While browsing on Amazon I was inquiring more information about the LaMetric Time Wi-Fi clock, that was until I saw its very expensive price point, which sort of steered me away from making a purchase. Don't get me wrong, it's an impressive device with some interesting features, but the price justification was not enough to warrant me to peel out the Benji's from my wallet. Then suddenly I had a moment of "what do we have here" as I stumbled upon a similar device that caught interest, the Divoom Aurabox, its similar in that there's an animated pixels display, not similar is its ability to output sound.
So I chanced it and went on ahead and purchased the Divoom Aurabox Bluetooth speaker. It's been sitting on my studio table for two weeks now, putting it through an battery of tests, listening to musical tunes it outputs, even had the liberty of taking it with me on my daily ventures to Starbucks and place of employment.
My opinion on this audio gadget may or may not deter you from a purchase if you desire to cop these Bluetooth speakers. So without further ramble, I bring you this review.
First Off We Have The Design
The overall design of the Aurabox is as the name implies, it's box like, but also its simplistic and very compact, measuring in at 3' x5 inch, graces the palms of my hands with ease. Unlike most Bluetooth speakers I've come across, it's rubber not plastic that dominates a great portion of the device, nice and sturdy, enough so that if had sudden case of the oops and drop it on solid ground it won't succumb to any cracks or shatter to pieces.
The pixel display covers the frontal portion of the Aurabox, flip it around there is the actual audio driver. Simple compact design on any device for me almost always garnishes my attention.
The App and Bluetooth Connection
Before we talk about app because without it the Aurabox is useless, the Bluetooth connection was seamless which what you should expect with it being version 4.0, there were no issues as far as disconnection is concern. Seriously, I can separate the speaker from the smartphone for about 30 feet in range before there is spotty connection. Besides the pixel display which is the main attraction to the Aurabox, it's the app which controls the entire device. You can set it to view notifications that appear on your smartphone, not every single notification like sports scores, or news updates, but the basic notification that includes text messages, social media updates, even WhatsApp. You can also set your alarm which works by the way. You can control the pixel animation and pixel design. And yes, very important, you can set your clock.
The Aurabox is ineffective without the app, more importantly the app operates smoothly without any sort of crashing or bugs. The app itself is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, which you can download from respective app stores.
It's Features and Functionality
Despite it being reasonably price cheap, the Aurabox includes some very useful features, there's a micro USB port which enables users to charge the device from any power source, an audio jack giving you the option to play music directly from any laptop so as long as it have the same audio jack. Interestingly enough, there are buttons on the top portion of the device which allows you to control the power ( on/off button) increase/decrease volume, long press and short press previous song that's being played on your smartphone or tablet and there's even a button to alter the lighting effects on the pixel display. There's also the play button, press and it will allow you to take incoming calls from your smartphone. If there's critique I have with the features, it really comes in the line of accessories as the micro-USB cable that came with the Aurabox is to miniature in length.
Probably the biggest selling point for me is its overall functionality of the Aurabox, it's not limited to just outputting audio. Its a multipurpose, multifaceted device that acts as an alarm clock, a speaker phone. You can also entertain yourself by engaging with the animated pixels you see dancing right before your eyes.
The LED Pixel lights though
If there's one big issue I have with Divoom Aurabox Bluetooth speakers its the LED pixel lights, its functional and much appreciated but the brighteness a bit hard on the eyes. Seriously, I can literally illuminate an entire pitch black room with shadows being cast from various objects in the room, it's really that bright. There is no way to adjust the lighting via app or physical button. Here's a request for Divoom from a paid consumer ( which is me), implement a feature that allows one the ability to either power off the lights, or dim it that's visually acceptable.
There's a 2000 mAh battery within the Aurabox, now if follow me via social media or maybe stumbled upon some of my artciles, then you'd know my biggest pet peeve with any device is battery life. Manufactures incorporate batteries that seemingly have a limited life cycle relegated to just a few hours. The AuraBox speakers is no exception, in my experienced use I was able to squeeze 5 hours of battery power, that's just being in its idle state. I suspect the contributing factor to the devices rapid depletion of battery power could be LED lighting and of course Bluetooth connection which is almost always is the culprit.
And the sound?
Anyone that purchases Bluetooth speakers that retails well below $50 ($29.99 to be exact) should not expect great sound output. The Aurabox shockingly, surprisingly have little bit of boom to its sound, not bad for $29.99. The clarity of sound is decent without any distortion, even while sound is cranked up to a higher level. Divoom are in the business of making Bluetooth speakers, so it should not comes as a surprise if even with the low end variant there is decent sound.
The Good, The Bad, Final Impression
First what's good about the Aurabox is its nicely compact design which can easily fitting in any backpack no matter how much space have. You can place it anywhere on your desk or bookshelf without it compromising any space, even blending well with your books you have aligned on your bookshelf . The pixel lights is a bit gimmicky but practical allowing one to view time and smartphone notifications and even engage with graphic animation. Oh, the sound? Surprisingly not bad. There is some proverbial boom to the tunes that comes out of that one single speaker.
Then there's the bad, the pixels that dangles before your eyes that's displayed in the front of the speakers are nauseatingly to bright, there is no physical button to adjust the brightness nor can you adjust it via app. Oh and the battery life, well lack thereof. As I mentioned a few paragraphs back , even hours of inactivity the battery power still rapidly drains.
So here's my impression of Divooms Aurabox Bluetooth speakers, if you desperately got to have some Bluetooth speakers and are in the shopping hunt for em and want high end quality sound, then I suggest you opt for a more pricey option which Divoom does manufacture, the Voombox comes to mind and would be your obvious choice.
For me the Aurabox is more of a novelty item that you can place nicely on your desk, blast some tunes while you're working from the confines of the office. Given its inexpensive price point there is some interesting features that's unseen on any other high end Bluetooth speakers I've ever owned, that's triple the price I might add. Yes the Aurabox is not perfect, I mean what gadget is, but it definitely will peak your interest to want to purchase. The pixel lights will definitely grab your attention.
On a quick note: The Divoom Aurabox Bluetooth 4.0 speaker has since gone up in price now retailing for $39.99.