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Harman Kardon Omni 20+ and Omni 10+ Review

The Omni 20 and 10+ were released a few months ago along with their bigger brother the 50+. I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on them and have been playing all my music on the two gorgeous speakers for a few weeks now and here’s what I think about them. The 20+ is nested on my office desk where I game and do work while the 10+ is situated on a shelf at the foot of my bed.

The Harman Kardon Omni 10+

Design

The 20+ is the larger of the two speakers and both the speakers come in the colour options of black and white. The design, as far as I know, has not changed from the Omni series without the plus. The unit I received was the black one for the 20 and the white for the 10+. Both the 20 and the 10+ have a really solid and premium feel to them. The power adapter, 3.5mm jack and reset button are situated at the bottom of the speaker, making it a tough process to turn the speaker upside down to insert the cable or use the reset button. Overall, I have almost qualms about the design of the Omni+ series and I think they give off a luxurious vibe and they can blend in well with any type of decor you have in your rooms.

Set-up and software

Unboxing the speakers was pain-free but the set-up wasn’t. The speakers use the Harman Kardon Remote app available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The speakers’ wifi functions claim to work over both 2.4ghz and 5ghz but it only worked with my 2.4ghz.

I tried to connect to the 5ghz for about 30 minutes too, but I guess it just wasn’t compatible. After connecting it paired quickly with ease. The user experience was not ideal when trying to pair the speakers through wifi. The app could only show the “trying to pair” and “pair failed” notices.

The speaker also only gives flickering light feedback. There was no feedback or suggested fixes. It’s difficult to differentiate the different speeds of light flicker to determine if the speakers are turned on or ready to pair. From forum-diving, it seems that many people have problems pairing their tablets/phones with their speakers so the process is rather arduous, be prepared for no work or a headache.

There’s also strangely 2 versions of the app, Harman Kardon Remote and Harman Kardon Controller. Both icons look exactly the same. The UI for the music player displaying music you have downloaded on your phone is very basic and looks somewhat outdated compared to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.

The app is also severely lacking in basic features like a search function and it’s quite clunky in general. Oh, and it also doesn’t support Apple Music. After the initial pair with the speakers, there’s really no reason to use the HK apps when you can just use Spotify and connect to the speaker from there directly.

Connecting to your PC through wifi seems to be impossible so that leaves you with either Bluetooth or by using a male to male 3.5mm audio cable (which isn’t included in the box). You can also use Google Cast-compatible applications like Pandora, TuneIn etc. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can play audio through the speakers, however, there is a significant lag in the audio which botches any video-watching experience, at least for me. Plain ol’ music playback via Bluetooth works as well as it can – so that’s a plus.

Features and sound

Unfortunately, because I use two wifi networks in my house I was unable to try the one-touch follow me audio and party mode.

The sound on the Omni 20+ is superb. It’s powerful, has strong bass and the audio is very clear. Both the speakers use HD audio with 24-bit/96 kHz studio quality HD audio streaming. Like on its previous speakers, Harman Kardon maintains an excellent standard of sound, however, I don’t think this sound matches up to its almost SGD 600 price tag. The sound on the 10+ is similar despite the footprint of the 10+ being much smaller. The bass is really impressive for its small stature. The presence of both speakers isn’t the best: you can pinpoint it to a single point source. Unlike the Omni 20+, I certainly think that the Omni 10+ is worth its price tag of SGD400.

Both the speakers can be used as part of a system for your home. There are interesting features that are amazing for entertaining and great sound from both of them. But the clunkiness of the app and lack of wireless connectivity options for computers is a tough compromise but you can still enjoy your Spotify music on them.

The Omni 20+ retails for SGD599 while the 10+ retails for SGD399. Both can be purchased at the official Harman Kardon store on Lazada.sg.

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