Editor's note: Since we posted this review Cambridge SoundWorks has raised the price of the Oontz XL to $119. As a result, we have lowered our rating to 3.5 stars (it was 4 stars).
Cambridge SoundWorks has been making some inroads into the ultracompetitive wireless Bluetooth speaker market with its value-priced, weirdly named Oontz line, which has now grown to three products with the addition of the larger Oontz XL.
For a lack of a better description, the 1.85-pound Oontz XL is essentially a poor man's
No, it doesn't have the build quality of the Big Jambox. Nor does it sound as good.
But it does sound better than other smaller speakers that sell for around the same price (at launch, anyway, the Oontz XL costs $99.99; hopefully that price will stick). For example, we put the XL up against the highly rated $99.99 JBL Flip and the Oontz delivered significantly more bass and simply sounded like a bigger speaker. It also was significant step up from the company's own smaller
Performance-wise, what holds the Oontz XL back is its level of clarity and it just doesn't have the widest soundstage. Products like the Big Jambox and the
Volume on the speaker is pretty good, but this doesn't offer huge sound for its size. The engineers seem to have restrained the top volume a bit because of potential distortion problems at higher volumes, particularly when running a lot of bass through the speaker. An earlier unit I tested had some distortion issues at higher volumes -- it couldn't handle R. Kelly's "My Story" track, for example -- but the final shipping model I tested didn't have this problem (the "My Story" track didn't sound great, but at least it didn't break up).