Zit Seng's Blog

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SonicGear Pandora 3 Review

_DSC0798Speakers are among our many other consumer gadgets that have gone wireless. Even if you put your speakers in a fixed place and run off mains power, Bluetooth wireless connectivity is still useful for streaming music from mobile devices. In this post, I’m going to look at SonicGear’s Pandora 3 Bluetooth speaker.

First, a quick highlight of the Pandora 3’s features. It’s a boom box speaker with 16W RMS of power, runs off mains power, and supports Bluetooth. There is also an aux-in jack for 3.5mm audio. A bult-in microphone allows you to use the Pandora 3 for phone calls when paired with a phone. All of this is packed in a sleek package.

The Pandora 3 is available in a couple of colours. Choose from black, gun metal, white, red and blue. The one I’ve got is white. The Pandora 3 feels really well made. The construction is solid and robust, and the shell is covered in a soft rubberised material that’s nice to the touch. The front of the shell is almost completely covered by a metal grill, with the Pandora logo etched on it. The grill hides the two 2″ drivers behind it pretty well.

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The rear of the unit has the main power switch, which also serves as the input selector between Bluetooth and aux-in. There’s a DC-in socket, a 3.5mm audio aux-in socket, and one knob each for volume and bass control.

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The top features three buttons for music control: play/pause, backward, and forward. The play/pause button also doubles up to answer and end calls, if your Pandora 3 is paired with a smartphone.

_DSC0794Under the Pandora 3, you’ll see the single large 3″ bass driver. Now, the specifications do speak of dual bass driver reflector, but don’t confuse that to mean there are two drivers. I believe there are two reflectors, but just one bass driver. That’s not to say the bass is weak. On the contrary, you’ll find the bass to be quite adequate. More on that in a while.

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Pairing to the Pandora 3 is simple. Once switched on to Bluetooth mode, the Pandora 3 will show up on your Bluetooth music device (i.e. computer, smartphone or tablet). It plays a tone every so often to indicate that it waiting to be paired. Simply pair and connect to it. The Pandora 3 plays another tone to indicate your music device has connected to it.

I do have one gripe. The Pandora 3 will keep playing its Bluetooth discoverable tone forever while waiting for something to connect to it. What if I purposely disconnect my music device from the Pandora 3? Or if the Bluetooth music device has left the range? The Pandora 3 will keep playing that tone. Until you switch it off. I wished it could just silently go into standby or something, and just stop playing that tone.

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The loudness from the Pandora 3 is quite adequate, considering its size and intended use case. This is not a boom box for driving a house party wild. However, for casual use anywhere in the house, you will not find the Pandora 3 lacking in power.

What about audio quality? This is often the most difficult part to review, not just because audio quality can be somewhat subjective, but also because it needs also needs to be considered in the context of the product’s target audience and price point. That said, the Pandora 3 is certainly no audiophile grade speaker, and it certainly wasn’t designed to be so.

The bass coming out from the Pandora 3 is punch, considering the small size of the speakers. There some lack in clarity and detailing in the mids and highs. Overall, however, the Pandora 3’s audio quality is not bad at all. But at the same time it’s nothing to write home about. It will serve its purpose very well for casual music around the house.

Conclusion

The Pandora 3 costs just S$69. There’s probably not many other comparable Bluetooth speakers at this price point. Overall the Pandora delivers great value.

Pros:

  • Looks good, nice feel, solid construction
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Will not keep quiet when there’s no Bluetooth music device to connect to it

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