Just when you thought there were already too many Bluetooth speakers in the market come another one vying for your attention. But when it is Harman Kardon that beckons, you must, at least, take notice. 

Best foot forward. In the crowded wireless speaker market, looks matter. The Onyx Mini’s unique design calls out for your attention. Round, like a smooshed crystal ball, the speaker features a wire mesh front grill concealing two speaker port holes behind the brand logo and a soft, rubbery back cover surrounding the bass reflex port. The port (thus, the speaker’s innards) is protected from dust by a cover button that pulsates in sync with the bass line. Below the reflex port are the charge and auxiliary audio ports. On top are touch points for power, volume, call, and Bluetooth pairing, along with the battery level indicator.  

The insides matter. For its size, the Onyx Mini can deliver quite a volume. Quality-wise, the Onyx Mini favors the middle of the frequency range making it ideal for vocal or acoustic tracks (as well as the speakerphone). You get enough treble and bass at moderate listening levels, although you’d lose the latter as loudness increases. Pushing volume levels at maximum makes the Onyx Mini scream without distortion or clipping but, as previously mentioned, with very little low frequency notes. Owing to the placement of the speakers, the Mini can’t faithfully reproduce true stereophonic sound. To achieve that, you would need to pair it with another Onyx Mini or a similarly capable device. 

Where it shines. The Onyx Mini reminds me of the Energizer Bunny that keeps going and going. Although the manufacturer promises 10 hours of play time, I found, in actual use, that the 3,000mAh batteries last quite a lot longer. I ran the speakers non-stop for over 13 hours yet the batteries showed over 50 percent charge left. Recharging takes about three hours per manufacturer specifications. 

Where it stumbles. To be fair, the Onyx Mini’s shortcomings can be categorized as nitpicking. First, it really isn’t portable. It doesn’t come with a carrying handle nor is it supplied with a case/pouch; and its shape doesn’t really make for comfortable toting. It is light enough to carry from room to room though. Secondly, the control buttons are kind of awkward to operate. They offer no tactile or visual response and are practically hidden from view. Remote control over the source device (next, previous, play/pause, etc.) is also wanting.  

VERDICT

I wanted so much to love the Harman Kardon Onyx Mini but found myself only liking it. It looks great on the desk and performs reasonably well as a speaker and phone but it doesn’t quite tick all the boxes. I feel for the price, it should have offered more. 

BLUETOOTH 4.1; 2,402MHz – 2,480MHz (frequency range); 0-9dBm (transmitter power)
TRANSDUCER 2 x 45mm
OUTPUT POWER 2 x 8W
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 75Hz – 20kHz (-6dB)
SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO 80dB A-weighted
POWER SUPPLY 5V 2.3A
BATTERY Li-Po 3.7V, 3,000mAh
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT 145 x 158 x 95mm, 587g
PRICE P7,999

You can buy the Harman Kardon Onyx at JBL stores in Fairview, SM City North EDSA Annex, TriNoma, SM Megamall, Bonifacio High Street, SM Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center, Glorietta 1, Festival Mall, and SM City Cebu or check out Beyond Innovations’ website for more details.

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