I’ve had huge difficulty in writing this review. Not because I don’t like the product, but because I’ve struggled to find a use for it in the outdoors. But last weekend I found one, so on we go.
The Orbitsound T3 is a portable speaker which charges from a USB port and gives up to 10 hours of sound per charge.
What makes it unique is Orbitsound’s ‘spatial stereo’ technology, which I’ll attempt to explain.
The T3 is a unit about the size of a compact camera. It has a main speaker on its front and two small speakers on its sides. On ‘standard’ setting, the main speaker acts much like one in your laptop, playing music in mono (sound coming from one direction). When you switch on the ‘spatial’ mode, the T3 throws out sound from its side speakers as well, which give the effect that you’re standing between two speakers and you get a sort of surround-sound stereo.
It’s utterly superb.
…unless you’re not standing within 3ft, directly in front of the T3, because then you don’t get the effect and wonder if the button is working at all.
And this is where we hit the problem of context for GearWeAre.com. I couldn’t think of any time, ever, when I’d want a portable speaker on a neckcord, broadcasting my music to everyone around me. If I want music on a boring walk I have headphones. If I want music at home I have a stereo. And if I want music in a tent why would I pay for stereo that doesn’t work unless you’re wearing it? I was confused.
The use I found, where the Orbitsound T3 works unbelievably well, is if you want to watch a movie on an iPad or laptop in a tent. The speakers in my laptop are pathetic, and whilst the ones in my iPad are passable, plugging in the T3 takes things to a whole new level. Very impressive indeed, in fact. But alas, the T3 is £50, which makes it very significantly more expensive than a pair of separate stereo speakers, so I’m back to not being able to justify it again.
Sound quality of the T3 is quite tinny compared to the much more bass-rich Nokia MD-11 which we tested a while ago. A head-to-head blind test between 4 of us resulted in all 4 choosing the Nokia over the Orbitsound. That said, unless you’re doing a head-to-head comparison you wouldn’t really realise.
SUMMARY: I like the Orbitsound and it’s ability to ‘fake’ a stereo effect. I am just having a problem finding a use for it which is relevant to the outdoors or camping. Unless you’re one of those annoying youths who broadcast music from their phones instead of wearing earphones, why would you want it on a neckcord? The rating doesn’t suggest that the T3 is a poor product, but just that it’s less suitable for outdoors and camping use than some of the cheaper alternatives.