Car Advice

REVIEW: RIVA Turbo X speaker

Portable speaker with hands-free calling

By Nick Watkins Published

review | speaker | products | audio | RIVA


IF you’re planning a camping trip this summer or even heading over to France for Euro 2016, the chances are you’ll need some tunes to liven the party.

We tested the new RIVA Turbo X Bluetooth speaker, which has finally hit the UK.

RRP at time of test: £299.99

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Installation ★★☆☆☆

It’s a portable speaker so you don’t need to install it as such but to get started you charge it up from the mains and the green LED light signals it’s full of juice and ready to use. For a portable speaker, it's pretty heavy and is best suited for use outside your motor as it's too large to sit anywhere on your dashboard. With a passenger in the car, we found the best place to put it was the back seat, where it worked fine.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

The Turbo X is a clever bit of kit and will search (and find) your device as soon as you turn Bluetooth on, then you just need to pair it like you would any other device. That’s done by holding down the Bluetooth icon button, a blue light will flash during pairing and a solid light once complete. That’s the hardest part, once that’s done it’s all very straight forward, especially with the mobile app (see below).


Functions ★★★★☆

What separates the Turbo X from other speakers is it’s compatibility with the RIVA Ground Control app, which allows you to control the volume, song, battery life, etc, from your smartphone.  You can also make and receive calls from the unit, making it great for hands-free driving if your car-stereo doesn’t offer that function (my 2003 Ford Focus doesn't for example). Calls are accepted and ended by the touch of a button on the top of the unit. Another handy function of the Turbo X is the mobile charging, done via the USB port in the back.

Video/audio quality ★★★★★

The audio is excellent, and most importantly when driving, the hands-free calling was crystal clear, thanks largely to the echo-cancelling microphone. Even with the unit on the back seat there was no need to shout. There are different modes for sound output too; Trillium Surround, which enhances films/TV/video gaming sounds but isn’t really used to its full potential when it’s hooked up to your phone in your car - same applies to the Turbo mode. It’s great, but if anything, it’s too loud for use in a vehicle. If you’re using it outside however, it’s ideal.  Also, RIVA say the battery will last over 26 hours, we had it on for three and it showed no signs of running out.


The RIVA Turbo X is an impressive speaker, no doubt. The weight of the unit is justified by the quality of the sound output. However, if you’re buying it purely as a hands-free driving device, it’s too big (unless you have it on the passenger/back seat or out the way on the parcel shelf), unlike the JBL Trip, which hooks neatly on to your sun visor. That said, the sound quality is top-notch and the app is an extra bonus. So if you are planning  a road trip with friends this will certainly liven the party.

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