Technology amazes me. When I was growing up, you practically had to have the largest boom box on the planet in order to experience the rich, full sound of music in the comfort of an expansive living room … and I’m not necessarily speaking about having to crank up the volume. I’m just saying that if you didn’t have a pretty solid stereo system that could provide you with some quality sound then you were limited on your options.
The emergence of MP3 players with the ability to play sound out of a small speaker was certainly one of the greater technological improvements benefitting the greater music industry. Those first models were admittedly not all that grand – the speakers were pretty small, and the music sounded mostly ‘tinny’ (or ‘canned’ as some professionals say), and, while the appearance of sound output jacks and separate speakers was a marked improvement, I remained still never all that impressed with what sufficed for full body acoustics on such little instruments.
Now – as technology continues its inevitable march forward – music lovers are finally able to utilize the magic of Bluetooth broadcast tech with some small speakers that don’t require additional cords, actually produce a respectable level of volume, and resonate quite wonderfully with our learned ears. Such – I’m happy to report – is the case with OXA’s Mini Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. I’ve had the welcome opportunity to play with one of these recently, and I’m pleased to share with you my experiences.
As I’m no technical wizard, I do have to rely on manuals often times to understand how to use them, which brings me to my first and really only negligible strike against OXA’s model: the provided operator’s manual is printed in about Barbie-doll dream size. It’s a small pamphlet only a few inches square, and I couldn’t read it with my naked eye. As a lover of gadgets, I pulled out my lighted magnifier only to discover that I still experienced some difficulty reading the teeny-tiny type – it also relates to an eye condition – so I chucked it aside in frustration. (Gotta be honest, and that’s not a plus, OXA.)
However, because I have some experiencing operating similar devices, I reached for my iPhone and, accessing the Bluetooth functionality, I was able to locate this speaker once it was fully charged and prepped for use. It popped up right away, but I did notice that the further away I walked from it (with my phone in tow) that it dropped off relatively quickly. OXA’s adverts indicate they’ve been able to test it successfully up to 30 feet away, but I got about 15 feet away and noticed it dropped off then return then drop off again from identification. I suppose if you had a straight line-of-sight between the two devices perhaps it would’ve behaved better, but I’m a stickled for trying a few variances from the norm. (This share this not as a negative but largely to stress the unit’s operating capabilities from a relative novice.)
What did please me, nonetheless, was the sound quality of the speaker. Once I queued up a playlist on the phone and just let it go, I was amazed at the richness and fullness of the selections. Indeed, we’ve come a long way from the reliance on essentially AM radio level output (kids, you have absolutely no idea how good you have it today, and that comes from a guy who came of age in the 70’s). Granted, you’re never going to be able to match the lushness of a high-end equalizer, but because most smartphones award users with the nominal ability to tinker with settings, OXA’s Bluetooth Speaker is leaps and bounds ahead of the kind instrument I had in my youth.
Given the fact that it’s a rechargeable unit, it’s immeasurably portable (I’ve trucked it to every room of my house to test, but, again, while the adverts indicate up to a 30 feet viability between the two units I’m just not seeing that expanse working – at best 20 feet). Plus – though I’ve not had the occasion to use or test them as of yet – there’s an aux jack as well as a media slot to offer even greater flexibility to those of us who like our sound and wish to take it with us.
Hats off, OXA. This is a truly great product. I’d strongly encourage some greater testing OR the increase the range of use, and I’d practically demand a better user’s manual. (Seriously, I’m probably the only guy on the planet who still uses them, but I am who I am.) Otherwise, this nifty little machine is a winner!
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at OXA provided me with a sample product after contacting me via social media for the purposes of penning this review; the providing of said product in no way, shape, or form has influenced my estimation.
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