Review: Divoom’s Voombox Travel
I’m constantly amazed at both how good and how horrible small, rechargeable speakers can sound. Divoom’s extremely UN”box”-like Voombox Travel ($49.95 at Amazon) falls “squarely” in the former’s category, delivering impressive sound and surprising bass (and weight) given its size.
Looking a bit like an over-sized pocket watch (or some have said, grenade), the Voombox Travel is a 2-inch speaker surrounded by a rugged and water-resistant housing that makes the thing feel like a hockey puck, only more solid. 9.6 ounces may not sound heavy (or maybe it does) but that is 1.8 ounces more than the weight of 2 iPhone 5S’s. Still, as the name implies, the Voombox Travel is meant to be portable, and enjoyed outside where you will be thankful for the extra protection that added weight brings along.
The sound coming from the Voombox is not going to replace your home stereo, but it certainly might replace your existing portable speaker. The Voombox can get impressively loud with respectable low-end (although there IS a bit of distortion at very high volumes) and should provide plenty of rich sound at the beach, pool, hiking, or just lying out on the deck.
The rugged build of the Voombox Travel is designed to protect it from the elements (although not truly waterPROOF, it is water resistant). There is a thick rubber band around the edge of the Voombox which contains a set of volume buttons, a Power button/Speaker phone button, and finally a micro USB port which is hidden under a flap of rubber to protect against water.
The Voombox is designed to connect via Bluetooth, but the included microUSB charging cable also contains a split-off mini audio jack which allows you to connect the Voombox to pretty much ANY device. Charging the Voombox takes about 2 hours, and the battery should last you just over 6 hours (although you scroll down to our “Issues” section for a quick warning about battery life).
Pairing the Voombox is easy, and you can actually pair two devices simultaneously. The speakerphone button allows you to answer and hangup calls as well, if you are one of those people that like EVERYONE to hear your phone conversations. In general the bluetooth worked well, but for me the connection got iffy around 17-20 feet, which is still my main gripe with bluetooth. Hopefully the next-generation of Bluetooth’s promise of increased range will hold up.
One thing to keep in mind with the Voombox is that there is a definite UP and DOWN side to the speaker – literally. The speaker sounds very good when lying flat, logo-side up on a table or other relatively flat surface. This allows the bass to have something to project against. However, the built-in carabiner would perhaps imply that you could hook it to your backpack or bike, and let it dangle as it blasts out the tunes. While you certainly CAN, it does not sound nearly as good when held vertically or even in your hand as it does when lying flat.
The only real issue I found with the Voombox Travel is there did not appear to be any sort of auto-power-off feature. Many bluetooth speakers I use will shut themselves off if no audio has been played out of them for 15 minutes or so. This is great as it saves battery if you forget to power the speaker off or simply walk out of range for too long. So the 6 hours of battery life is rated for playtime, but if you do not remember to press the power button when done, even if you have only played it 3 hours, expect to find it completely drained the next morning.
Honestly, for $50 I cannot see anyone being disappointed with the Voombox Travel. It is compact enough to fit in any bag, delivers rich sound at impressive volume, has a built-to-last design and can even take an accidental pool-side splash. It’s a great summertime speaker.
Price: $49.99 Amazon
Pros: Great sound, respectable bass, very portable, water-resistant and well-built, rechargeable battery for outdoor trips
Cons: No auto-shut off. Sound can distort at very high volumes