Orbitsound P70W Soundbar Review
Overpriced and disappointing
What is the Orbitsound One P70W?To get the best home cinema experience, firstly you need a 4K TV that can support all the latest standards such as Dolby Vision and HDR, then you need a decent surround sound system. Whilst most already have a big screen TV, a surround sound system may be not possible due to the room layout or the likeliest scenario is that a particular member of the family that must be obeyed at all times has said that "under no circumstances are you putting five ugly speakers up on my wall".
Well fear not, there is a solution that can drastically improve your TV’s sound and won’t ruin the room’s all important décor. That solution is the soundbar. Available in various shapes and sizes, designed to sit in front or just below the TV and in some cases such as a soundbase, to have the TV sit on top of it. Starting from around just £50 to well over £1,000 a Soundbar can instantly improve your audio experience and banish that sub-par TV audio forever.
Our review item from British audio specialists Orbitsound, is their One P70W Soundbar. This offers Orbitsounds’ patented Airsound technology which creates a true stereo soundfield in all listening positions. Together with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and optical connections, an integrated subwoofer and a multiple orientation design – which basically means you can have it flat in front of a TV, or in a different orientation flat against a wall. The One P70W is priced at £399, so it has a lot to prove against other similarly priced soundbars, including the excellent M2 Soundbase from Q Acoustics that we reviewed recently. Read on to see if the One P70w has the performance to match the price...
Design, Connections and Control?The instant you take it out of the box the impressive design and superb build quality screams out at you. Our review sample has an all-black finish (although it is also available in all-white or with an attractive wooden bamboo finish) and looks stunning. To the front, sides and top are black metal grilles with a solid black edging and the cabinet feels very well made and sufficiently meaty. The Orbitsound logo sits proudly on the top of the unit and thinking of everything, Orbitsound have made the logo removable so it can be reversed for when you have the soundbar in a different orientation.
To the side is the main control panel for power, volume, source, Wi-Fi setup and Bluetooth pairing. These controls, when used together in various configurations, also allow for system reset, IR learning mode, orientation flip and optical volume boost. Very neatly hidden away underneath the unit are the power, auxiliary and optical connections. Unfortunately and somewhat surprisingly considering the price, there are no HDMI inputs or outputs with this unit.
The cabinet itself is 700mm wide x 173mm deep and 77mm high with a rather chunky weight of 5.1kg, although in the audio world, heavier is often considered better. It’s a decent size for a soundbar so shouldn’t look out of place underneath some of the larger sized TVs.
Specifications and Features
- Frequency Response: +/- 3dB 58Hz - 17.5kHz
- Response Controls LF: (subwoofer) +/- 8dB
- Response Controls HF: 10kHz +/- 10dB
- Drivers Main: Top and front 2" Orbitsound MK4
- Sub-bass: Low-profile 5.25" driver
- Airsound: 2 x 2" Orbitsound MK4 drivers
How was it setup and tested?As with most soundbars the setup is very easy and should take just a couple of minutes. The Bluetooth pairing is quick and worked perfectly first time with a connection that was solid and suffered no dropouts. With the inclusion of Wi-Fi you are required to download the free Orbitsound app which is available on both iOS and Android. This app is used to setup the Wi-Fi connection and then can be used to play back audio from various sources such as Apple Music, Spotify and Napster for example.
We tested this using all the available sources, including optical from our TV with Netflix and Amazon, Optical from our Blu-ray player and SkyQ and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi from our Apple iPhone with a variety of music. The downside of reviewing a soundbar so soon after the superb Q Acoustics M2 is that the Orbitsound One P70W has a hell of a lot to live up to, which unfortunately it did not.
PerformanceThe One P70W is beautifully designed but has a performance that doesn't match its priceNo soundbar will beat a full 5.1 surround sound system, but if you have gone for a soundbar in the first place, then there are probably several reasons why a multiple speaker system is not possible. Firstly to comment on the Airsound technology, this was very impressive and wherever we chose to sit in the room, the audio remained consistent and balanced across the front sounsdstage. That hard to place sweet spot which you find with some cheaper soundbars was not an issue here.
The bass was also on the weak side for our liking, you’ll never match a separate subwoofer with just a 5.25” driver, but we expected better here. It’s by no means terrible and does have a good level of bass and is heard at the appropriate times, it just needed a lot more oomph. Turn the bass to maximum and it just becomes far too thumpy and affects the overall sound quality.
With various sources such as Movies and TV including sport and music from Apple Music and our music library the audio came across well and vocals were clear and precise, but it just lacks that level of quality we would have expected with a Soundbar costing £399. Playing back our current favourite, the Hans Zimmer Live in Prague Blu-ray, the audio was too flat for our liking, with that room filling dynamic sound we expected to hear absent.
It may appear that we are being all negative here with the performance and whilst it’s not brilliant, it certainly isn’t terrible, just decidedly average. It’s not like you have plugged a couple of cheap stereo speakers into the TV for example and if we were reviewing this without knowing the price it may have changed our mindset, but we expected an altogether different level of performance from a soundbar a penny shy of £400.
- Beautifully designed
- Good volume level
- Impressive Airsound technology
- Stylish remote
- Weak bass
- No HDMI connection
- Wi-Fi volume too low
Orbitsound P70W Soundbar Review
Should I buy one?At £399 the One P70W from Orbitsound is in the higher end soundbar bracket and on the design and build quality side of things it is well worth that price tag. The cabinet is beautifully designed with a superb look and feel to it. With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Optical and Aux it does offer a good level of connections, features and versatility, particularly with the addition of being able to use it in multiple orientations. HDMI would have been a nice addition though, something we would expect to see at this price point.
Where it doesn’t quite cut it is the performance. It offers a decent level of audio quality from whichever source you care to try and the integrated subwoofer does try its best, but the overall audio quality does not match the price tag. It doesn’t have the presence or soundstage to warrant paying £399. Knock £150 off and then you may be getting somewhere. It has the style and build quality, just not enough substance.
What alternatives are available?There is plenty of competition amongst soundbars right now, especially at £399. The Q Acoustics M2 Soundbase is one that immediately springs to mind and whilst it doesn’t have Wi-Fi it is £100 cheaper and sonically wipes the floor with the One P70W. Orbitsound’s own non-wireless P70 is available for just £199.99 which is a price tag that about matches the audio performance we experienced. Paying £200 more for what is an identical product but just with Wi-Fi doesn’t make any sense at all. Overall a bit of a disappointment.
Ease of use9
Value for Money6
Our Review Ethos
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- Frequency Response: +/- 3dB 58Hz - 17.5kHz