xFyro ORION Wireless Waterproof Speaker That Floats

Friday, December 13, 2019

Every portable and outdoor wireless speaker should be waterproof but, surprisingly, not all outdoor speakers can handle the elements! The xFyro ORION speaker, in the other hand, can handle anything the outdoors can through at it, thanks to its IP67 waterproof rating.
Not only the ORION speaker is impervious to water, it can also float and continue to play music when you throw it in the water, which is pretty cool because not all waterproof speakers have a floating ability that prevents them from sinking to the bottom of a body of water.
The xFyro ORION speaker has a quirky up-firing "flying saucer" style, meaning the ORION speaker is designed to fire the sound upwards towards the ceiling (or sky). The neat thing about upward-firing speakers is that they can give you the illusion of ceiling-mounted speakers by having the sound literary bounce off the ceiling back down to you.
Of course, for an upward-firing speaker system to work, it needs to output a decent amount of power, certainly a lot more than 5W which the ORION speaker is rated at. Then again, the ORION speaker isn't designed to compete with an upward firing Dolby Atmos home theater system.
The ORION is a little speaker you can take with you almost anywhere since you can easily store it inside a jacket or backpack. The ORION speaker has a 10cm diameter, measures 4cm tall and weighs just 225 grams, which is a heavy as 10 AA batteries.
The internal 3.7V 600mAh lithium ion battery recharges via 5V/1A micro USB input, which is as fast as recharging it via the USB 3.0 port of a computer. It takes approximately 90 minutes to fully charge the ORION speaker. The red led turns on during charging and turns off after full charge is complete. You can play audio while the ORION speaker is charging.
A fully charged battery can power the ORION speaker for up to 8 hours when volume is set at 50% level. The ORION speaker uses a Bluetooth 4.2 chip with EDR, which isn't the latest Bluetooth 5.0 version but, the ORION speaker can still connect to newer Bluetooth 5.0 devices since bluetooth is backwards compatible.

While speaking of Bluetooth 5.0, it's worth mentioning that not all phones that claim to have bluetooth 5.0 support actually fully support Bluetooth 5.0. This will probably come as a surprise and, it is since it is not public knowledge. There are basically three main requirements for a true Bluetooth 5 smartphone.
The phone has to have high speed support (PHY 2M), long range (PHY Coded) support and extended advertisement support. Many phones claiming to support bluetooth 5 do not support all three features; hence you won't be getting all the benefits of bluetooth 5. Luckily, there is a quick way to check whether a smartphone has true bluetooth 5 support. Simply download the nRF Connect for Mobile app from the Google Play Store and check under "Device Information".
While the ORION speaker doesn't use the latest, more improved bluetooth 5 version, it does perform slightly better than regular bluetooth 4.2, thanks to the integration of EDR (Enhanced Data Transfer). The wireless signal range of the ORION speaker is 10 meters in direct line of sight. The ORION speaker is mainly intended for outdoors so, if you use the ORION speaker in the open air, you should be getting the full bluetooth range without issues.
The base of the ORION speaker features a circular rubber feet. The top of the speaker has a circular flat surface covered by a fabric mesh, which acts as the grill of the speaker. The user control buttons are located on the side and consist of four physical buttons, which require some force to actuate so, there is little chance for the buttons to be triggered accidentally while the speaker is being transported inside a bag. This is good since the ORION speaker does not have an automatic shut off feature that powers down the speaker after inactivity.
Buttons include a power on/off button, volume up button, volume down button and a play/pause button. The volume buttons can also switch audio tacks. The micro USB port and aux-in port are located on the opposite side of the ORION speaker. These ports are covered with a rubber grommet that you flick open to access the ports. The rubber cover is attached to the speaker so, you won't loose it. The status led and microphone are also located on the backside on either side of the rubber grommet.
When using the ORION speaker's internal microphone for hands-free calls, you will need to orient the speaker microphone towards you and stand at a fairly close distance to the microphone since the amplification of the microphone isn't very high. This could be due to the microphone being buried deep inside the pinhole. There is not kickstand behind the ORION speaker but, it can be positioned sideways against a bookshelf or vertical surface if you want the sound firing at you horizontally.
Without a passive radiator, the 52mm driver inside the ORION speaker strongly favors the midrange and high frequencies (treble) with just a little amount of bass (not a lot). The volume feels very loud, considering its 5W rating.
The overall sound performance is on par with what you would expect from a mono speaker setup. Speaking of mono, the ORION speaker has the ability to be paired with another ORION speaker so, you can connect two of them to the same smartphone. That said, there is no mention on the user guide, that the ORION speaker supports TWS mode (wireless stereo pairing) so, it's unclear whether pairing two ORION speakers would create a right and left stereo channels or not. Check out the review of the xFyro ANC Pro earbuds.

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