Imagine you want a loud 100 dBa portable speaker at your party, but you don’t want to arrive feeling as if your arm has been ripped out of its socket because the speaker is heavy and awkwardly shaped.
Imagine you arrive with the speaker lightly held in your hand, entirely fresh and ready to party.
If so, perhaps you should consider the Oontz Angle 3XL Ultra portable Bluetooth speaker.
Made by Cambridge Soundworks, the Ultra is the top of their range of Oontz portable speakers. I’ve spent a few hours assessing the Angle 3XL Ultra, and in my detailed review, I cover the critical aspects from design to sound to battery life to portability and Bluetooth capabilities. I also assess whether the sound suffers from its small size.
Still undecided? Need more information on an aspect? Click on your area of concern in the table below. Otherwise, keep reading.
- The Distinctive Shape of the Angle 3XL Ultra
- Sound -Volume, Quality, Stereo, Multi-Directional, Multi-Host
- A Big Plus for The Battery
- Portable with An Impressive IP Rating
- Where is the Angle 3XL Ultra Best Suited to Use?
- What’s in the Box
- Get to Know Your Oontz Angle 3XL Ultra
- Let’s Look at Connectivity
- Warranty & Returns
- What I Don’t Like
- What I Do Like
The Distinctive Shape of the Angle 3XL Ultra
The Oontz 3XL Ultra has the triangular shape unique to the Cambridge Soundworks Angle series of Bluetooth speakers.
It is stylish to look at with the rounded corners and distinctive side panels.
Like several Bluetooth speakers, the only choice in color is black. I think other colors would add volumes to the look and add to the differentiation in the market that comes with the distinctive shape. However, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen anytime soon.
The chassis is composed mainly of plastic, that provides slight impact protection. However, it’s probably not enough to prevent damage if you drop it any distance.
The edges are of brushed aluminum and some parts, like the battery compartment flap at the back, are reinforced with rubber.
Sound -Volume, Quality, Stereo, Multi-Directional, Multi-Host
At 100dBs it is the same loud sound as the Marshall Kilburn II and Aiwa Exos-9. The slightly less battery playtime led to the lower ranking.At 100dBs it is the same loud sound as the Marshall Kilburn II and the Aiwa Exos-9. The slightly less battery playtime led to the lower ranking.
What’s Inside to Produce the Sound?
For a small unit of 3.66lbs., Cambridge SoundWorks managed to pack in many components:
- Two 2.75 inches precision mid-range drivers (in speakers of this size these usually are 2 inches).
- Two 13mm custom tweeters for the highs.
- Three passive radiators for the bass sound. There’s a radiator on each side and one at the rear.
- A high-performance digital audio processor to pull the sound together.
- 24 watts of power to produce the volume.
What Sound Do You Get?
It is a loud 100 dBa which is surprising given you usually need a larger-sized set of internal components to produce such a loud sound. Even better, at the higher volume, the slight distortion is barely noticeable, and the sound quality is high.
The combination of the two woofers and the two tweeters puts out clear and detailed mids and highs. The treble is crisp and the vocals clear — all in all, a natural sound that is well balanced.
You may be disappointed with the richness of the bass. A genuinely deep bass sound only comes with an independent subwoofer housed in a chassis. The three passive bass radiators do produce some bass but it’s not as rich as you get with a subwoofer and lacks impact.
The lack of bass is more noticeable when you switch to outdoor mode on the speaker. The sound focuses on projecting outward with the bass radiators mostly unused. The need to fill the wide-open spaces isn’t needed indoors, so the bass tones come through more when you switch to indoor mode.
A Big Plus for The Battery
It’s always an added plus when the battery in a portable speaker is both rechargeable and replaceable. And that’s what you get with the Lithium-Ion battery in the Angle 3Xl Ultra.
Replacement is simple. Open the battery compartment, take out the old battery, insert the new one, and close the compartment. You can buy the replacement battery from the manufacturer. However, it doesn’t merely need to be a replacement battery.
It can be a standby for when you need to keep the party going, and the red light starts flashing rapidly for the in-place battery, and the volume decreases to preserve the remaining battery charge. Change to the new, and you can pump up the volume again.
At 2/3 volume the Ultra has a playtime of 8 hours. It becomes a lot less when you increase the volume. So, for an all-night party, you’ll need at least one standby battery. Recharge time is 5 hours, so you’ll need to act in advance to have two fully charged batteries ready.
You can recharge the battery while playing the speaker, but that means you must be close to and connected to the mains supply. The battery LED on the top panel flashes red while charging and changes to solid red when charging completes.
Using the USB power bank to charge your smartphone or other device is handy, but that reduces the amount of battery available for playtime
Portable with An Impressive IP Rating
The Oontz Angle 3XL Ultra is too big to put in a pocket but at 3.66 lbs. it is light and portable.
There are no sharp-edged corners on the triangle making the Ultra comfortable to carry in hand. There’s no need for a carrying handle. However, be careful gripping the sides as each has a bass radiator that doesn’t stand up to rough handling.
It’s great for the outdoors because with a tightly sealed chassis the Ultra has an IPX5 rating. The X indicates it doesn’t have a rating for dirt and dust, but the 5 means it’s certified to resist water splashes and spray. No need to worry about a rain shower either. However, it won’t survive partially or fully submerged in water. So, it’s ideal for the beach or the pool and the occasional exposure to water or spillage of drink. Just don’t leave it in a wet environment for an extended period.
Where is the Angle 3XL Ultra Best Suited to Use?
The Ultra is a speaker for both indoors and outdoors.
One Ultra will fill any sized room with a high-quality audio sound. And there won’t be any problems with hearing the music over the babble of conversation and partying.
Taking it outdoors is no problem either. After all, it is portable and has the Outdoor mode to project the sound out to cover the beach, pool, or block area. Turning up the volume will produce a loud but quality sound with little noticeable distortion although the bass might not be as powerful and vibrant as you may like.
If you want to ramp up the sound, you can hook up to a second 3XL Ultra. You might want to invite the neighbors to your party though to avoid any complaints.
What’s in the Box
There’s not much weight to the package you receive containing your Oontz Angle 3XL Ultra as the speaker itself only weighs 3.66 lbs.
And the dimensions confirm it to be a small unit:
- 11.5 inches wide.
- 4 inches high.
- 4.3 inches deep.
The recyclable package itself contains:
- The Oontz Angle 3XL Ultra.
- A Dual Voltage Power Adapter.
- A 3.5mm Audio Cable.
- The Quick Start Sheet.
- The User Guide.
The rechargeable and replaceable Lithium-Ion battery comes fitted in the battery compartment.
Get to Know Your Oontz Angle 3XL Ultra
Front and Back Panels
You’ll find the front and back of the Angle 3XL Ultra covered with a black semi-transparent grille, so you don’t get to see the four drivers in the front or the bass radiator at the back. There are two other bass radiators, one on each side of the speaker which have a silver-colored covering.
At the lower middle rear of the Ultra is the connector flap. Made of rubber, it is a tight fight to ensure waterproofing. The hinges for the flap are extra-thick easing any worries you might have that they’ll break after some use. A gentle pull from the top opens the flap downwards to reveal from left to right:
- A wireless dual stereo switch (more on this in a moment).
- The USB Power Bank is used to charge other devices.
- An AUX-in jack for connecting the speaker to another device.
- A charging jack for connection to the mains supply.
The Control Panel on Top
There are seven control buttons from left to right. They’re clearly labeled, so there’s no room for confusion:
- Track Back.
- Track Forward.
- Volume Down.
- Volume Up.
It’s handy to have the two track buttons to change tracks. It’s not something you’ll find on most Bluetooth speakers these days.
To the left of the first four buttons are four LED indicators:
- Charging — flashes red when the speaker is charging and solid when fully charged. It also flashes rapidly when the battery charge has less than 15% remaining.
- Bluetooth — flashes blue when the speaker is on, solid blue when your device is connected, and solid green when the auxiliary jack has a cable attached.
- Microphone — displays when the speakerphone is in use (more about this below).
- Wireless Dual Stereo — white color displayed when a second Ultra is connected and in wireless dual stereo mode.
On the Bottom
Four small rubber feet provide stability on a flat surface and save the Angle 3XL Ultra from sliding around if the surface is slippery.
There is one screw. Unscrewing it provides access to the battery compartment so you can replace the battery if you need to.
Let’s Look at Connectivity
It’s Basic Bluetooth
The Angle 3XL Ultra It is fitted with Bluetooth version 4.2 which supports A2DP the default Bluetooth profile for streaming audio over Bluetooth. You don’t get quite the same sound quality as you would if it came with the latest aptX Bluetooth technology.
It does support two other Bluetooth profiles:
- AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) which allows Bluetooth devices to control audio remotely and video media on another device. For example, by stopping and starting tracks and skipping to the next or previous track. Hence the “Track Back” and “Track Forward” buttons highlighted earlier.
- HFP (Handsfree Profile) which is the specification for communication between Bluetooth devices. Hence the Wireless Hands-Free Personal Speakerphone feature I’ll talk about soon.
A lot of Bluetooth speakers these days also have NFC for Android phones, but this is not available on the Ultra.
Pairing with Your Device
It doesn’t take long to connect to your speaker from a wide range of devices, such as your Smartphone, iPhone, iPad, Tablet, Laptop with Bluetooth, Chromebook, Echo Dot, or Echo.
Once you’ve powered on your Ultra and there’s a flashing blue light to the left of your Bluetooth button, go to your device Bluetooth screen. Select ‘OontZ Angle 3XL Uxxx’ (the three xxx’s are unique to your speaker), and you’re connected within seconds. The blue light will turn solid, and a quiet chime will sound. Now you’re ready to play the music of your choice.
Note you use the Alexa app to pair with an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot.
Unlike some Bluetooth speakers, the Ultra cannot multi-host so you can’t pair two or more devices at the same time. However, it does remember the last device it was connected to, and when turned on, it automatically reconnects if the device is within range.
The connection is suitable for a range of 100 ft. provided there is no obstructions. You may have to move closer if there are any obstructions.
Having the auxiliary port gives you the flexibility to connect with any non-wireless device, but that limits your portability to the length of your 3.5mm audio cable.
Whichever pairing you use, remember that the volume control on the speaker and your device work independently of each other. You’ll only get maximum volume if both the speaker and the device are set to their maximum levels.
Pairing Two Ultras
You may need to read the manual to pair two Ultras.
You connect your device to one speaker first, and that becomes the main speaker (in the manual this speaker is called the “Play Control Speaker”). When you turn on the second speaker, you don’t need to connect it to your device. All you do is press the play/pause button on the main speaker for 5 sec and, in a few seconds, the speakers are paired.
Once the two OontZ Angle 3XL Ultra speakers are paired together the wireless dual stereo switch comes into play:
- Sliding the switch to the left on each speaker sets up stereo separation (Left Channel – Right Channel) where the main speaker is the left channel, and the other speaker is the right channel. This setting is sometimes referred to as the Indoor Mode, where often, both speakers are in the same room or enclosed area.
- Sliding the switches to the right sets up the dual stereo when both speakers play in full stereo. This mode is better suited for Outdoors where the speakers are likely to be far apart to provide the same sound to a large area.
The buttons on the “Play Control Speaker” are used to control everything because the buttons on the second speaker are disabled.
You can pair the speakers up to 100 feet apart, so long as you don’t place them on the ground or there are walls or obstructions between them. If this occurs, the distance for successful pairing is much less. Once paired, the Bluetooth 4.2 function automatically pairs them again when they’re turned on — very handy.
Remember though you can only pair Ultras together and only two not three or more.
The Microphone Can Be Handy
The quality of the built-in microphone on the Angle 3XL Ultra is usable but not high-end. However, you can use it hands-free if you receive or initiate a call on your smartphone.
Because of the HFP (Handsfree Profile) functionality mentioned earlier, the speaker automatically pauses when you receive or initiate a call and resumes when the call is ended. And you can speak to the microphone without needing to start hands-free on your smartphone.
The First Action to Take
And it’s not to charge the battery. The battery is installed with a partial charge, so the speaker is ready to play first up.
Your first action as with all the Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle Bluetooth speakers is to update your Ultra with the latest performance enhancements. Look for the “Updating the OontZ Angle 3XL ULTRA …” page to find the detailed instructions.
At the time of writing, the firmware update Version 3.3.6 provides for:
- Fixes to volume fluctuations.
- Reducing the audio delay when watching a video or TV.
Unfortunately, the audio delay is still noticeable. And this may never be eliminated unless aptX support is added.
Warranty & Returns
There is no returns policy, just a limited product warranty, which is 90 days initiated on the date of the purchase. I’m surprised at such a short warranty period.
You’ll find the warranty policy on the manufacturer’s website — theoontz.com. To qualify for the warranty, the policy says you’ll need to provide proof of purchase in the form of the original order number. I’ve not tested this, so I’m not sure what is meant by the original order number. I’m presuming it means a copy of the sales receipt.
There’s no mention of shipping, so if you qualify for the warranty, I’m presuming you’ll have to pay those costs to return the Ultra.
What I Don’t Like
- The outside mode produces a weaker depth of bass, so it’s a loud but less thumping sound at your outdoors party.
- Remembering to avoid carrying it end to end because you could damage the speakers.
- Portable but it doesn’t have the sturdiness of the larger, more massive speakers.
- Not the latest version of Bluetooth, so there are audio feedback delays when feeding the sound from videos and TV to the speaker.
- Only a 90-day warranty period.
What I Do Like
- With the inside mode, the bass is rich, deep, and punchy just right to keep the party swinging.
- Both modes produce a natural sound with the mids and highs crisp and detailed.
- The splash proof IPX5 rating means you’re safe from splashing and water spray at the pool or the beach.
- The rechargeable and replaceable battery.
The Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle 3XL Ultra is not for those who want a portable, pocket-sized Bluetooth speaker. However, it is easy to carry in your hand and won’t feel heavy even if you must travel over the dunes to get to your beach party.
Being more substantial than your pocket-sized speakers, it has the size to incorporate larger drivers that pump out an unforgettably loud 100 dBa sound with little distortion at the highest volume. But the sound lacks a bass that is deep and powerful. If this is not so important to you, you won’t be disappointed as you listen to a balanced natural sound over the mid and high-frequency ranges that is clear and crisp.