Ever play catch with a Bluetooth speaker? Me neither — but you might be tempted to try just that when you’re holding the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker. That’s because it’s got a rubberized grip that brings out the devil in you and makes you want to lob it at someone — not totally outrageous since it’s great for use outdoors. Actually the sound quality of the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker will surprise you, because it’s got a large driver inside, coupled with a bass port and a resonating chamber that makes the sound being emitted more fulfilling than you’d expect.

Now the size does make it less than ideal for your pocket, but who’s going to use it there? Just put it on a corner of the picnic table and forget about maintenance, once you start playing the music. The BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker has the usual 30 foot range of a Bluetooth-enabled tech and, while not waterproof, is both hefty and solidly constructed so as to make its use outside perfectly OK.

Now in the classic sense of the “cart before the horse,” I haven’t noted how its been powered or synced to the device that is playing music through it. So I’ll back up.

Earlier, I took out the charging cable and plugged one end into the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker and the other into a USB socket on my computer. Now that I come to think of it, I can use the USB charger that’s in my car, so realistically the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker can go pretty much anywhere you want it to. But back to charging — expect to wait about 4 hours to fully charge the battery (which is a large one). The up-to-16 hours you get in return makes it worth it. Just keep in mind that the USB connection on the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker is NOT the standard USB expected — it’s a mini-jack like for headphones. So the included USB cable must be used, and if you can go to a Radio Shack/related and buy another one, you’ll be safe if something should happen to the cable.

There’s only three controls — make that touch-sensitive buttons — on the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker to deal with. You press the center button and hold it in until you hear a series of tones. This indicates that it’s in “paring mode — ready to pair with a Bluetooth-enabled device that can send audio. Then go to the device that will be streaming to it (i.e., an iPhone) and select the orb from the choices presented in the Bluetooth menu. That’s it. You can now play at will — or turn the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker off with the same center button until you want to turn it back on later (it remembers the last “pairing” so no need to repeat).

The buttons to the left/right side of the center double as Up/Down volume when held in, and as forward/backward control over the audio being streamed when just pressed. The center button, while turning the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker on and off, also works when pressed briefly as the “Pause/Play” button.

Now I had mentioned earlier that there’s a large driver in the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker. This makes for some impressively loud sound. This is aided by the shape, which allows for the audio to resonate inside for a more “full” sound. Granted you won’t mistake what you’re hearing for a pair of Klipsch speakers, but then you wouldn’t take them from your home theater and place them on a picnic table, would you?

I should also point out that the younger set can easily work the controls and, truth be told, are just as inclined to roll it around while the music is playing as listen to it. Again, that’s OK since the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker design is built to handle abuse much better than a lot of other portable speakers could. But due to its weight, parental supervision is always a must — and teenagers are NOT encouraged to see how high they can throw it while Lady Gaga is playing.

Editor’s Rating:

Rating: ★★★★☆

Great

Bottom Line:

Accessory Power has a winner in that the BlueSync OR3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker is portable where it counts, and provides a quality sound output when it’s wanted. Bluetooth technology meets an “orb” that doesn’t portend to mystical proportions. It just plays what you want to hear, sans wires, for a retail of .00.

Pros

  • Full-range 70mm driver
  • Rubberized surface with blue accents
  • Includes soft carry bag

Cons

  • Monophonic
  • The younger set will find it hard to grasp










Marshal Rosenthal

 
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.