Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube
A Hardware Review

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 24 November 2011
Category: Tech > Hardware > Reviews Comments View Comments


Zap the audio from your phone, tablet, or computer to the Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube for instant amplification of your favourite tracks (and the odd system alert sound but that just adds to the excitement).

Verbatim Bluetooth Audio CubeThe Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube is a portable, battery operated, wireless speaker system that allows you to amplify the audio from devices such as phones, tablets, computers, and MP3 players. It also supports wired connections should you wish to conserve battery power but still want an amplification device.

The cube is incredibly easy to operate, with six control buttons on top - power, volume up, volume down, previous, next, and play/pause. Press and hold the power button and it switches on. It'll automatically make a Bluetooth connection with a device it already knows that's in proximity or, if you need to add a new device, when the cube is off, press and hold longer and the cube switches on into scanning mode, making it possible for your other devices to discover it, at which point you can make a paired Bluetooth connection. To switch it off, just press and hold again. There is also audio feedback in the form of different tones for each function, as well as visual feedback: the power button flashes blue (on and looking to connect to a friend) or red (scanning for a new friend), or remains static blue (operating).

Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube

In Bluetooth mode the cube will take over all audio control functions so you can use the appropriate buttons to adjust the volume (which has a wide range - it can play very loudly... sometimes too loudly), skip tracks, or play/pause songs, where applicable, as you can just use the cube to amplify your computer's audio if you want to - it's not just for playing music tracks. If you've hooked up an MP3 player via the 3.5mm audio cable (in other words, you're not using Bluetooth but rather connecting the audio directly), you obviously won't be able to use the control buttons to operate the MP3 player as those are Bluetooth functions.

The viable Bluetooth range is about five to six metres (Verbatim claims eight but it starts to get patchy after six, even with direct line of sight). Verbatim's web site also says that the device uses two AA alkaline batteries but it actually uses four and, although the claimed battery life is six hours, I managed 42 with the set that came in the box. It was incredibly impressive - I thought they would never die - but eventually the cube started making occasional jagged, crackly, skipping sounds and sometimes would switch off completely, all of which is an indication that the batteries finally need to be changed.

My personal rechargeable batteries (2450 mAh nickel-metal hydride Energizers) managed seven hours on multiple tests so that's worth bearing in mind if you want to ease your environmentally conscious mind. Alternatively, you can choose not to use batteries at all as the device also has a Mini-B USB port so it can draw power directly from a computer, USB hub, or in-car USB charger via a USB cable, which is included in the package.

Verbatim Bluetooth Audio CubeThe cube is ideally suited to a desk or a shelf. It stands on four small rubber feet, which allows air, and sound, to flow underneath and minimises vibration. The treble notes are reduced slightly (creating the effect of increasing the base) if you have something placed about 2cm from the speaker holes to shield them slightly otherwise the sound comes across as a bit tinny. This, of course, is the tradeoff to expect from a device this small - you're not going to get completely rich, all encompassing sound - either bass or treble will be prioritised and in this case, because the unit comprises two cone tweeters, it's high (treble) audio frequencies.

I did experience one problem, however. Although my Windows XP laptop could see the cube I couldn't get it to pair with the device. Its Bluetooth, however, has always been a bit buggy so I come to no conclusions about that and expect that other machines would fare better. I also initially had problems with Mac OS but eventually discovered there are some extra settings you have to mess around with in System Preferences to ensure that the sound works properly.

Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube

All the other devices I tried - both phones and tablets - paired quickly and with no problem. (It's particularly fun to use it with a tablet running ZombieBooth as you can hide the cube in another part of the room for an ethereal zombie-moaning effect.) Additionally, if you have the device connected to a phone and someone calls it will fade out the music to allow you to take the call and then fade the music back in once the call has been terminated.

This is a good, functional, well thought out device and, to Verbatim's credit (I can't believe I have to say such things now but so often you have to spend extra on "accessories" that are actually vital to the functioning of a device), all the cables and accessories you might need are included in the package.

The Verbatim Audio Cube review unit was provided by Drive Control Corporation. Opinion
Rating: 7/10

Key Facts: Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube
Dimensions: 70x70x70mm (WxHxD)
Weight: 180g (without batteries); (roughly) 277g with batteries
Bluetooth: A2DP
Bluetooth Version: V2.1 +EDR
Drivers: 2X 50mm, 8 Ohms
Total Output Power: 2 Watts (RMS)
Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20 KHz
In The Box: Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube, Bluetooth Audio Cube User Guide, 4X AA batteries, USB Type A to USB Mini-B cable, 3.5mm stereo audio extension cable

On The Internet
Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube: Verbatim Europe Product Page

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