With mobile technology like laptops focussed on becoming as thin as possible, a lot of devices have to sacrifice physical features for lightness and thinness. While audio technology is getting better each year, it's still one of the weaker parts of any given laptop. It's because of this that portable speakers are as popular as they are right now, and the ONEmicro stereo speakers by ONEaudio claims to be capable of giving you a true "headphone-like" experience in a tiny package. Let's take a look and see if this set is all that was promised!
The ONEmicro set are made up of two tiny speakers of 62 x 52mm each in a 20mm body made of iron that are quite a bit heavier than you'd expect of a speaker this size, weighing in a total of 300 grams (10 ounces). Their size makes them easy to store in any bag without much of a problem, so taking them with you is easy as can be. ONEaudio boasts that the set will be able to play music for about 20 hours before you need to recharge them fully. This is definitely right on the mark, and with medium use the battery has yet to fail me. Once they do need to be charged, they can be fully recharged with a mini-USB cable in about 4 hours.
The speakers themselves have a 50mm driver that is, according to ONEaudio, able to produce "warm" and "clean" audio with superb bass. If you have more than one set of these speakers, you'll be able to link them up via a network of up to 16 ONEmicro speakers, which means that you could theoretically have one network of speakers playing music throughout your entire house. You can also turn 3 sets into a 5.1 surround system, bringing the home cinema experience to wherever you are.
The ONEmicro's most interesting feature is the DECT support. DECT is a technology used in things like cordless telephones and has a very low latency, which means your speakers will always be playing sound without lag, no matter where in your house you plant the speakers. DECT is supposed to be way more efficient than WiFi or Bluetooth is and synchronizes the sound perfectly. Post-release support will come in the form of firmware updates that can be installed by connecting the speakers to a PC with the USB cable included.
None to speak of. The set was sent to me from Japan wrapped in foil. No box or anything of the sort. This is most likely due to my version being a reference model and not the retail version, but I wanted to mention it regardless.
With its small design, round edges, and blue lights coming from a strip in the middle, it's definitely a pretty, and minimalist, device that won't clash with any sort of interior you might have in your home. The bottom of the speakers has a rubber layer over the metal casing, which means it's high-friction and won't move from wherever you put them, no matter how high the volume or how loud you've set the bass. A downside of this is that the bottom feels a little sticky and does attract dust, so they'll need to be cleaned occasionally to get rid of the dust that accumulates on it. When you get a set, you'll be able to choose between several color schemes: white, pink, apple green, and sky blue.
The speakers are easy enough to set up, but the problem is that the practical applications of these speakers are extremely limited by the speakers being DECT speakers. This means that you'll need to have a USB port handy for the dongle that comes with the speakers, or you can use the OTG USB cable (you'll need a lightning to USB converter if you've got an iPhone or iPad you wish to use with the ONEmicro) that comes to with the device to connect it to your phone, meaning you'll have to bring an extra set of cables if you want to use it with your smartphone. This brings us to the main problem with the ONEmicro set: audio quality.
For a set of speakers that is a rather hefty $199, the audio quality is really terrible for that price point. The speakers only barely outperform speakers that come built-in with most laptops and suffer pretty harsh and piercing highs on higher volumes, and flat mids with a bass response that is neither punchy nor particularly bassy. You can play around with some built-in audio presets (warm, natural, and clarity) but none of them make the audio particularly great. You'd expect a decent set of speakers for $199 dollars, but the only thing about this speaker that is even remotely deserving of the price is the great build quality and the attractive design.
And that's where the crux of the issue lies: the price point is simply way too high for what the speakers can do, and the upsides of having DECT over Bluetooth are relatively slim and oftentimes imperceptible to people who are not well-versed on how the tech works. I've seen some budget speakers that, even though the design isn't as sturdy or beautiful as the ONEmicro is, outperform this speaker set easily for half the price. The fact that it won't work with your phone means that you'll have to drag along a laptop or other cables for your smartphone with you wherever you go for relatively little auditory gain, at which point you're better off buying some wireless Bluetooth speakers for a cheaper price. These speakers are aggressively mediocre but priced at a premium, which is why I'm reluctant to recommend this to anyone who wants to splurge on some portable speakers. If you're one of those people, I suggest you look elsewhere or wait for the technology to catch up with your needs.
More information here.
The ONEmicro was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review.
While aesthetically pleasing with build quality to match, the nifty design can't make you forget its high price point and its average performance.(Review Policy)