Sound (music in particular) is part and parcel of our lives. We feel its effects everywhere around us, it calms us down, inspires us and sometimes, even causes us discomfort. The matter of effectively reproducing sound via electronic devices is becoming more and more important, since those devices are turning into an integral part of almost everybody’s daily activities. We use them to communicate, to have fun, and to do our jobs.
Ever since most of us can remember, there has been a strive for high accuracy in audio reproduction, and the respective achievements in that field have been numerous. The challenge today is increased mobility, and with that comes the necessity for small volumes, low weight, energy independence, sturdiness and stylish design. It’s clear that at this stage of development an elegant device such as a smartphone is not capable of fulfilling the requirements for high-quality sound by virtue of its own speakers. Things like headphones and earbuds are not always a viable solution. We need an additional source which sufficiently alleviates the lack quality stationary sound.
In today’s review, we take a look at three of the models in a series of portable devices – Divoom Voombox TRAVEL, ONGO and OUTDOOR.
They are offered in elegant boxes with transparent plastic covers. The packages include a multi-language instruction manuals as well as USB and audio cables. They can be attached to the device after removal of the protective lid.
All three devices support Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless data transfer.
Operation of the Voomboxes is simplified by means of four moisture-proof buttons on the device’s body. They appear sturdy despite their small size. Holding them in your hand feels secure due to the hefty protective synthetic rubber covering, which comes in several colors, and because the devices are very small, they feel somewhat heavy. The Divoom Voombox ONGO also comes with a bicycle handle clip.
The biggest model, the Divoom Voombox OUTDOOR, has all the characteristics of something that can definitely be used outdoors thanks to its loud volume. We measured a maximum acoustic pressure of 108 dB at a distance of 1 meter (~3.3 feet).
A red LED signals that the battery is in charge mode. You can use a universal smartphone charger with an output of 5V and 1A.
The built-in mic allows you to make calls in hands-free mode. Specifications indicate IPX44 protection in compliance with the IEC 60529 standard, meaning that the speaker device is protected from hard particles measuring over 1mm, as well as water splashes (but not direct water currents) from all directions.
|Power||7.5W x 2|
Divoom Voombox TRAVEL has a 2 inch broadband electrodynamic driver on the front side, covered by a protective metal mesh. There is a similar system on the back, but the speaker has been replaced by a passive emitter.
Divoom Voombox ONGO has two 1.5 inch speakers and one passive emitter, making the device compact.
Divoom Voombox OUTDOOR is equipped with three electrodynamic drivers, two of which are 2 inch broadband, while the other one is a tweeter. There are also two passive emitters mounted on the opposite side of the chassis.
Turning on and operation
Pressing the POWER button turns on a blue LED, which starts blinking rapidly when the device is ready to connect. By going to the Bluetooth settings on your source you can choose “Voombox ONGO”, for example, from the list of discovered devices. That concludes the installation process. In Windows, you may then need to go to Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Manage Audio Devices and click on “Connect” and “Set as Default Device.” If the blue light stops blinking, you can turn the deices on and off by use of the power button.
Further down, we’ve included the frequency response characteristics of the devices. In order to get this data, we reproduced a test signal by means of an uncompressed 16-bit sound file at 44.1 kHz. The source was an Android tablet connected through Bluetooth. We conducted a number of test (about fifty). We also used three Windows-based tablets and then repeated the procedure with a wired connection. We did this because we sensed a difference in quality when using a wireless Bluetooth connection. The difference was such that the testing software, with its measuring microphone, was unable to build an accurate graph when the source was a Windows laptop. We consider the Voombox ONGO graph below to be accurate. It includes data derived from Windows and VLC Player (Windows Media Player didn’t work out at all). There may be some reason that we were unable to detect, but in the situation at hand, the musical fragments were reproduced with significant difference and distortion. We mention this since the behavior of a given operating system in specific cases should not affect our evaluation and positive impressions in presenting these devices.
Vombox TRAVEL – much more capable than a standard laptop, despite its small size. The frequency range of +/- 6 dB (real, not just advertised performance for this class of device) goes from 160 Hz to over 20 kHz ( the manufacturer has indicated a bottom limit of 100 Hz). Strictly speaking, it goes up to 12 kHz, because of the peak in the high-frequency range which diminishes when the measuring mic is placed at an angle of 45 degrees (much closer to actual positioning). The upsurge in the high frequencies is felt in the musical fragments as well.
Voombox ONGO – It attempts to shine in the ‘Size doesn’t matter!’ category. It more or less became our favorite, in spite of its low volume when compared to the next model, and the display of some strong-mindedness when communicating to one specific OS. It has an effective range of 150 Hz to 18 kHz with no apparent upsurge in the highs. The yellow graph represents a mic placed at a right angle to the speakers and an Android source. The white graph show the mic directed to the passive emitter, and the purple one is the same as the yellow, but the source is a Windows laptop connected through Bluetooth.
Voombox OUTDOOR – at about half of the potential volume, where there is less distortion, the device offers sufficiently loud sound. There is an upsurge as well as some irregularities in the high frequencies.
We listened to musical fragments for subjective evaluation. The impressions are positive if the device is not operating at maximum volume. There you can definitely hear distortion in the low frequencies, especially noticeable with the Voombox TRAVEL.
Battery life impressed us the most. We measured power drain, including drain during test signal emission. The Divoom Voombox TRAVEL battery, with its capacity of 550 mAh, typically consumes about 90-100 mAh at half power, and starts at about 200 mAh at full power, reaching 400 mAh depending on the frequency. This gives you 5-6 hours of usage. Drain is doubled in the Divoom Voombox OUTDOOR, but the 3200 mAh battery increases use time respectively. Our data shows that the manufacturer has indicated accurate battery life values.
The devices presented here manage to compensate for the lack of high-quality audio solutions, when such are not available. They gives us powerful audio coming from a small package, with no need for cables. The ability to connect to standard smartphone chargers means that we can comfortably place them in our offices, next to the sound source. The hand-free option is also worth mentioning.
- High acoustic power in a small packages
- Good sound in its class
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Long battery life
- Easy connection to signal sources
- Hands-free mode
- Short audio cable for optional connection