Voombox has offered up plenty of interesting entries in the speaker category, and one more has come our way. Our friends at Voombox sent out a Voombox Ongo for us to review, and this little dynamo will pack quite a bit of performance in an unusually small package.
The Voombox Ongo is designed to be a speaker on the go, as evidenced by the fact that it runs from a battery, and comes with a small clip that screws into the base of the unit. The clip can then be attached to a bicycle, and taken on the road from there. An included USB cable allows the device to be readily charged from a variety of sources, and a 3.5 mm jack with accompanying cable means that the speaker can be used with most anything with a headphone jack. Devices with Bluetooth capability, meanwhile, can be paired with the device readily to allow wireless operations. The system is weather-resistant so that it can readily go out, and can even offer some advantages in terms of taking calls and allowing the speaker to serve as an amplification of incoming calls when used with a smartphone. A full charge offers users eight hours of music, and it takes between three and four hours for the speaker to fully charge.
A note of warning: Make sure that the device is fully charged before use; when the charge starts to run down, I found that performance is actually lost. Trying out a round of Dragonforce’s “Through the Fire and Flames” produced almost two different sets of results; when plugged into a USB port, the sound came out crisp and clear, and even that song’s lyrics seemed more audible than usual. Unplugging it from the power source, meanwhile, produced a mushy, bass-heavy excursion. So make sure the speaker is well-charged before using it; the difference in performance is night and day.
A bit of smooth jazz went through the system like cold water through a human torso on a hot day. It produced a wonderful intermingling of highs and lows the like of which was almost hard to believe. Even audio dramas with light background music came out nicely with the background music staying strictly background; audible, yet not overpowering the voice track. Efforts involving the MP3 player, meanwhile, proved likewise sound, whether handling a Dickens audiobook or several different songs. It seems to do better plugged into a laptop than it does into an MP3, which is odd, but it still works quite well overall.
The Voombox Ongo runs $79.90, though it’s available on Amazon for $59.90 and comes in your choice of colors, so regardless of where your tastes run and what color your bicycle is, you should find something to work well with this.
I’m quite happy with the Voombox Ongo; it’s small enough to be easily portable, and though that bike clamp gimmick is indeed just that–a gimmick–it’s still got plenty of solid attributes to it that make it worthwhile. While it would be nice to have a few extras like the ability to adjust bass and treble levels, this is a surprisingly loud, potent speaker that travels easily and is sufficiently rugged to take the slings and arrows of outrageous travel.