Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle review: A top mini Bluetooth speaker value

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MSRP: $69.99

The Good The Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz sounds relatively good for a $40 mini Bluetooth speaker. It also offers good battery life, built-in speakerphone capabilities, and an attractive design. A carrying pouch is included.

The Bad Some people won't like how bright the blue light is on the front of the unit; speaker has a Mini-USB port (for charging) instead of the now more common Micro-USB port.

The Bottom Line While it doesn't have as much bass as the step-up Oontz and sounds a little thinner as a result, the Oontz Angle still is one of the better values in mini Bluetooth speakers at $39.99.

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7.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 6
  • Value 9

Review Sections

I'm not sure how product managers come up with names for their products, but Oontz is one of the odder-sounding names I've come across in recent times. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing when you consider how hard it is to stand out in the hypercompetitive portable mini Bluetooth speaker market, where a lot of the products look and sound the same and offer similar features.

Like a lot of these little speakers, the Oontz Angle and its slightly larger brother, the Oontz, play bigger than their small size would indicate. But what helps set the Oontz speakers apart is that they're attractively designed, have built-in speakerphone capabilities and good battery life (more than 10 hours), and deliver sound that's comparable to what you get from more expensive speakers of the same ilk. That makes them great values at their current prices of $39.99 and $49.99 respectively.

Design and features
The Oontz Angle comes in many color options and is 5.3 inches wide, 2.7 inches high, and 3 inches deep. It weighs 9 ounces, which makes it a lightweight unit. The Oontz Angle's design has a bit more panache, or at least I liked it better, but the slightly larger Oontz can deliver more bass, which is important.

The Oontz Angle comes in several different color options.

Both products have a custom generic look and feel to them. Yes, that's contradictory, but what I mean by that is they have some inexpensive underpinnings (inexpensive is a polite way of saying "cheap") and yet they manage to rise above those underpinnings with a nice, soft-to-touch finish, sturdy speaker grilles, and clean lines.

But I did have a few gripes. For starters, I didn't like that both products have a Mini-USB port for charging the unit instead of the Micro-USB port that's now found on most non-Apple smartphones and tablets (a cable is included but not a power adapter). And overall, the product just doesn't have the swankier look and feel of such products as the JBL Flip and Jawbone Jambox, both of which cost more. Another downside for some people will be the blue light on the front of the speaker. Alas, it can't be dimmed or turned off completely, and some people may find it a little bright; I didn't think it was such a big deal but another CNET editor really didn't like it.

Rear view of the speaker. Sarah Tew/CNET

While most people will control their music through their mobile devices, the Oontz Angle does have volume control buttons on the back near the top of the unit. The $50 Oontz has a few more controls: for example, you can skip tracks forward and back as well pause and play music. But both models have call answer/end buttons for the speakerphone as well as an on/off switch. There's also an auxiliary input for non-Bluetooth devices (it's easier to connect to that "source" on the Oontz Angle).

As noted, both units have speakerphone capabilities. The feature works well enough, but it helps to be sitting or standing close to the speaker while you're talking so callers can hear you more clearly.

Along with the USB cord, you get a carrying pouch and 3.5mm audio cable for connecting non-Bluetooth devices.

The geometric grille has some similarities to the Jambox's grille.

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