27 Aug 2015
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Hands-on review: Orbitsound Spaced360

By Mark Roulston

In the increasingly crowded portable Bluetooth speaker marketplace, any savvy company - particularly a relative unknown - needs innovate to stand out. With the Spaced360, British company Orbitsound is looking to deliver a unique audio experience to every corner of the room.

At the heart of the Spaced360 lies Orbitsound’s patented airSOUND technology, essentially using a combination of sound processing and speaker placement to create an “infinite sweet-spot” - an optimum sound delivery to listeners no matter their position in relation to the speaker.

The first thing you’ll notice with the Spaced360 is the unique styling of the unit. The three-way speaker system is housed in an attractive triangular enclosure designed to accentuate the 360 degree sound aesthetic, giving the impression that every angle of the device is made for putting out sound.

Each ‘point’ of the triangle holds one of the three exposed speaker drivers nested in an appealing, minimal fashion. On the top of the unit lies a four-button interface that mirrors the design of the whole thing, with volume rockers, a mute switch and a large Bluetooth pairing button.

Hidden inside this hub is my personal favourite feature of the Spaced360 - an active NFC chip. After a couple of one-time initial set-up steps, simply tap your NFC-capable device on the centre of the unit and the Bluetooth is connected in seconds.

NFC compatibility may seem like a small thing, but it’s a hugely convenient system that not enough competitors have implemented yet.

Another nice touch is the Spaced360’s wireless charging system. Built into the underside of the speaker is a shallow docking bay which simply has to be placed over the accompanying charging pad, with no actual insertion of plugs required.

It’s not the lightest or smallest of portable speakers, but the ease with which you can pick it up and move it, coupled with the excellent 10-12 hour battery life, is a welcome trade-off for the increased heftiness.

As convenient and visually appealing as the speaker is, when it comes down to actual performance the Spaced360 doesn’t actually stand out as much as you might like for a $500 device. That’s not to say that the sound isn’t good, but when put against the competition there’s no real audible justification for the high price.

The touted “infinite sweet-spot” does function pretty well, with no discernible loss of audio quality at various positions around the device.

The triangular design means you can’t really ever get behind the Spaced360, but from a positioning point of view it’s hard to see when someone might have the need for a speaker positioned in the centre of a room. It’s a nice idea, and in some situations may actually make a difference, but for the most part it’s fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.

The Orbitsound Spaced360 is a premium portable speaker system, in build quality, sound quality, and price. Those who use the device are unlikely to be disappointed, but it doesn’t really stand out enough to warrant the steep investment.

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