Why would we cover yet another portable wireless speaker the size of a stack of Marie biscuits? For starters, because this is truly revolutionary technology at work.
The fact that it hasn't officially made its way to most parts of the world yet makes it all the more alluring. One Audio is a Hong Kong-based specialist speaker manufacturer that is currently working on a glass speaker, but for now, they have shipped us the finished version of their smallest offering, the ONEmicro. Shipped in pairs, it's a simplistic box with two non-dramatic cylinders with a 2in full-range driver each.
It's all in the airwaves
What makes the ONEmicro revolutionary though is the way it conducts its wireless business. It doesn't rely on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals like your average wireless speakers, no sir. Instead it uses the DECT channel, used originally in your dad's cordless phone. It operates in a 1.9GHz band and while it may sound archaic - it's a channel that's not used by any device these days - it makes for the most stable and long-range option for wireless transmission of sound, supposedly! It is also a ban that isn't cluttered by signals from your neighbour's Smart refrigerator or your cable operator's router, keeping the music transmission as clean as possible.
ONE has also worked hard on reducing the latency between the pair of satellite speakers - a common bug that ails most two-box portable speakers, and one of the major reasons why they are designed to be single-box in the first place. The trouble with that is, if you're more than a casual listener, then you can forget getting any "stereo" separation from a small, one-box unit. With the ONEmicro, you can place both the speakers at precise distances from your listening position and emulate a proper hi-fi kit. ONE claims that the micro doesn't suffer from any phase or timing errors that plague portable speakers using the more conventional transmission methods.
We can't help but agree! Since the time I've had the ONEmicro on my desk, I can't get my head around how they've managed to make a tiny speaker sound this clean and this full-bodied. Part of the reason is the enclosure itself, which is hewn from 20mm thick iron and feels ultra solid when you hold it in your hand. But when you put it down on, say, a desk, it uses the wooden surface as a secondary radiating surface as well, effectively giving the impression that you are listening to a much larger speaker. Up to 16 such micros can be connected on a single network which is created by a USB dongle that connects to your music-carrying laptop (or mobile device via OTG adaptor).
You could even build a super-stealth 5.1 home-theatre system with five of such Micros and a matching subwoofer from ONE. The massive wireless range of 30 metres indoors helps in maintaining maximum channel separation between the speakers and could potentially be a viable alternative to conventional surround sound speakers in a small room.
Ears wide open
Its play time of 20 hours and plug-and-play set-up make it easy for first timers to adopt this tech as well as impress hardened veterans. You could get a full charge in about 4 hours on its 1000mAH battery, and in return, it should entertain you with a sound that completely belies its dimensions. There have been many attempts and iterations of compact speakers that you can hold on the palm of your hand, but none of them come close to the true fidelity that the ONEmicro is capable of producing. It's a sound that sounds "correct" and it's down to psychoacoustics. Our brain is super sensitive to out-of-phase sounds and the plethora of cheap portable speakers don't really care about that. ONE Audio does and it shows. This 5-watt speaker is a giant slayer and one that should be on your auditioning list. It isn't yet available for sale in India officially, but ONE Audio will gladly ship it to you from its HK HQ if you slide over to oneaudio.cc.