Amazon Review by
553 people found the following review helpful
Long Thorough Review for Regular People (and comparison to Oontz Plus) - with pictures and water test!
TEASER: theres a water test and picture included to test the IPX6 rating
WARNING: This review is lengthy and hopefully thorough for you to decide, but not overly technical. I initially wrote a lot about the first Oontz speaker I got, the Angle 3 Plus, and thank everyone for all the positive feedback and tons of upvotes. So Ill continue that format, and compare these 2 speakers in hopes it helps you.
Having really obviously loved that speaker, after having many pretty uninspiring Bluetooth speakers, I basically bought into the Oontz family of products. There are cheap and expensive BT speakers out there, some cheap ones are great for the money, and some expensive ones really fall short based on cost and are likely riding on the brand name. To me, Oontz is the perfect value for money ratio (Im a nerd who does research, gives quantitative ratings to the attributes I like, and then create a value ratio )
Im no audio-professional, in fact I work in the beauty / cosmetics business, in brand management (marketing), so I know lipstick on a pig and plain old marketing fluff when I see it (sometimes). This company definitely passes the no-marketing-hype test. Its an American company (that matters to me, maybe not to others), and seem to be putting their dollars into good products instead of advertising.
Like you, I love music, but 80% of the time I’m listening passively, not studying the entire soundstage. After comparing this speaker to the Oontz Plus, this one is better for both passive and active listening. Its performing well across an array of music styles: I listen to classic country, synthpop, britpop, industrial, lots of classical, 80s, indie, and because of the kids, way too much kids stuff (Moana & Frozen anyone?).
- Basic cardboard, but well protected. No fancy wrappings and tchotchkes. And thats what I want to see. It doesnt feel like youre opening a gift, which means you didnt pay for all the unnecessary stuff.
- The feel: just like the Angle Plus. Solid, rubberized sides. It feels just barely heavier than the previous Angle Plus. My Plus was taken camping, beach, picnics, and thrown by my kids during tantrums and play, and survived with barely a scratch, and I suspect this Ultra is the same solid quality.
- Comes with your standard micro-USB cable and 3.5mm male to male cable. Works, but I use my personal aux cable as I think its better.
- OH @#$&*!! This nearly looks/feels identical to the Angle Plus. Did I just get suckered into buying a higher priced twin!? I got worried. But then I put them side by side, hit ‘play’, and happiness ensued.
- Nothing to say. If youve paired anything in your life, thats it. Super simple. I paired to an iphone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S6 with zero delay/issue, and no disconnections within regular stated ranges (100 feet).
CONTROL / RANGE
- MUCH improved controls over the Angle Plus! You can see from my pictures (Plus on left, Ultra on right) that the Plus had harder to see buttons, and an even harder (nearly impossibly frustrating) small and hard to see power and Bluetooth light. In my picture you can actually see the Pluss lights b/c of some camera auto-adjustment, but in real life it sucked. The Ultra is clear and bright. This may be an issue for some if they keep it on their night-stand at night. Also, the Ultra now has dedicated volume and skip buttons, whereas the Plus didnt. Also, while Im not blind, I like that the Ultra has higher raised symbols so I can just feel for them, versus the relatively flat buttons of the Plus. This actually is very useful I find when lighting is low, so its easier to see the buttons.
- The usb and 3.5mm jack are on the back, and are slightly recessed. Please note this if you are thinking of getting an “L” angle 3.5mm jack as I was, since it may not fully plug in.
- The access door to the jack and usb is even improved on the Ultra vs the Plus. On the Ultra it seems theres a metal insert in the flap, making it nice and rigid and easier to open/close, whereas on the Plus it was just a piece of rubber. See the attention to detail these Oontz folks have?!
- As for range, I live in a prewar building, very solid walls that are great except when you want wifi or bluetooth to travel. I was able to effectively control the speaker from a phone at least 30 feet away and with 3 corners in between (i.e. around the hallways and through bedrooms). Controls still worked but sound started skipping at about 40 feet. This is really impressive given my stupidly thick walls. Same performance as the Plus in my opinion.
- Ok Ill say more than that. The ultra is 4W more than the Plus, thus 14 total. If you dont really know what that translates to in performance, neither did I. Yes I did the math and figured well its X% more watts. But not until hearing it did I realize that it actually sounds much better than the percentage would convey!
- The main thing that jumps out is just how much bass this has! Im far from a bass-head, and in fact usually listen via great studio monitor over-ear headphones known for a very wide flat soundstage. But holy moly this was fun! The bass however didnt muddy up the rest of the range. Yes the mids/highs were a little compromised to my ears, but not drowned out. Music compared to the Plus just sounded richer, yummier, more chocolatey (without the calories).
- I noticed the pads on the bottom are more spongey like theyre air-cushioned. Maybe my other speakers pads just got old, but this seems like an improvement especially given the heavy bass, it may keep it from dancing around while on a hard surface. Also, you can stand the speaker up for narrower spaces.
- ProTip: Use your EQs!! Many people forget their computers, phones, Spotify, whatever have equalizers so that they can actually adjust the levels. So when Im not in the mood for all that bass, I can turn it down (like for the 4783rd playing of How Far Ill Go from the Moana soundtrack)
- A flaw! I thought! With this bass, its going to be horrible if I turn up the volume. So first I turned up the Plusand it indeed just got a bit more distorted. My wife turned and gave me a dirty look like turn it off. Then I turned up the Ultra and she literally started dancing (Beastie Boys Intergalactic if youre interested). At max volume it was surprisingly still clear, and darned loud!
- I really love (loved?) the Plus, but this Ultra is way beyond the Plus.
- Was very audible through my house.granted I live in NYC in a 1500sq ft pre-war, so it may not fill your place up if you have a normal sized American house. See, theres an upside to living in little NYC apartments.only 1 speaker needed!
WATERPROOF-NESS, USES, AND IDEAS:
- The size of this, and its features make it pretty versatile! (see measurement photo)
- I connected it to my Echo Tap (the kids are keeping the Plus, Im taking the Ultra) and it’s great! Clearly MUCH better quality than I get from my full-size Echo’s speaker. Just be sure to keep it a few feet away from your Echo, and away from the wall a bit, or your Echo won’t hear you very well due to interference and the echo bouncing off the wall.
- IPX6: what does it mean? Well I think this is really important to understand before you take it scuba diving. The first number is for particles (dust, sand) and the second for water. An X just means it wasn’t tested, not that it doesn’t have any protection from dust/sand. The 6 means it withstands water jets, or to quote the IP standard: Powerful water jets (12.5 mm nozzle) projected against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes. My basic version of the test as shown in the picture was to hold it under my faucet for a few minutes. Yes it still works! While I dont plan on holding it while I shower, its nice to know that it can get splashed on while by a pool/lake, or more likely the kids spilling water on it.
THINGS I HAVENT TESTED
- Battery life: have not yet let it drain, but Oontz states 20hrs. I used my plus (rated at 30hrs) on camping trips without having to recharge, so I believe them.
- Dual Speaker Mode: apparently you can pair this with a 2nd Ultra speaker. I only have this one, so havent verified.
- Phone Calls: I know it can be done, but I never use a BT speaker because, well, kids.
- Great sound, but advise to use an EQ to customize to your tastes especially for highs or to tone down bass
- Loud, and clear even when loud
- Battery for days (I’ll update when it runs down)
- IPX6 water resistance
- Power and bluetooth lights that are brighter than before, but may brighten a bedroom if you sleep near it.
THE BAD - NONE! Ok, if i’m forced to pick something, I might like a battery level indicator so I know how much is left, but that’s really knit-picking.
Happy to answer any questions.