe purchase, with ok sound. If not here’s a new product just for you! Conversely, there are better portable speakers out there, if you do not need the Google functionality. You can easily alternatively spend NOK 600 on a Google Home Mini, and the rest of the budget on an even better portable speaker.