If you’ve been searching for an iPad speaker that has great sound, a compact size, and an affordable price tag, you may want to take a look at the OontZ and the OontZ Angle from speaker manufacturer Cambridge Soundworks.
You may remember our news announcement on the OontZ Angle, which promised the sound quality of Jawbone’s Jambox with less than half the cost, a prospect that had me intrigued as a longtime fan of the Jambox. I had the opportunity to test all of the above speakers, so read on to see how they compare and my thoughts on the OontZ product line.
Both the OontZ and the OontZ Angle are constructed from high quality materials that deliver excellent sound. It is clear that the precision drivers in both speakers have been carefully chosen to provide clear, crisp audio that sounds great with every song. The speakers each have a frequency response of 60Hz to 20kHz.
The original OontZ also includes a custom passive radiator for additional bass, and it is impressive. You can feel the thumping of the music when you hold the OontZ, and I found the sound quality for bass heavy songs to be downright fantastic for such a small speaker.
Each OontZ speaker connects quickly with Bluetooth enabled devices. I had no problem connecting my iPhone and my iPad – a simple press of the button and my devices were able to find the speakers.
Speaking of buttons, the buttons on the OontZ Angle can be found on the back of the device, so it is easy to access volume controls. The OontZ volume control buttons are on the side, which I found a bit harder to access.
Both speakers have on/off buttons, AUX IN connections, and a USB port on the back. AUX IN is handy if you have a device that is not Bluetooth compatible, and the USB port is used for charging. I was disappointed to find that neither speaker came with a wall charger – instead, these need to be charged through your computer.
Style and Design
While the original OontZ is shaped like a traditional speaker, the OontZ Angle has an ultra stylish triangular design that looks great on any surface from your office desk to your living room mantle. It has a sleek latticed front panel, much like the Jawbone Jambox.
Of course, the OontZ itself is no slouch. It may look traditional, but it’s well designed and still fits right in to any decor. Both speakers are tiny, weighing just 10 ounces for the OontZ and nine ounces for the OontZ Angle, and they will fit in the palm of your hand.
This diminutive size means these speakers can go anywhere. They fit perfectly in a purse or a backpack, so they’re a perfect addition to any beach party, camping trip, or day at the pool.
Though the OontZ speakers are small, they deliver impressive volume. I mentioned taking them to the beach or the pool, and they will perform well in any small, outdoor area. Both speakers were loud enough to be used successfully in my (sizable) backyard and they also output enough sound to fill an entire room.
I found that both speakers had great sound quality, but I preferred the OontZ to the OontZ Angle for many songs because it did better with music that had a lot of bass.
Though the OontZ Angle has less bass capability, it does have a superior battery life. I got a solid 11 plus hours with the OontZ, but the OontZ Angle kept on going long after that. The website officially says that both speakers come in at 10 hours of battery life, but I think you will find that the OontZ Angle exceeds that significantly, making it a better choice if you need longer lasting sound.
Both speakers charge via USB, and the OontZ Angle has a battery indicator on the bottom. I found that it could be difficult to tell when the devices were fully charged and to determine general battery level, though the flashing light on the front (and back for the Angle) is an indicator. In the manual, it states that the speakers must be charged in the ON position, which is a bit inconvenient to have to remember each time, but those are some of my only complaints about the speakers.
In addition to using the OontZ and the OontZ Angle to play music, you can also use them as personal speakerphones if you have a compatible smartphone (like the iPhone). If your phone is connected to the speaker and a call comes in, your music will pause, allowing you to take the call. You can talk through the built-in mic and listen to the person on the other end through the speakers, which worked well when I tested it.
When the call is finished, your music will resume. This process went flawlessly for me over several test phone calls, and I was impressed with the clarity of the calls.
Cambridge Soundworks claims that the OontZ and the OontZ Angle deliver sound that bests its competitors, such as the Jawbone Jambox. I own a Jambox, so I tested all three speakers with the same music.
The sound quality of the Jambox and the original Oontz were virtually indistinguishable. They sounded almost entirely identical to me after testing several songs, and I have to say that the Oontz might even be a bit louder overall.
I did notice a difference in quality with the OontZ Angle, the Oontz and the Jambox. The latter two speakers both had better bass, and the OontZ Angle, though it does have quality sound, was almost tinny in comparison.
Style wise, the OontZ Angle mimics the look of the Jambox’s latticed front, but it is smaller overall than the Jambox.
I will admit, while I like the style of the OontZ Angle and the OontZ, I do prefer the look of the Jambox. My Jambox is in white and silver to match the rest of my Apple devices, and you cant beat the slick style and array of colors.
There is one other aspect where the Jambox really shines, and that is during charging and connecting. The Jambox, unlike the OontZ and the OontZ Angle, uses voice commands to tell you when it is charging, when it is fully charged, when it needs to be charged, and when it has connected to a device, which is handy.
The OontZ speakers do not have that functionality, but in the end, it may not be worth paying a huge premium for a fancy color and vocal notifications.
The OontZ and the OontZ Angle are both quality speakers. I was not expecting the sound quality that they delivered, simply because of the low price tag.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in style, portability, and battery life, the OontZ Angle is the perfect speaker for you.
If you need booming sound and high quality bass in a small package, go for the original OontZ.
I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with either, especially since they’re priced at just $69.99 each. That’s less than half of the price of the Jambox, for essentially the same audio quality.