Omnidirectional speakers or 360 speakers have seen an uptake in interest due to Veho and Samsung pushing their new speakers to the market.
Editor Choice: Best 360 Speaker
Best 360 Speaker
Click here to check pricing and reviews on Amazon
Below is a graph based on Google trends, which shows clearly a spike in the number of people searching for these type of speakers.
If you are new to this, you might not know that there are actually quite a number of omnidirectional speaker in the market today beyond Samsung and Veho. Today’s article will take a look at what is out there and what are each brand’s pros and cons. (Audio fans might also want to check out my review on the best wireless 5.1 surround sound system)
- 1 360 speaker reviews
- 2 What I look out for in a good 360 speaker
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
360 speaker reviews
Below is a list of omnidirectional speakers that sound great while being affordable.
Ue Boom 360 speaker review
With more than 2000 positive reviews on Amazon, UE boom is indeed one of the best rated 360 speaker in the market today. With pricing that is lower than the typical brands such as Bose, it delivers output and power that can rival any of them. It is simply the best value for money 360 speaker in the market.
When it comes to sound, the UE boom has both power and quality. It can deliver loud output without too much of the popping sound until you crank it up to beyond 80% of its volume. Quality wise, the sound coming is smooth and natural, like the way the music is suppose to sound like.
Beside the great sound quality, a key selling point of the UE boom is the portability and this is indeed true. Its battery life can last you between 10-12 hours between charges and it is design for rugged use. The exterior casing is water and stain resistant so you don’t need to babysit the speaker when bringing it outdoors.
A common comparison one likes to make when evaluating UE boom is with Bose’s soundlink III or sounlink mini. Brand wise, Bose has the recognition but it is not necessary the best choice.
UE Boom vs Bose Soundlink III
- Price: Bose retails for over $200+ while UE Boom sells for under $150 and UEBoom 2 sells for under $200
- Volume: Both speakers have almost equal loudness
- Bass: Bose perform better as you can hear the low sounds really well
UE Boom vs Bose Soundlink Mini
- Price: Similar pricing with the Bose being just a tad more expensive
- Volume: UE Boom blows the Bose Mini out of the water. The UE Boom’s 50% volume sounds the same as Bose Mini’s 75% volume
- Bass: Bose bass is still more prominent
- Distortion: Popping sounds can be heard on the Bose easily when you want to push the system but not so on the UE Boom.
UE Boom vs Boom 2
There is a newer version of UE boom being released in 2015. The price was adjusted upwards so you might be wondering if it is worth spending more on the newer version. Below is the head to head comparison between UE Boom and UE Boom 2:
- Design: There is not much change in the design as you can see via the picture on the right. The shorter casing is the UE Boom 2 while the taller casing is for the original
- Sound quality: The amazing sound quality from UE Boom is retain in the newer version
- Range: UE Boom 2 has twice the range when it comes to bluetooth connectivity. The original covers about 50 ft while the newer version can do 100 ft
- Battery life: UE Boom has a slightly longer life of about 1-2 more hours
- Button placement: This is where some changes have been made. For example, the charging port is now on top of the speakers and are fully covered. The original version had them at the bottom and were open, which actually might invite dust and such into the speakers
Overall, the improvements made to UE Boom 2 were marginal, with the connectivity range being the most improved feature. Whether that is worth tens of dollars more is up to you to decide.
Samsung 360 speaker review
Before we begin, do note that there are more than one Samsung omnidirection speaker model. Reviewed here is the WAM7500, rather than the latest WAM 6501 for 1 reason. The newer product usually has bugs, especially in the app side of things so it is better to wait 1-2 years to iron out the bugs before buying them.
Overall, the consensus is that the 360 function in the WAM7500 hardware functions beautifully. Regardless of where you are in the room, you will get almost the same audio quality.
The problem is with the software, which is buggy especially for the first release. The latest version of the app has corrected most of the problems but you still get connection errors now and then. The best thing to avoid this is to not use the app and stream the music from your Mac via wifi instead. That will let you hear how good these 360 speakers can be. Don’t blame the hardware for software problems!
The design of the Samsung WAM7500 is gorgeous. You can display it in your home without ruining the overall decor of the house. Portability however is not its strength. This is a strictly home made unit and is not meant to stand any kind of rugged use.
Price wise, it is definitely more costly than the UE Boom reviewed above.
Orbitsound omnidirectional speaker review
Orbitsound speaker is probably the least unknown among all the brands reviewed here. However, it is a high quality omnidirectional speaker that should definitely be in your consideration list.
Right out of the box, you will notice that the design of this 360 bluetooth speaker looks very different. This incredible design is created by Frank Nuovo to create a visual image of what a 360 audio experience would look like.
The strength of the sound quality is in the mid range which sounds very clear and crisp. However, when it gets to the low notes, it sounds average to be honest. I guess this is why some Amazon reviewers might be unhappy about if they are used to hearing great sounding bass.
Portability wise, this is a great outlook bluetooth speaker. It is a bit on the heavy side but it is rugged so you don’t have to be extra careful when bringing it along.
What I look out for in a good 360 speaker
Maybe I should have place this at the front of the article LOL.
When I was reviewing these omnidirectional speakers, there was a couple of things that I was looking out for:
- Is it really 360 sound: The feature of a 360 speaker is to let anyone in any part of the room experience the same audio quality. There are some models I have looked which is 360 in name only as they don’t carry the sound everywhere as advertised
- Portability: I know some buyers want to take their music everywhere and maybe even to parties and such. This is where the 360 becomes more important
- Sound quality: I listen carefully to both mids and lows to judge whether a speaker is good. Most of the time, audio fans are attracted by the bass only
- Set up: I look for speakers that are almost brainless to set up. With our current technology standard, it is no longer acceptable if we have to spend more than 15 minutes getting our speakers to work
If you are a beginner to the world of 360 audio speaker, you might find these below faqs useful to get you started:
- what does omnidirectional speaker mean: The 360 speakers differ from normal speakers in the way they disperse the soundwaves. Specifically, the former disperses sound that has maximum interaction with the room walls and hence is best suited where there are multiple listeners in a room. For single use case, directional speakers work better
- why are 360 speakers not as popular? As mentioned, most audio fans listen to music by him or herself. In such use case, directional speakers will give the best effect. Traditional, 360 speakers were also not cheap but the new waves of such speakers are changing to much affordable price points
Omnidirectional speakers are getting more interest these days. If you want to try them out, you can do no wrong by considering some of the models reviewed above.