Recently, SonicGear via their brand owner, LeapFrogGlobal, passed us the SonicGear Pandora 3, their flagship model with 16 Watts. Coming in a sleek black finish, the Pandora 3 looks good upon unboxing. What surprised me was that it was bigger in dimensions compared to Jawbone’s Big Jambox, which was averagely large, with a dimension of 256mm x 80mm x 93mm. The Pandora 3 was not only longer, but also wider and taller.
SonicGear has been around Malaysia for sometime. Always known for their low to lower mid end offerings in computer shops like those in Low Yat and Sungai Wang Plaza such as ThunderMatch, C-zone and Jayacom, it was a pleasant surprise to find that the Pandora 3 look reasonably well made and an upgrade in the direction of SonicGear.
Unpacking the Pandora 3 was a simple affair. The box it came in looked not out-of-place in any computer shop. However, for it to look in place with the rest of the Mac accessories in an Apple store, perhaps a cleaner design would help.
After unboxing, I found that we could only power up the bluetooth speaker via a power cable, which was 1 meter at best. As such, it had to sit on top of my trusty HP printer. If only the cable was longer. Or if we had a built in battery, like the Jawbone.
Powering it up via Bluetooth, I like how it sounded better than my built in Macbook Air speakers. However, testing it against my Japan Import Audio Technica headphones, which I use for sound balancing in church, I found it like day and night. Though the bass adds broadness to the sound, very often I could not hear the nitty gritty portions clearly. It was as if the songs played via Spotify was good, but yet muddled.
At times, the bluetooth connection would stutter, though I would be only two to three meters from the SonicGear Pandora 3. As such, I would need to restart both the laptop and bluetooth speaker before connection is resumed again. Perhaps it was a problem with the Mac? However, upon scouring the web, I still couldn’t find any information that the problem would be with the Mac, instead of the Bluetooth device.
Would we recommend the SonicGear Pandora 3?
As audiophiles ourselves, we would recommend you save the money for a Jawbone. Indeed, the SonicGear Pandora 3 is a reasonable attempt at bluetooth speakers, but it does need further refinement in Digital Signal Processing and also in having more versatile speakers that could bring clarity into the muddled mid and lower mid sections.
Our verdict? Skip this, but good try SonicGear!Â We were disappointed with the bluetooth issues that the Pandora 3 was facing. Perhaps it would be addressed soon.