There are a lot of products we show off on Tools in Action and sometimes it’s really hard to say whether one drill is better than another or one saw is better. However with this radio, it’s a no brainer. When it comes to a Radio or whatever the kids are calling it now a days, no one compares or even comes close to the Bosch Power Box. If you desire quality sound for tough conditions and practical features, this Power Box is for you. We did a review of the Power Box PB360S back in 2012, we loved it then and love it now. In fact, that radio is still hanging tough.
Bosch Power Box Overview
If you’re not familiar with the Bosch Power Box, let me give you a quick rundown. This radio box is protected by a rubber, aluminium roll cage. So yes, it will with-stand pretty much any job site condition. As far as sound, Bosch did this right. Since this is a cube design, Bosch put 4 speakers on each top corner which means you can hear it in any direction on the job site. Under the cube is where they have a premium sub woofer. Hence that is why they call it the Power Box 360. It’s a powerful, tough box that sends sounds in 360 degree directions.
Around The Bosch Power Box
Besides this Power Box being a radio and media player, it is also a charger. When you have the unit plugged in, you can not only charge your Bosch batteries, but also your cell phone or other electronic devices such as an iPad. On the back of the radio is where you can insert your Bosch battery (18V or 14.4V slide packs). When you plug in the unit, it will automatically start to charge your battery or what ever is on the USB port. As soon as you unplug the box, it will kick right over to using the battery as a power source without any interruption. On the left side of the box is where you have your media bay. Inside the media bay is where you AUX or USB port is located. There is even more than enough room to store your AUX or USB cables when not in use. On the opposite side, is where you have the cord management. When you’re not using the power cord, you can store it here. There are also four outlets where you can plug stuff into. Now before you get too excited, the total max amp is 10 Amp. At first I was a little disappointed because a 20 amp on each side would have been nice, but after I thought about it, it wouldn’t make sense.
On the front of the box is where all the magic happens. Bosch uses a nice blue LCD screen to show your station or other information. Even this screen is protected by two metal bars. Just below the screen is the power on/off button. You will notice two knobs which control volume, tuning and are used to select how much bass or treble you desire. In between the knobs are four buttons. One for EQ (There are four preset EQ settings), your custom button, memory and clock. Below all that is a blue light to indicate your Bluetooth connectivity. The next set of five buttons deal with your music playing. You have a play/pause button, a pairing for your Bluetooth device, a seek/scan and also a source mode which just lets you pick if you want radio, Bluetooth or something else. The radio has 20 FM and 10 AM presets which are kept in place even when the radio is off by using the two provided 2 AA batteries.
In regards to radio reception, Bosch attached a pivot antenna. One thing I have noticed about all the radios we have tested, the reception isn’t good. However Bosch seemed to figure this one out because this is the only radio that I get my favorite stations with no static. The other radios always give me static, but not with this. The other note is when I am charging a battery, I don’t get any whining noise like I have seen with other radios.
As a side note this comes with a one year warranty and as you probably would expect, the unit has a weather and dust resistant design. As for weight, this Power Box weighs 24 lbs, but it surely doesn’t feel like it. They have a carrying handle on the top or you can just grab any part of the aluminium protective cage points to carry it around.
Bluetooth and the Bosch App
While everything I already pointed out is what makes this really shine, there is even more that puts this on top of an already great system. First is the Bluetooth capability. You already know it has Bluetooth, but did you know it has a range of 150′. That’s pretty awesome. Okay now on to something that I haven’t seen on a radio before, but it makes all the sense in the world, it’s an App. Yes, Bosch has a specific app for this radio which makes it even more user friendly. If you have ever downloaded any of their many apps, you know whoever is in their app development group, they are truly the best designers out there. While Bosch is known for their tools and accessories, they just always make awesome apps. These aren’t just apps that are thrown together, they are thought out and planned out. They all have a nice layout with easy to use and practical functions. You can download this app for IOS or Android and yes it’s free. So what will this app do?
The first obvious thing is control your music. The music library is where you can pick your songs. When you do click this button, you will leave the app. I do wish they were in this app, but I am sure it would eat up memory or some other reason they don’t do that. Next is the announcement button. How cool is this? You can record a message on your phone and play it through your speakers. Not sure exactly what that would be used for, but it’s pretty cool you can do that. Okay, the next cool item is the alarm. Besides the Music Library, the alarm is the next most important item on the app. You can set an alarm to let you know it’s break time, time to go home or any time you want. The next button is streaming. Here you can pretty much stream anything you want. They have preloaded services such as Pandora, YouTube and a bunch of others. Again, this will take you to that app. The other two are for Bosch Toolbox and to select your audio device. If you haven’t seen or used Bosch Toolbox, I would suggest downloading it and giving it a shot. While I wish you could do more inside the app instead of just opening another program, the app is pretty cool.
I am sure I sound like a broken record, but I really don’t care. If you want the one radio system that stands above everyone else, it’s the Bosch Power Box. This thing is tough, the sound is great and the features are awesome. I don’t care if you’re on the Job site, camping, tailgating or just hanging out in the yard, this system stands by itself.