The Bluetooth speaker market is literally exploding right now with options. While great for the consumer, this can sometimes make it difficult to know which option is the right option for you. For instance, while speakers are primarily designed to allow playback of audio, they now also come with a number of less speaker-traditional features. A prime example being the Oittm Wireless Bluetooth speaker. Not only does this one remotely connect to your Bluetooth-enabled device, but it also comes with built-in LED functionality and all for under $100…$59.99 to be exact.
The Oittm Bluetooth speaker offers an output of 8-watts per channel (2 x 8w), while the frequency response comes in at 60Hz to 20KHz and the Signal-to-Noise Ration is listed as >75dB. There is a 3,600 mAh battery included within the device, which is rated to offer between 5 and 8 hours of playback before needing to be recharged again. This is in addition to a listed recharge time of less than five hours. In terms of connectivity, the Oittm Bluetooth speaker makes use of Bluetooth 4.0 to establish a connection and also comes with a 3.5 mm AUX IN (jack) port for those who prefer to make use of a more direct connection. In terms of the physical properties, the Oittm Bluetooth speaker measures 11.1-inches by 3.3-inches by 3.2-inches and weighs in at 1.3 lbs.
In the box
The Oittm Bluetooth Speaker comes packaged in fairly typical and generic packaging, consisting of a highly-branded cardboard sleeve which further houses a generic cardboard inner box. Inside the box you will find the Oittm Bluetooth LED Speaker, along with a microUSB (to USB) charging cable, a 3.5 mm stereo audio cable, and a small user manual.
Design & Hardware
Nowadays there seems to be two clear standards when it comes to Bluetooth speaker designs. You can either expect a more box-like shape or a circular one with the latter option being the more common overall. Which is understandable, as the benefit (in theory) of a circular design is that sound can disperse in multiple directions (fairly) evenly. In terms of the Oittm Bluetooth speaker, this is a speaker which adopts the latter design, circular. However, that is where the similarities end with a number of the other circular options you will find, as the Oittm Bluetooth speaker is significantly longer and thinner than most others. On the positive side, this does mean that it is lighter and certainly more manageable as a portable speaker. It is easier to carry in terms of weight, but it also seems more naturally fitting in-hand. In short, it feels easier to carry. On the negative side, being so light and thin could raise some durability issues. While no particular issues were noted in this respect, it is still something to keep in mind as the design does means it is intricately more prone to damage if dropped - as it will likely not possess the weight or girth to impede trauma from an impact.
Beyond the circular presentation, much of the plastic outer casing makes use of a grilled effect. This is almost exclusively in use throughout the entirety of the speaker, barring a thin strip of plastic which runs vertically down to back. Presumably to provide additional support in steadying the speaker when placed on a flat surface and horizontally positioned.
Another aspect in which this speaker differs from the many of the 'norm' circular Bluetooth speakers is that there are no controls anywhere on the grilled section of the speaker. All controls, inputs, ports and/or otherwise are solely located on the two end caps. This does result in the speaker adopting a fairly discreet look overall. You essentially have to look closely at the speaker to find any of the controls. The top cap is where the primary controls are all located, as well as very small (comparatively speaking) level of company branding.
On the very tip of the cap, the controls are displayed in a circular fashion and span the entirety of the cap. Here you will find dedicated controls for play/pause, volume up and down, skip back and forward and a brightness control. Of course, brightness is not something you would typically find on a Bluetooth speaker, but this is is not your typical Bluetooth speaker due to the inclusion of a built-in LED light show. Interestingly, the brightness control does not actually control the brightness of the light show, but instead allows for cycling between the six pre-set patterns that are on offer. It is also worth pointing out that all controls are touch sensitive controls. The only exception being the power button which is a push switch button.
The bottom end is where you will find the power button, the microUSB charge port, the 3.5 mm audio port, while on the reverse side you will find a small pinhole microphone for hands-free calling.
Overall, the design of the Oittm Bluetooth speaker is one which in many ways differs from a majority of Bluetooth speakers, while in general making use of the commonly-encountered circular design. This does mean that this speaker does immediately carry its own identity which is something that is becoming harder to find in a largely crowded market. The circular shape allows for a fuller and more direction-varied output while the thin and sleekness of the speaker does result in a far-easier and lighter speaker to transport. The lack of controls on the main bulk of the speaker, the one color throughout and the generally minimum-level of branding also does mean that this speaker should be able to slot into most home decors fairly subtly and only make its presence known when you want it to be known. For those not so inclined towards the solid black, the speaker is also available in a solid silver color as well.
Sound Quality & Performance
Any speaker priced below $100 will immediately raise some alarm bells on the quality of the build or the sound. While this is a fair assumption to make, the Oittm Bluetooth speaker provides a surprisingly nice sound overall and especially for the price. The frequency range is a little limited and the bass end is where it does suffer the most. So if you are after a bass-heavy speaker, the range coupled with the thin physical design, does mean that this one is unlikely to be right for you. However, the mids and tops are fairly well defined which does contribute to the overall sound being one which is very nicely balanced. The output is not too far flung in either direction and neither the bass nor the tops are overpowered by the mids. It is a balanced sound, which will likely appeal to those looking for a speaker that does not require too much tweaking or messing with. Simply turn on, hit play and get a balanced output fed back to you.
In terms of the performance, again, there is nothing major to note with the Oittm Bluetooth speaker. One issue could be raised in relation to the performance circles around the bass and specifically when the speaker is resting in the horizontal position. Due to the thin design of the speaker, when the speaker is positioned flat, the volume is at maximum, and a bass track is being played, the thin layer of plastic which is used to sit the speaker down is not fully able to counteract the natural movement of the speaker. Which does mean that its vibrations do cause a bit of movement with the speaker, with the knock-on effect being a slight distortion to the sound. This was only noted when the speaker was in the horizontal position though, as when standing upright (presumably the intended positioning) there were no issues noted at all, irrespective of volume or music type. This was really the only issue noted with this speaker and it should be made clear this was really only a problem when intentionally trying to push the limits of the speaker. Using at a more general level of volume, the issue is less amplified and therefore, less noticeable.
Of course, one of the obvious added benefits of this particular Bluetooth speaker is that it comes with an LED light show attached and this is where you are really getting your value for money. There are already a few Bluetooth speaker options which offer this sort of functionality with the JBL Pulse 2 likely to be one of the most popular and well-known. Although in contrast, the JBL Pulse 2 is priced at a significantly higher point than the Oittm option. In fairness, the JBL option does offer more features (like the ability to control the light show from an app and greater levels of refinement of the LED patterns), but if that sort of additional functionality or customization is not what you are looking for, then this is easily an option worth the asking price.
The light show is only a preset light show which does mean that you do have to make use of the limited selection of patterns that are on offer. However, the patterns all do respond to the music with the speaker pulsing in sync to the music. In terms of the general performance of the LED action, there's very little to complain about here. This is one of the main selling points with this speaker and it does perform in this respect flawlessly. Likewise, there are zero issues with the LED light show over longer periods of time, with the LEDs able to maintain a consistent presentation and not showing any signs of the chip inside overheating or the LEDs lacking in their response time or brightness. It is worth pointing out that during these longer periods, the LEDs do warm up a little which means the speaker does give off a little bit of heat, but certainly no more than what would be expected from a product like this and when used over a lengthy period.
Overall, the performance of the Oittm Bluetooth speaker is excellent. You will find speakers which offer a similar level of functionality slightly cheaper but it is also likely their sound output will not be as good or the light show not as responsive. Likewise, you will certainly find options which offer greater levels of functionality and customization but at an elevated price. If you are after an affordable, well-performing Bluetooth speaker which also adds a little bit of flair to the proceedings, then this one will live up to the expectations in terms of performance.
Battery Life & Connectivity
Moving on to the other important Bluetooth speaker aspect, battery life. As speakers like this are not really designed to offer a level of usage while plugged directly into the wall socket, battery life should and will also be something that needs to be taken into consideration. In terms of the official paperwork, this Bluetooth speaker is listed as one which offers 5-8 hours of playback. Which in itself is a fairly wide scope to be dealing with. In testing, the lower five-hour figure does seem to be a much more accurate measurement to expect. In fact, even pushing towards that five hour marker did prove difficult at times with the speaker sometimes only reaching four hours of continuous playback, before needing to be recharged. Although, it is worth pointing out that battery testing was always conducted continuously at the highest volume output possible. So the four to five hour marker should be understood as the minimum you can expect in terms of battery life. Factors which will likely affect how much longer (beyond the tested time) will be genre and volume. Not to mention, making use of the 3.5 mm audio port for connecting (instead of Bluetooth) is also a factor which may result in the battery being able to endure longer levels of continuous playback. In terms of replenishing the battery when empty, this speaker is not the quickest. The paperwork suggests 'less than 5 hours' to recharge, although using the included microUSB charging cable and a standard Anker USB wall adapter, charge times were significantly better than the paperwork suggested, with a full battery typically taking about 2.5 to 3 hours to recharge. So while this is better than Oittm suggests and is somewhat in line with a number of other similar-level speakers, considering the battery life you receive back for that charge the ratio of charge time / level of usage is not as good as you will find elsewhere.
On a very positive note, there are zero issues with connectivity. The paperwork details Bluetooth 4.0 is what is used to establish a connection with the Oittm Bluetooth speaker and this does mean that you should expect to be able to make and maintain a reliable connection from as much as thirty three feet away from the target streaming device. During testing, this was considered to be a reliable gauge as the Oittm Bluetooth speaker was able to effectively, reliably and consistently maintain a connection to about 10 meters. Going beyond this distance, the connection did start to lose some of its potency, but that is to be expected and in line with the specifications.
Overall, the Oittm Bluetooth speaker is one which performs generally in line with expectations. It seems the battery life is a little more liberal than what the paperwork suggests, but in fairness the recharge time was also much better than the paperwork suggested. So while you might not get the longevity of playback on offer from some of the options out there, the time it takes to recharge and be good to go again with a full battery is fine. Battery life and charging aside, where the Oittm Bluetooth speaker does excel is is the level and quality of the connection. This is a speaker which you can expect to get a solid and consistent connection with - no drop offs and no drop outs.
When it comes to summing up the Oittm Bluetooth speaker, there are some clear takeaways to note. Firstly, this is a very solid-performing speaker. The overall sound quality, while not the best you can find, is surprisingly good and varied at especially at this price point. Just as importantly, the connection between the speaker and a Bluetooth-enabled device is extremely good. The one area where you could take issue with is that the battery is not the longest-lasting. However, it does last long enough for average daily use and will easily be fine for the majority of consumers. Which when you then factor in how affordable the price of this speaker is, it suddenly makes the speaker a fairly attractive purchase. This is of course, without actually taking into consideration the fact that the Oittm Bluetooth speaker comes loaded with its own LED light show. This alone, makes this particular speaker easily worth $59.99. Although, for a limited time you can save an additional 30% of the $59.99 by heading through the link below and using coupon code VDEBWRME - which brings the total cost down to 41.99