Here I have something a bit different to what you may have seen me review before, as this time I am reviewing a little speaker from the company OTONE.
Featureing USB or battery powered for portability, Volume Control with On/Standby, Modular design for flexibility and a USB Audio interface the OTONE comes with a rather attractive price tag.
What can you expect from something that I’m sure not many of you have heard of before?
Well to find out the answer to that and any other questions you may have to please read on.
The10 Second Review:
Product: OTONE Aporto speaker
Price: £34.99 from OTONE direct
Summary: An absolutely superb little set of speakers that gives you more than you pay for, with really crisp audio from almost any device with an aux slot.
Best of: Great sound quality, lovely design, lightweight/portable, price
Worst of: No LCD display, no remote, would be nice to have the option of Bluetooth audio too.
Buy from: www.otoneaudio.co.uk
What’s in the box:
- OTONE Speaker
- Carry pouch
- Retractable USB cable
- Retractable auxiliary cable
So when I was asked to review this little speaker I understandably jumped at the chance due to the fact that I listen to music every day for maybe a couple of hours during my chill out time. In my bedroom I currently have a superb Sony docking station so I was initially intrigued to see how a budget portable speaker would perform against it.
As I usually do though I would like to mention the build quality and design of the product to give you an idea of what you would be paying for if you decided to take the plunge with this.
Build quality for such a device is essential to it selling well these days because people who purchase portable speakers are usually on the move a lot of the time and are likely to be transporting them so they have to be rugged enough to cope. The question is of course ‘Is it rugged enough to withstand the pressures of everyday life?’ The answer is both yes and no. I am afraid to say that some parts of the build are really flimsy and could easily break at any time depending on how much you use it and how you use it.
What I mean by that is that the OTONE Aporto has two detachable speakers that you can pull away from the control unit, but as this isn’t a wireless speaker it has in my opinion stupidly flimsy cables attached to them. I found myself being overly careful when separating the speakers so that I didn’t damage the cables at all! On a lighter note though the build quality when the speakers are attached is really quite good. It is made from strong plastics and is definitely rugged enough for everyday usage, but obviously there has to be a degree of sensibility involved with using this speaker set as it is plastic after all and as we know well plastics are breakable. Overall though the build quality is mixed but good enough considering the price point so I wouldn’t be too disappointed.
As for the design I have one word, Beautiful! That may seem a little over the top for some of you but I am a big fan of shiny products (until you get fingerprints all over them!) The OTONE is made from shiny plastics which also have lovely curved edges all over it. This makes the device just look really nice when it’s sat on a desk with its stand. Also, although I mentioned that the build quality of the cables used for the speakers when detached, it is an awesome design feature that I haven’t seen at all before. It makes listening to music that little bit better too as you can separate the speakers in such a way that it spreads the sound further around the room. Overall I’ve been really quite impressed with the design, so thumbs up OTONE.
Now we move onto what speakers are all about and of course I am referring to the sound quality.
During my time with the OTONE I tested a lot of devices to see if the sound quality changed depending on the audio device used. The thing that I found though is that the quality didn’t deteriorate whatsoever when I used different devices, and below is the list of devices that I used:
. iPhone 4S
. iPhone 4
. HTC Explorer
. HTC Flyer
. iPad 2
. Blackberry 9780
. Blackberry 9360
So as you can see I used quite a variety of devices both from the higher end of the market and the lower, and the sound from all devices was pretty incredible considering the ridiculously low price of £34.99. The only thing that I found when listening to content though was the lack of bass but to be honest I fully expected that. But it really doesn’t take away from the quality of sound that this little speaker produces.
One thing that I would like to mention is that the playback is only possible via Auxiliary input, which for some people could be the reason that they don’t buy this, but for others they may not be bothered. From a personal point of view I would have liked to see Bluetooth as an option because with the sound quality being quite good I would like not to have to leave my phone on the other side of the room when listening to music. For that reason I was a little disappointed really, plus there’s the fact that there are going to be at least 2-3 cables lying around the place when using the speaker, so that again for some people could be a bad point.
Another slightly negative point now I’m afraid. There are two ways to power the speaker, one is by 4 AAA batteries, which is brilliant for the portability of the device but the most annoying of the two ways is you have to use either the provided MicroUSB cable or you can also use your own. What this means is that you have to power another device to be able to use the OTONE Speaker, which isn’t awesome and it’s also not a very economical product by any means then. It should definitely have a mains plug rather than usb as it is slightly inconvenient to say the least.
As the title suggests this was only a quick review, as there isn’t really much to review for such a device but hopefully I’ve covered everything that you need to know. If I haven’t done that then please feel free to let me know.
Overall I have really enjoyed using the OTONE Aporto because it was a nice change to plugging my iPhone into the docking station and it meant that I could listen to my music or Podcasts anywhere I liked.
If you love music and don’t currently have a speaker system and just want something that will give you super sound quality, looks very cool and is super cheap then I would recommend going for this every day of the week. (Don’t take that literally and buy one everyday!)
Thanks for reading and I’ll be back soon with more reviews.
Reviewed by: Chris