Divoom Onbeat-200 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Divoom, based out of Hong Kong, sells a variety of portable audio devices. Their devices differ in product shape, color, and price, but offer portability, Bluetooth compatibility and rechargeable batteries, which means they’re good companions for your iOS devices. I tested the Onbeat-200, one of Divoom’s more expensive products, with a US$79.90 list price.

First, let’s talk about packaging. The Onbeat-200 comes securely packed in a two part plastic box with a handle. The clear top box houses the speaker. A second black box into which the upper box fits includes a small instruction book in seven languages, a Micro to USB charging cable, an auxiliary audio cable, and wrist strap in a resealable zip-lock bag. While all this plastic may not be environmentally sound, I do appreciate that all the pieces fit together in such a way that I can store my OnBeat-200 safely on a shelf with all its pieces.

Second, let’s look at the form factor. The Onbeat-200 won’t win any design awards. It is just a rectangle, covered in some plastic material with a wave design on the sides. While the press release claims it is only 3-inches, the dimensions are actually 6.5″ long, 2″ wide and 1.5″ deep. Available in red, blue, black, or silver (gray), it comes with a user-installable handstrap that seems barely up to the task to carry this one-lb system. The speaker feels heavier though, and I doubt anyone would find the strap comfortable to use. It is too bulky to fit in a pocket, but fine for a purse, backpack, or shoulder bag.

Now, let’s look at how the speaker functions. The controls for charging and pairing are recessed on one end. A tiny flashing red light next to the mini-USB port indicates when the Onbeat-200 is charging. The light disappears when it is fully charged. It comes back on again as a blue light to signal that the Onbeat-200 is paired to your device of choice. You must use the power switch to turn it off after turning off your iOS device, it does not power off automatically.

The volume controls (+ or -) and square stop button sit on the top of the device, as you can see in the product photograph below. The 1200mAh rechargeable battery took surprising little time to charge initially. A full charge should last between six and eight hours. I could not determine how many years the batter might last, nor if it is replaceable.

Divoom Onbeat200 Bluetooth Speaker up close

Upon pairing it with my iPhone and engaging a playlist, the speaker came on at full blast. I keep my iPhone volume turned up, because I always use the speaker phone. The volume that exploded out of the Onbeat was ear splitting, not to mention it probably woke everyone in my apartment building. I had to use the iPhone to reduce the volume, because the volume controls did not react fast enough. The minus (-) button did lower the volume once I figured out how hard to press it. When I pressed the plus (+) button to turn up the speaker, it replied with an electronic beep and did absolutely nothing, which I realized meant that the Onbeat was at maximum volume. When I pressed and held the button it skipped to the next song, which it did a few times when I wanted to increase the volume. Thank you very much. I did not have much luck controlling the volume with the button on the top of the speaker, so controlled it with the volume via my iPhone more often than not. Even a small movement of the iPhone’s volume yielded a significant difference in volume in the Onbeat-200.

The Onbeat-200 showed up twice when I paired it with my iMac. It showed up as Onbeat-20 and Onbeat-20 Stereo. Only the first entry worked correctly. The sound was distinctively more muted and contained more bass tones than my iMac’s built-in speakers. I did not find the sound clarity, nor the whole listening experience as good as when it was paired with the iPad or iPhone. I tested my iOS devices outside and that might have made the difference in sound quality.

I have a playlist I use just for testing sound products and the Onbeat-200 performed admirably. It sounds best in the mid-range. The bass is full, but songs with deep bass tones rattled a tiny bit. In some tunes it sounded a bit tinny in the higher ranges, especially with heavy harmonica riffs. I was impressed with the range of music it played well. Unfortunately, due to the design, any song which moves from speaker to speaker is lost in the translation. The Onbeat-200 sounds different depending on which side you place in front of you also. One side yields more bass tones than the other.

The Onbeat-200 includes a built-in microphone, so it also acts as a speaker phone. This feature worked well, although voices tended to sound deeper than in real life. When the iPhone answers a call, the music automatically pauses, and you switch to the speaker. When the call ends and the iPhone switches back to the music, the device happily complies. You can also end the call with the stop button on the Onbeat-200.

The 33-foot listed operating range is a bit generous. I found I started losing my signal at about 23 feet. As mentioned above, it puts out quite a punch at top volume without any distortion. Dvoom recommends that you set your device on any of their stereo speakers to 80% volume. This is probably so that you don’t blow the speaker, although they don’t mention that tidbit.

While I’m not sure it is worth $80, it is does provide good performance and volume while on the go. Do not be mislead by its housing though. Even though it looks rugged and sealed, it is not sand or water-proof. After using it outside, I found bits of grass had weaved themselves into the small holes, so it can easily pick up dirt and sand.

If you want volume with little distortion, the Onbeat-200 may fill your needs, but if you want a quality stereo listening experience, I don’t think the Onbeat-200 delivers.

Specs

  • Weight 540 g (1.19 lbs) (I had it weighed and it was only .99lbs)
  • Output Power: 4 Watts x 2
  • Total Peak Power: 6 Watts x 2
  • Driver Size : 2″ x 2
  • Operating Range: Up to 10 meters/33 feet
  • Bluetooth Compliant V2.1 +EDR
  • Bluetooth profile support A2DP Stereo
  • Signal-to-noise: 75dB
  • Charging Voltage: USB or AC/DC wall adaptor 5V

Divoom Onbeat-200 Bluetooth Speaker Review originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 01 Jul 2013 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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