Review of Extreme Wallride & Hangten bluetooth speakers
The Extreme Wallride and HangTen are a pair of new Bluetooth speakers created by British audio company OTone for actions sports brand EXTREME. The Wallride is the bigger, more expensive model, boasting better bass response and better battery life than its smaller brother, the HangTen.
The speaker is really designed to be used indoors, it being about the same size as a Nexus 7 and a fair bit deeper, and it stands upright, however it does come with a neoprene carry case and is ‘splash proof’ should you want to take it on holiday or use it in the garden.
The hardware itself is pretty standard. The Wallride is a large-ish rectangle with rounded corners, it is covered in soft touch rubberised plastic and generally inoffensive. While the HangTen is a shape that we can only describe as a tube in the shape of a ‘fallen snowman’…which is certainly a different look for a speaker, but with the speakers running along the larger long side of the unit it’s a well thought out a functional little speaker (but more on that later.
The speakers come in three colour options, a muted all black with a large EXTREME logo on the front, the colourway I have been testing with is the 20th anniversary edition and sports a fetching purple stripe around it and then various skateboards, TVs and Extreme logos, and finally (my favourite) the brightly colourful artist collaboration with its graffiti inspired front. Our editor Tim Bond didn’t share my particular enthusiasm for this model, but if like me you tend towards bright, shiny things this one is a winner.
On top of both speakers are the 4 buttons (power, bluetooth/action, volume up and volume down) and round the back are the micro USB charging port, and Aux in port. The bottom of both the Wallride and the Hangten also have a couple of rubberised feet that prop the speaker up a little more as the base is otherwise chamfered.
It does have to be said that during my time with the speakers one of the rubber feet on the bottom of the Wallride speakers came off. I found it again and stuck it back on, where it has stayed in place since, but still, not great. Otherwise thought, both speakers are well designed and the EXTREME branding adds its own little bit extra (or a lot in the case of the ‘artist’ version).
The speakers are equipped with Bluetooth and NFC so if you have an Android phone pairing with NFC is as easy as touching your phone to the speaker. You can use it as a handsfree device, which is cool, and you can use the Bluetooth/action button to play/pause the music.
Sound quality is decent. I have the speakers set up in the kitchen and connect my phone or laptop to them in the evenings. I listen to a lot of bass heavy music and certainly the bass response in the bigger Wallride is better than you would expect from what is a 10 Watt speaker system with no dedicated subwoofer. This is due to the bass reverberation chambers in the speakers.
What the guys at OTone have explained to us is that they introduced a volume level limiter to avoid distortion when you are playing music loud. It is true that these speakers can fill a large room with sound, however the bass volume is limited lower than the treble and so beyond a certain point only the treble gets louder. I understand the reason for this, and the only real solution to this is to get a proper set of desktop speakers, but it is disappointing nonetheless.
The Bluetooth range and signal strength are good, the battery life is good, I charge them maybe every 2 weeks and I use them fairly frequently. So all in all, both speakers have what they need to have and do what they need to do well.
This is the sadly the achilles heel for both speakers…the price. The Wallride is currently available for £89.99 and the Hangten for £79.99, which is a little bit too much money for what you are getting. There are no extra features like accredited waterproofing, or an app the change the EQ, these are both just a competent Bluetooth speaker.
You wouldn’t regret buying these speakers by any means, they sound clear, play loud and have enough bass response to not totally neuter listening to RnB and battery life is good. However, there are more feature filled, better sounding speakers on the market for the money, so the EXTREME branding and looks are going to have to sway you to go for one of these. If you can find either of these for closer to the £60 mark though, you’re onto a winner.
In summary, a decent set of speakers. OTone is a British company (run by a lovely bunch of guys from Manchester) and their EXTREME speakers are certainly in a unique position on the market in terms of catering to the action sports enthusiast so overtly.
The design, artwork and EXTREME brand are going to be a major factor in your decision to by these speakers, but if you do buy them you’re not going to be disappointed. But there are better speakers out there at the Wallride and HangTen’s current price point.