Urbanear Lotsen Speaker Review: A better “smart” speaker clone?
Urbanears has been an audio company for a long time now. It focuses mainly on aesthetics rather than creating the highest audio quality for only prestigious “audiophiles”. The company’s newest project includes a 3-tier family of smarter, connected speakers. These include the Baggen at the high end, Stammen in the middle, and the Lotsen on the low end. I’ve received the Lotsen to review. This family of speakers seems to rival the similar families from Sonos (Play series) and Bose (Soundtouch series).
I’m already heavily invested in Sonos’ lineup. So, while not only reviewing this speaker, I got the chance to compare it to its biggest rival.
Setup and Features
The initial setup of the Lotsen wasn’t tricky at all. Plug in and turn on for the physical speaker, and app setup was pretty straightforward. The app, ‘Connected Speakers’ which you download for free on Google Play, allows for a host of settings changes. You can set up the preset channels or change music quality, and directly stream music from your device.
Speaking of preset channels, the Lotsen features a second dial on top that allows you to switch from Bluetooth, wifi, or preset channels. The Bluetooth and wifi selects are pretty self-explanatory and work as advertised.
Channels are something unique to the Lotsen speaker. You can (using the app) assign Spotify playlist, radio channels, and more to a set channel. From there, you can then turn the dial to start up that particular choice without using a device. I’ve set mine up to a few different Spotify radio playlists. Now I can leisurely listen to music without having got pull out my phone first.
With the ability to do Bluetooth, Aux, Wifi, Airplay, Google Cast, and a somewhat native Spotify, there isn’t a connectivity feature I miss.
Urbanears Lotsen speaker is designed to fill a similar space that a Sonos One would, on a side table, bookshelf, or pair up in stereo in separate corners of a room. The Lotsen does a good job filling a room with sound, but honestly, I was hoping for more regarding quality.
The Lotsen contains a primary driver and a tweeter to the front, so no surround or 360 sound. For someone like me that listen to a lot of urban (RnB, Hip Hop, etc.) and electronic genres, I like some bass in my audio devices.
It doesn’t deliver super deep bass, especially at quieter volumes. The bass and even the treble of this speaker is “safe.” It doesn’t wow the audio geek in you, but it does perform at a standard level. Unfortunately, it isn’t only the lower levels that suffer, but the highest levels suffer a bit too. Not that you wouldn’t want to listen to the Lotsen at higher volumes, but it’ll start to get messy.
With all that said, this speaker is solid in sound for what it is. Especially when you consider the features it offers (Airplay, Google Cast, Bluetooth, AUX, AND without a phone) for the price it’s set. Looking at the Losten reveals a speaker that fills a room in a variety of ways that can support any general consumer. Overall the audio is balanced but teeters off at super low or super loud volumes.
Design and Availability
While offering a decent sound signature that can easily fill a bed or living room, the Urbanears Lotsen has a unique look. The Lotsen is a rectangular brick of a speaker with four small feet on the bottom to raise it for that the power cable. That brick design is made of plastic and covered with fabric to hide what I assume is a speaker grill. The fabric does add a nice aesthetic touch though. It comes in 5 different colors and doesn’t scream ‘smart speaker.’ This technique is evident in all of Urbanear’s products, where the company may not cram all of the latest specs into its product, contemporary design is also at the forefront.
The Lotsen is available to purchase for $200 at Urbanears website, Amazon, and a host of other online stores. Again for that price, you could buy a competitor’s speaker. You may then would have to sort through a pro/con list to make sure of your decision. Urbanears also offer the Stammen and Baggen speakers of the family for 250 and 350 respectively. For only $50 more, it’s hard not to see if the Stammen improves on the Lotsen’s audio shortcomings.
In the end, this speaker is for a customer who cares about modern design as much as a decent sound. That person doesn’t want to always fiddle with their phone to hear some of their favorite music. They also may host a small party mode type of environment, including being able to host a variety other devices. If you solely care about audio quality and are ok with losing out on some unique features the Urbanears Lotsen is not for you.