Vifa is a Danish company with roots far back in time, though many may not have heard of them. Oddly enough, for most of its lifetime, since the beginning of 1933, the company has supplied speaker elements for other manufacturers’ products. However, a few years ago, Vifa decided to invest in its own products, and ‘Oslo’ is the result.
What? The city? No, no, we’re not on the latitudes – ‘Oslo’ is a speaker. If you find the name strange, we can announce that all their speakers are named after capitals, from small Reykjavik to large Stockholm.
Oslo is a medium-sized city and for that reason the Oslo speaker is medium-sized. It has Bluetooth and mini-jack connectivity and is a portable wireless speaker.
To emphasize: it does not have wi-fi, but only Bluetooth connection. It is also very easy to carry, thanks to an integrated carrying handle, but we are not so sure if, for example, we would throw it in the bag on a hike.
Now let’s talk about it: The exterior is primarily made of aluminum and wool and feels very sturdy. In other words, this is so premium that it overlaps with all other wireless speakers we’ve tested. The entire frame is made of one piece of cast, thick aluminum, and the wool upholstery (yes, it also smells of wool) covers the rest of the speaker. Everything flows together in one piece without seams.
Rarely have we tested a product that feels so solid, detailed and well-built by hand. ‘Oslo’ is streamlined and compact, and just by lifting it it’s hard not to be happy. In addition to the green model, it also comes in blue, yellow, black and white.
The sound quality is difficult to assess black and white. Firstly, sound quality is very subjective, and secondly, there is also a wide range of nuances more than a clearly defined boundary between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ sound.
If we are to follow the simplification, however, Vifa Oslo will surely fall on the ‘good’ side here. It should also just be missing with a price tag of so much money.
However, you get a speaker that plays tremendously better than the size first suggests. When the undersigned began playing music for the first time, we almost had to check that there were no more speakers connected because ‘Oslo’ was playing much better than expected.
The sound is powerful, balanced and very defined. It is never close to suffocating neither the top nor the bottom of the register, even at the highest volume. A small minus must be volume, and it may be slightly delicate, because the sound is more than loud enough.
It’s just that when you first experience such good sound, you want to turn up the volume disc further, just to hear a little more.
Most of the music sounds good, but the ‘wow’ experience first occurred when we put on Beethoven’s Fate Symphony (Symphony No. 5). Many classical pieces have the property that, although very complex, they also allow the listener to discern all the different elements of an orchestra.
So if the speaker you are playing the pieces is able to reproduce it in a sensible way. And here we can mention many previously tested speakers that would clearly handle this exercise significantly worse.
Before we let the enthusiasm take over: yes, there is still only one speaker unit, and the stereo perspective and room sense can clearly be better. However, it is a more physical setting than ‘Oslo’ sake, and given the preconditions we cannot say that we have heard much fuller sound in this size class.
Here is a very important nuance to note: ‘Oslo’ is wireless. Similarly, large desktop speakers (typically of the multi-room type) have far better conditions for playing both well and loudly. Both because they do not have to give way to any battery and because they have the ability to use much larger amounts of power straight from the wall.
What ‘Oslo’ achieves is simply unique, and it does not fade in comparison to the slightly larger Urbanears series.
Vifa has created a speaker that is just as exquisite on the sound front as it is exquisite on the outside, and we are impressed.
To play something, you must first connect. Fortunately, it seems that the minimalist thinking from the design is contaminated by the controls, because here Vifa makes it furiously easy.
You have a button on the back. If you hold it in slightly, a yellow ring on the front of the speaker will light through the wool. Then ‘Oslo’ is on. If you press and hold the same button again for a few seconds, the ring will flash blue. Then Oslo is in mating mode.
It doesn’t get much easier. In a time when few phones actually have a definite audio output, the mini jack on the back of the speaker becomes less relevant. So it’s nice that the Bluetooth connection is so simple.
In addition, if you have an Android phone with NFC, you can simply place it on the front where the light ring is and automatically connect the speaker to the mobile. It happens in no time.
How to adjust the sound? There are two dedicated buttons on the front, and you can further use the phone’s built-in volume control. Simple and nice.
On the flip side, however, we find the only really big annoyance to ‘Oslo’: the charging entrance.
It is of the ‘Barrel plug’ type and thus quite proprietary. This should have been a USB Type-C input, simply. There is not much more to say about it.
It is worth mentioning that the battery life is fortunately solid. The undersigned played quite loud music for six to seven hours before ‘Oslo’ ran out, and then it had also been used sporadically before and had not been charged immediately before.
If you play at medium volume, we can see that it can handle 10 hours and more.
It hardly comes as a big shock to you that we recommend Vifa ‘Oslo’. It is an audio quality speaker that outperforms most similar portable speakers, although some may play at a higher volume. Whether they maintain the same high quality, we highly doubt.
‘Oslo’ is both balanced, detailed and very rich in its sound and could easily have been mistaken for larger speakers.
Do you get more sound for your money? Specific. Vifa ‘Oslo’ is a luxury that is few and far between and you should already have a very strong sound in the living room if you choose to spend so much on a portable premium speaker rather than buying some multi-room speakers for the same price.
But if you didn’t plan on having stationary speakers in the room anyway and want a speaker that can play on par with its competitors, well, then ‘Oslo’ is a good alternative. The desire for great location flexibility and maximum sound quality in the same carriage holds all the way.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to argue that you are likely to be happy with the sound of ‘Oslo’ when you first own one.