CNET First Look
$30 Bluetooth speaker is a relative bargainCambridge SoundWorks compact Bluetooth speaker has some shortcomings, but it sounds as good as similar speakers costing more and has speakerphone capabilities.
Hi. I'm David Carnoy and I'm here with Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Curve. I'm not sure why it's called the Curve, but in case you haven't guessed already, it's another tiny wireless Bluetooth speaker. What's special about it? Well, like other Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz speakers, it sports a direct-to-consumer bargain price tag. The list price for the Curve is $59.99, Cambridge is selling it on Amazon for 29.99 which is about as affordable as it gets for a Bluetooth speaker these days. What I liked about it is that it's got some heft to it. It doesn't feel like cheap speaker and seems well-built. I'm not sure how much I dig to the design. It's a bit shiny but if nothing else, it is eye-catching and the speaker comes in a couple of different metallic color options with additional colors coming soon. If you read the reviews on the Amazon, people seemed to love this little guy and if does sound is good and play as loud its competitors costing twice as much. However, that doesn't mean it's not without some shortcomings. Some tracks I've played it sounded fine. But with others, the Curve got bent out of shape and distorted badly at medium to high volumes. It just doesn't handle certain bass frequency as well. You can also give more complicated music a harsh edge that will make more critical listeners cringe. These speakers can output some bass but not surprisingly they sound thin compared to larger speakers, the strong in the mid-range so vocals in acoustical material tend to sound best. It's also worth mentioning that there's a built-in speaker phone which works well and instead of transport controls on the unit itself. Most people use their smartphone or tablet to control audio playback. But some users like having a pause/play button on the speaker itself. Finally, battery life is rated at 5 hours, which is only okay. But it can do better if you play your music at lower volumes. Speakers doesn't come with any sort of carrying pouch, which would have been a nice edition considering that if you want to preserve the shiny finish, you probably need to protect it when stick this speaker in a bag with other items, it might scratch it. Don't get me wrong while I sound a bit critical. I think that Oontz Curve is a decent deal. It isn't head and shoulders above the rest of the tiny budget speaker pack. If you're not gonna do too much better for 30 bucks. Just don't come in expecting to getting incredible sound for that money and you should be happy with this speaker. I'm David Carnoy and that's the Oontz Curve. Thanks for watching.