Reviewing the DKnight MagicBox II
A few weeks ago, I was browsing my "Tech Deals" list on Twitter. I read about some bluetooth speaker for $30, then had to re-read the tweet. No, I hadn't read wrong: the speaker was on sale for $30, and normally cost around $130. I'd been wanting a bluetooth speaker anyway, and $100 off was too good to pass up. A few days later, I unpacked my DKnight MagicBox II.
I bought this item not knowing how it looked, whether the buttons would be accessible, etc. I just knew it had a good rating and sounded nice. Plus… $100 off. That sale has passed, but if you're looking at dropping $100-$150 on a high-quality speaker, you should consider this one.
The DKnightMagicBox II Bluetooth speaker offers great quality sound with the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology. It features two highly powerful 40mm total 10W acoustic drivers for excellent sound. With the ultra-compact size and the soft touch rubber design, it can be easily fitted into a backpack, suitcase, or a travel bag. The built-in 2000 mAh rechargeable battery enables an 10-12 hours of playtime on a single charge.
This speaker is strong enough to fill up a kitchen, living room, or classroom. It is ideal for personal usage, indoor party or outdoor BBQ or picnic with friends and family.
- Same Size (6 x 2 x 1.6 inches) with the original MagicBox, but implemented with 10W total acoustic drivers and optimized passive radiator. It could provide 30% louder volume and richer Bass than the original MagicBox.
- The latest Bluetooth V4.0 technology, Compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices (2.1 and over).
- Built in 2000 mAh rechargeable battery lasts up to 12 hours.
- Connect any non-Bluetooth device via 3.5mm port.
- Small and compact. Size is 6 x 2 x 1.6 inches. Only weighted 11.5 ounces.
- Soft touch rubber that surrounds the speaker. No worries about slipping or scratching the wood.
- MagicBoxII Bluetooth 4.0 speaker
- MagicBoxII Bass Pad
- 3.5mm Audio cable
- Micro USB charging cable
- Quick start mannual
The speaker itself is a rectangular prism (for the geometry geeks). It is a little taller than it is deep; if you look at just the smaller faces, the proportions remind me a bit of a matchbox, but scaled up slightly. The two drivers sit behind a grill on the front, the buttons are on top, and the ports and on/off switch are on the right side. The top and bottom are covered with a soft material that feels like a mix of rubber and silicone, as the Amazon description states. This material is also present on the edges of the front, back, and side faces, letting you place the speaker anywhere and still have only the rubber touch whatever is holding the device. This rubber also makes it less likely that the speaker will slide around or fall, and lets you position it on its base (completely covered with rubber) or on its back. The front, left, and back faces are a plastic mesh, which feels extremely sturdy with no give at all. The right face is smooth plastic.
One feature I need in a bluetooth speaker is physical playback controls. If I have to pull out my phone, pause my media so I don't miss anything while VoiceOver talks, make the playback change I want, resume playback, then lock my phone again, the speaker isn't as good as it could be. Fortunately, the MagicBox II includes a full set of controls. With the speaker facing you, the ports on your right, and the buttons facing the ceiling, your controls--from left to right--are:
- volume down
- volume up
- fast forward
- answer phone call (press and hold to re-dial the last number your phone called)
The only other physical features on this speaker are for charging, audio input, and turning the unit on and off. These appear on the right face, near the back, in a vertical line. From top to bottom, they are:
- on/off slide switch (the "off" position is closer to the ceiling)
- micro USB charging port
- 3.5mm jack
Using the MagicBox
In use, the speaker does very well. It can go loud, and it has a very nice sound to it. The bass won't blow you away, but it's not supposed to. It is certainly present, though, and I find audio to be well-balanced and pleasant to listen to. Yes, there is stereo separation between the two speakers built into the MagicBox, but you'll hardly notice that from any distance.
I have so far made one phone call, which worked fine. The person on the other end was also on a bluetooth headset, so it wasn't a great test of my speaker. Still, we heard each other alright. I'll probably use this for conference calls instead of a headset or my phone's internal speakers. Voices sound less shrill than they do on the phone, and I seem to be easily audible through the microphone built into the MagicBox.
What's bad about this speaker? I've noticed that the volume controls don't affect VoiceOver speech volume, which could be iOS and not the speaker. Still, they control media volume with no problem, so I'm not too concerned there. The speaker doesn't make any noise when turned off, though it does make a series of tones when you turn it on. Finally, if I'm being very picky, the controls all feel the same. They are round rubber buttons with concave surfaces, spaced equally down the line. There is no shape or spacing difference to let me quickly pick out a given button, so I often find myself counting in from one edge or another. Of course, adhesive dots or some other tactile marker could easily fix this.
At the sale price of $30, this speaker was a true steal. It sounds great, feels solid, has tactile buttons and switch, and does everything I want a speaker to do, while being portable. If there are any downsides, they are minor and easily adjusted to. Is it worth $130--the normal price? I don't have much experience with bluetooth speakers, so I don't know. There's a JBL Flip in the house which sold for $100, and this sounds as good as that, but includes a microphone and my beloved playback controls. The best I can say is that, to me, this speaker competes well with others in its price bracket. For a visually impaired user, the on/off switch and easy-to-feel controls are a big plus. I also appreciate the use of micro USB for charging; the Flip uses a special connector, so if I lose that, I'd have to try to find another. Micro USB cables, and power sources that work with them, are a dime a dozen.
Overall, I'm quite happy with the DKnight MagicBox II so far, and would recommend it. Only you can decide if it's worth the full price, but if you ever see one on sale, consider picking it up. The only thing I can't speak to is how long it will last. If it ever breaks, I'll update this review.