First and foremost, I would like to thank the very kind gentlemen, Joemar, over from Eagle’s World for sending me the product for review. The FREE-D Ditto, can also be bought from their Amazon store for £180, and also can be bought internationally too.
Now unto the product itself – The Ditto is my first ever vibration speaker I have ever owned; they do it’s a first for everything, and a vibration speaker is a first for me! Now the technology behind a vibration speaker, has been around for a little while, but has never been successful, simply due to its reasonably higher cost for the performance given, in comparison to your ordinary, conventional dynamic speaker. An example of a dynamic, portable, speaker would be the X-mini, which took the world by storm with its small size, with a large sound. In other words it packed quite a punch and was affordable for the “masses”.
Will the Ditto change that? Well let’s see just that, in this review!
First of all, here is my video overview/review on it:
Now unto the written review:
For the written review, I’ll go through several categories, outlining each of them, and then finally reaching my conclusion on the product itself.
Packaging, accessories & package contents
The packaging of the Ditto, is reasonably nice, although there isn’t anything special. I did find it perfectly sized though, in ensuring the product is protected, especially if you want to transport it safely.
Within the package, you will find a sleuth of things:
-The Ditto uni
-A Kingston 2GB Micro SD card
-2x Lithium CR 2025 batteries
-USB Wall Charger
I was really surprised to not only find the extra lithium battery, but also the inclusion of the micro SD card. Usually, manufacturers, wouldn’t include it, as that’s your own choice of putting something into the device. I thus found that excellent of FREE-D of including it, even though I didn’t use it.
The shockproof pad, that’s included, is quite a useful thing for the vibration speaker. It is used for always maintaining a flat, and clean surface for the Ditto. It’s a thin piece of plastic, with a magnetic-esk “stick”. It works as intended, and is great for maintaining that speaker sound, that the Ditto produces.
The wall charger, has a USB input, and thus can be used for other appliances too, which is convenient for charging random electric devices. The charge for the Ditto, is reasonably long, however that’s mainly due to its (probably) big lithium in-built battery. The wire that’s used to recharge the Ditto, is also convenient, as on one end its a micro USB, and on the other a USB cable and a straight 3.5mm jack (which is unfortunately not gold plated).
The remote, is very thin, which is great, and is reasonably sized. however, I don’t know if this is a problem with the Ditto, or the remote, but the range of the remote wasn’t too good (around 5m range) and on top of that, I had to aim it DIRECTLY to the front of the Ditto. If aimed up, or a little down, then the sensor on the Ditto, wouldn’t pick it up. This was one of the biggest flaws of the Ditto, as the remote became near useless, apart from tweaking the treble and bass settings (more on that a little later)
Overall, I was more than happy with the packaging, and accessories provided.
Build quality, design, and functionality
The build quality of the Ditto, is solid; Very well built, and more so the design is very elegant. I feel that this could survive quite a beating, and still stay as beautiful as it is. I do have to say that it is a little bit of a finger print magnet, due to its glossy finish.
The Ditto itself is a square shaped device, with an ON/OFF (main) switch, located at the back; a TF card/micro SD card slot and charging input on the left; and finally has touch-screen buttons at the top (right) of the device. At the top, you’ll find an ON/OFF switch, an input, play/pause, Bluetooth, previous, next, volume up and finally a volume down button. Underneath the device there are 4 “legs” that hold it securely on the surface. In the centre, you’ll see that there is a circular looking shape. That, is the vibration speaker, which is “layered” with a sticky material. The sticky surface the vibration speaker has, picks up dirt, like there’s no tomorrow, however, this can be easily cleaned by wiping a wet cloth or finger over it.
Now, unto the functionality; the Ditto has 3 inputs:
-TF card, also known as micro SD
The 3.5mm jack works as intended, so there isn’t much to comment on that, just hook it up to your source, and you’re good to go!
Now the Bluetooth, is for me the best thing about it, as the range is reasonably decent 8-10m (although after that range it becomes problematic), and it works pretty well. It should be noted that there is a lag, say when changing songs, and thus there isn’t an immediate response in the song change, or the audio change that occurs on your source, in my case the Samsung Galaxy S III. Hooking it up to my phone was no problem too – all I had to do is switch on Bluetooth, and pair it with the Ditto using code “0000”. once connected, I then had to tick the audio and/or the call functionality, for the Ditto to be in use with my phone.
Finally the TF card slot (I will refer to the TF card as the micro SD card) – the Ditto immediately (without hesitation or lag) picked up my songs on my own samsung micro SD card. The problem I found here with this input was the fact that there was no shuffle button, which meant that it played what it found first, in my case, it found 3 separate files located on a separate location of my micro SD card, and then went ahead in playing from A to Z my music. This for me was a bit of a disappointment, as going to say the artist “Pitbull” would have been tedious. Here it would have been better to have a “shuffle” button, at least allowing me to randomly go to the middle of the list, rather than go through my entire music collection.
I should also note, that on the box, the Ditto accepts a maximum of 32 GB, and not more. Which I find perfectly reasonable, although it does beg the question that the device is a £180 device.
Overall, the inputs were good, although, the functionalities of the micro SD card, were a little let down, when it came to filtering through your music.
Now for the controls, I found the device itself to be lacking the bass, treble controls, which can be found on the remote. I didn’t like needing to reach out for the remote, when I had the device in front of me. That said, I did find that having the remote (at distance) pretty useless, as it would have to be pointed directly, in one straight direction to the Ditto. This meant that often I found myself being in reaching distance of the Ditto, to control it. For such a premium product, I would have at least expected the remote to work from one side of the room to the other, whilst pointing it in the opposite direction. I also just to be sure, checked the battery, and replaced it with a brand new battery I bought – but that did nothing.
Finally the charging – the charge of the device I would say takes roughly 2-3hrs, to charge from 0 to 100%, and takes around 20-30hrs of constant playback to become depleted. Although don’t quote me on that, but that’s my reasonable estimate on the battery life, and the time it takes to charge.
Now the sound quality, arguably the most important thing of any audio equipment.
First of all, I would like to say that as the Ditto, is a vibration speaker, it’s very hard to judge the actual sound quality of the device, as it really depends on where you put it! On my desk, the “soundstage” is very open, wide and spread out. In my wardrobe, the bass is very much more prominent, but sounds like the sound is coming out of a box. On my Logitech Z-5500 bass, the sound is good, but with over-powered bass. On my drawers, as they have a granite/stone top, the sound is empty.
As you can see the sound is very much respective of the material it’s place on. I found the best is a wooden box, that is hollow. This is like the inside of my Logitech sound system, or any higher-end sound system, as it resonates very well, and provides a loud speaker-esk sound. Relating to this, as you can see, this is also a huge drawback of having a vibration speaker. One cannot simply take the vibration speaker and put it on grass, on a carpet, or any other soft material; whereas your conventional speaker will not have a single problem when put on these surfaces. I shall draw back to this in my conclusion.
For the actual sound quality, I found the whole spectrum to be very reliant on the material, but I shall take my table as the benchmark, as I felt the sound was arguably the best on it. The mids I felt were very sensitive, and it was extremely hard finding that perfect balance between the bass and treble, whilst adjusting the Ditto. Although, once found, after some tweaking, you’ll find yourself wit ha nice sounding audio device. I felt the bass was by far its strongest point. As it works via vibration, the vibration could be felt throughout the floor of my room (depending on what level you putt he bass on) – this was certainly impressive, especially seeing as my X-mini would distort when put loud, whereas the Ditto, was rock solid, and never distorted once. it even started vibrating my phone off the table, it was that good! Finally the highs, I felt were rolled off, and again, this depends on the surface, but I felt overall the highs were either a little too bright or just lacking.
Overall the sound quality was good, although not great and/or amazing.
Conclusions and final thoughts
I felt the Ditto was a really nice product overall, even though it has its remote problems (which bear in mind could be an isolated case) – that said it has to be compared to other products.
I felt that if I wanted a speaker, I wouldn’t really care all that much about the distortion a cheaper speaker, like the X-mini would do whilst in the park. This leads me on to the actual pricing of the product; £180 is quite a large sum of money to dish out on a “portable” speaker. Most people would prefer to spend a maximum of £20, and I’m one of those people. More so, due to the nature of the vibration speaker (and its weight), it cannot be taken to the park, and be played properly. It needs to be sitting on a flat surface, preferably at home. But then, why would I want a speaker at home, which sounds terrible in comparison to my Logitech Z-5500? Bearing in mind my sound system is 500watts, at the price of £230 (2 years ago, it has since been replaced by the Z906). So the vibration speaker for me, would in my opinion, appeal to a very niche market. People who are like me, and just need a speaker for the outdoors (even though my SGS3 can blast out a loud sound) would buy something considerably cheaper, and people who are at home, would look for a dock, or a proper sound system, at the same price, if not even cheaper.
This is why vibration speakers haven’t been all that popular, and its not only after owning one that I’ve realised why. I do admit, it’s totally awesome to have a vibration speaker, especially to show my friends, but apart from that, and the first week of owning it, you start to think: “Is this really worth it?”.
That’s in conclusion, my honest and blunt opinion; If this product was priced at around £50, or even £80, due to its Bluetooth functionalities, then I would agree that it’s a brilliantly priced product, but like most things I review, I go based on price for performance and in this case functionality too. I do feel after reading other reviews and looking at other speakers, that the Ditto is by far the BEST vibration speaker out there in the market – End of the day, it depends on you, and what you want.
Hope you enjoyed the review!