Just like looking for an Android phone, it can be a pretty daunting process to find a decent speaker. The Internet is filled with a vast amount of speakers available for purchase. Fortunately, there are several reputable brands out there for you to choose from, even in the budget range.
The MagicBox II Speaker in this review is made by DKnight. DKnight does not happen to fall under these well-known brands on the web. I have never heard of them and neither have any of my fellow AndroidGuys writers. This being said, I was unsure what to expect from this $35 portable Bluetooth speaker when I came across it online. Interestingly, it is rated as the #1 bestseller in marine speakers (although it is not waterproof).
I decided to give it a try to see just how well it could perform.
The MagicBox II has an attractive compact design. It’s a little bit smaller than I imagined it to be, especially when you use online pictures to gauge some idea of how it sizes up. A little bit longer than my LG G4, it can fit comfortably in my hand.
The speaker is like a plain box at 6 x 2 x 1.6 inches. Six sides, one for the top and bottom and the four that wrap around it. No unique or special design here. The top and bottom surfaces are made of rubber, and almost feel identical to your typical stationery eraser. The rubber is very durable despite this is and is really suitable for keeping the speaker nice and firm on the surface on which it’s on.
The meshed metal that houses the main speaker body wraps around three of the remaining sides, and meets almost seamlessly at the edges of the fourth one. This fourth side is made of hard plastic and houses the On/Off button, the MicroUSB charging port and the 3.5mm audio jack. You can connect to the speaker through this 3.5mm jack or via Bluetooth, granted that your phone is running Bluetooth version 2.1 or higher.
A short male-to-male audio cable comes included in the package.
The top of the speaker houses the six control buttons placed on the top, which consists of the same non-slip premium rubber material as the rest of the top and bottom sides. You have the options to turn the volume up (1), down (2), pause/play the song (3), go to the next track (4), the previous track (5) and answer or end a call (6). The buttons are nice and clicky and require a fair amount of pushing power. Nothing too strenuous, of course.
There is however a small problem or two here with the design. Firstly, the mesh. It has holes that are perfectly sized to pick up your average sized crumbs, dirt, or even hairs. The rubber naturally also has the tendency of picking up small hairs and dirt particles. They are not a total magnet, however, and the offending material can be quite easily removed with a few swipes.
I should also mention that the speaker comes in a variety of colors – blue, red, black and grey. The color of the mesh stays black but the rubber bottom and top changes accordingly.
Overall, I really enjoyed the design of the speaker. With a slight premium feel and a compact size, anyone could quite easily mistake it for a more high-end accessory. In the design compartment, at least.
This is where the MagicBox 2 again surprised me. The sounds it reproduces are by no means top of the range or outstanding, but you could easily pick up a $100 speaker and hear minimal sound differences between the two. In other words, it again goes far beyond with what you expect in a $35 package.
But why? What hardware does it pack inside?
We aren’t quite sure of specifics, to be honest. What we do know however, is that it has two 5W 40mm speakers to make up a total of 10W output sound. This goes alongside a specially designed passive radiator that improves and increases the bass and quality. It sure pumps out some quality sound.
Starting with the bass: it’s awesome. Not excellent, but awesome. On bass heavy songs, it can be seen rattling its way across my desk, something which makes me almost wet myself with pure satisfaction. That’s just me, and you may not like bass as much I do. Again, it could be a tad better. It was a bit drowned out some of the time, but not anything particularly bad. Facing the subwoofer side down on the desk increased the overall bass a bit.
As a side note, there is a bass pad included to help immobilize the speaker and prevent it from moving around.
Moving on to the highs and trebles, it is not anything to write home about. Still, it managed to produce voices and instruments mostly fine. Just don’t expect anything good when the volume is almost max. Taylor Swift’s Wildest Dreams was the perfect test for this and it worked pretty decently, until, again, you turn the volume up. The highs get overtaken by the bass when extremely loud. Nevertheless, we were rather impressed by what it could do.
Expanding on the volume: this speaker can get really loud. Definitely loud enough to use at a small party, for example. We’d say we kept the volume on around 30% volume just listening to music around the house.
Does it offer the best sound on the market? No. In its price range? Certainly, and maybe even the range above it.
Everyday usage, battery and more
The MagicBox II comes with some nifty features. Once you switch it on, the LED light behind the mesh turns on in the color blue, flashing until it gets connected to a music source. If you plug it in to charge, another red LED turns on and stays on until fully charged. It’s not the most visible positioning, but we’d prefer for it to be here and to be less intrusive.
Fortunately, you won’t be seeing that same red charging light often. The advertised battery life is 10 hours, and while I did not play with it extensively for prolonged periods of time, I can confidently say that the life is indeed around 10 hours. I play my music probably twice a week through it and it lasted me over a month before beeping to tell me the battery was low. It has a 2,000mAh built in battery.
You can play music while charging it through a standard MicroUSB charger from your phone charger, or, preferably, your laptop.
As there is a microphone built in, you can use it to chat with over phone and video calls, as the dedicated call button would suggest. I used it several times while FaceTiming and the person on the other end could not notice a difference between my iPad and the speaker microphone, although they did mention my voice was a bit softer.
Another thing that I noticed is that the previous iteration of this speaker had a slot for a MicroSD card while the second edition (this one) does not. Not a big deal for me, but it may be a dealbreaker for some. Not quite sure why DKnight decided on this.
The DKnight MagicBox II speaker is an outstanding offer for $35. We have little objections to both the design and sound quality, and everything that we don’t like is justifiable by the price tag. The sexy black rubber and grill is somewhat nice on the eye,while the sound is almost just as soothing to your ears.
But this brings us to the question: who is DKnight and how are they making such affordable hardware? We may not know, but what I can tell you is that they sure make some damn fine accessories.
You can browse and purchase a DKnight MagicBox II via Amazon with the following link: