- Travel speakers don’t get much cuter than this, but we need sweeter sonics to fully fall for the Onkyo T3
- Super-portable – weighs 250g
- Neat little protective cover
- Smart looks and leather cover
- Power bank to charge mobile devices
- Small-scale presentation
- Rivals best it for overall sound quality
The Onkyo T3 is little. Really little. Onkyo rates it at 250g. File this little chap under ‘travel speaker’ and you won’t go far wrong.
Expect anything more and you’ll likely be left waiting like a forlorn traveller at the wrong baggage carousel.
The T3 is a classy-feeling speaker. Our unit, classed online as ‘white’ but really more a mix of copper, cream and white, channels an ’80s vibe.
If Bluetooth had been on the high-street back then – Hedy Lamaar’s 1942 invention was a bit of a slow starter, languishing for some time with the US Navy – this look would’ve gone down well.
The copper-coloured grille blends smartly with the white edging and the supplied cream cover protects your T3 from all manner of on-the-go dangers – in other words, your scratchy keys.
Onkyo’s website also shows the T3 sitting pretty atop this cover, though this sure-looking placement was a little harder to replicate in our test rooms.
When one of your key features is ‘being tiny’ it’s not fair to expect too much more in the way of bullet points.
But the T3 gives it a go. It fits in a USB slot for charging portable devices, so acts as a power bank as well as a portable speaker.
It charges its own built-in battery via a supplied USB cable, and once full of mains power, offers up to eight hours’ playtime. The built-in mic also enables hands-free calls, which is no bad thing.
The Onkyo T3 is also one of an increasing amount of Bluetooth speakers to offer ‘multi-pairing’, letting users instantly swap between the music of two paired devices – look upon this as an opportunity to share or alternatively an opportunity to stamp your music taste all over even your mate’s T3 speaker. We know which way we approach multi-pairing…
It’s remarkable how often a product sounds an awful lot like it looks. The Onkyo T3 is one of those. It looks little; it sounds pretty small. Its design is intricate; it delivers a refined, detailed sound.
It’s this detail that helps the T3, in keeping with its maker’s DNA sound quite ‘hi-fi’. Surprisingly so for such a dinky unit.
However, regardless of the brace of ‘full range’ 38mm drivers, along with the rear-located passive radiator, the Onkyo struggles to ever sound bigger than its little self.
Put it this way, if the barrier to delivering satisfying portable audio is a metaphorical fence, the Onkyo T3 can’t quite see over the top. Even on tippy-toes.
Meanwhile the UE Roll 2 cartwheels over, and the JBL Charge 2+ simply crashes straight through the panels.
We have sympathy for our vertically challenged buddy, but the compromise here is significant – the UE Roll 2 weighs just 80g more than the T3, yet its sonics far exceed the Onkyo in every department.
Unless that extra 80g – and perhaps the T3’s ability to act as a power bank – is a deal-breaker then you should think long and hard before opting for the Onkyo.
The laws of physics mean that getting a big sound from a small box brings its challenges. The Onkyo T3 employs a neat little speaker system, including passive radiator, in an effort to overcome science and hard facts.
But the sonic results are not entirely successful, and a long way from class-leading.
The T3 does outperform smartphone speakers, plus it’s a power bank as well as a hands-free calling system.
Viewed this way, it’s possible to envisage it checking in and out of hotel rooms across the globe, proving useful and demanding very little in the way of luggage allowance. It’s a cutie, too. It just needs to sound better.