The DKnight Magicbox II Bluetooth 4.0 Portable Wireless Speaker was kindly provided to me by D.Knight Direct free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The DKnight Magicbox II is available in the UK from D.Knight Direct Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a price of £29.99 with free P&P. In the US the DKnight Magicbox II is available from DKNIGHT INC Fulfilled by Amazon.com at a price of $44.99 with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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Build quality alone is superb and it easily beats anything else I have ever tested in a similar price bracket. The problem is the MagicBox II is a one trick pony, it is not a jack of all trades offering a built in radio, MicroSD card support nor power bank features. As such what it does do, it needs to do well…. and the truth is at its core, it’s just a very well made speaker that sounds distinctly average.
While it’s light weights and compact size may appear to be an attraction the fact is I can’t help but feel its size is its biggest flaw.
PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The MagicBox II Bluetooth Speaker comes supplied in a thin black cardboard box bearing DKnight MagicMox II branding, product images and various certification symbols.
Inside the speaker is found wrapped in clear plastic and underneath a white card divider the following accessories are found….
- An illustrated instruction manual.
- A basic quality round 3.5mm jack to jack audio cable measuring just over 44cm long excluding connectors and jackets.
- A basic quality flat USB A to Micro B charging cable measuring just shy of 55cm long excluding connectors and jackets.
- A neoprene “bass pad” for the speaker. (Used to improve bass response by isolating the speaker from the surface, it is placed on).
The MagicBox II speaker measures at its greatest points… 15.5cm wide, 4.05cm deep and 5.85cm high (including the buttons on the top) and it weighs 323g.
- Power: 2000mA non user replaceable 3.7v lithium ion battery
- Charging Time: 4 to 5 hours
- Speaker Driver: Stereo 40mm, 4Ohm
- Speaker Output: 2x5w + passive radiator
- Distortion: <10%
- Signal To Noise Ratio: >75dB
- Bluetooth Version: 4.0
To connect to the speaker via Bluetooth simply enable Bluetooth on the device you wish to connect the speaker with, then turn the speaker on by flicking the power switch located on the right side of the speaker to the on position. A three tone melody plays from the speaker and then on the front of the speaker behind the grille, in the top right corner an LED indicator begins to flash blue.
Now go back to your device that you are trying to pair with the speaker and look at the Bluetooth devices list for “MagicBox II” and select it. Then, within 4 seconds the speaker shows as paired with your device, a single beep plays from the speaker an the flashing blue LED now remaining constantly lit.
Whenever the speaker is switched on it automatically enters pairing mode and in future whenever the speaker is on and Bluetooth is enabled on the device previously paired with it will automatically pair without the need to manually do so.
Testing was conducted with a Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen with Bluetooth V4.0. (The version of Bluetooth within the device connected to may affect the results you have with the speaker).
The range of the MagicBox II is very impressive with only 3 or 4 other speakers that I have ever reviewed faring better.
Testing indoors with direct line of sight the speaker worked perfectly fine at the greatest range that I could test (8.5m) and should continue to work up to at least 10m. Outdoors with line of sight unobstructed you might even manage a few meters more.
Testing indoors through two stud partition walls, a solid pine door and a wall of white goods (freezer, washing machine, tumble drier etc) the speaker continued to work at a range of about 9m at which point it started to cut in and out and within a step or two it lost connection altogether.
BATTERY & CHARGE.
There is no mains charger included only a USB Type A Male; USB Type B Micro Male cable, which is a standard mobile phone charger cable. Sadly, there is no charge indicator on the speaker, but there is however an audible warning when the battery is nearly dead.
The charging port is on the rear right side of the speaker between the power switch and the 3.5mm Aux in port, sadly, this port has no cover and is exposed to the elements as well as dirt and debris. (Although in fairness, this speaker is clearly an indoor speaker and not a rugged, waterproof or weatherproof device).
As for the battery this is a non user replaceable, a decision that is justifiable as the use of an easily replaceable 18650 battery would have added not just to the overall size of the device but also its cost. Just be aware that as a result, this is a disposable product as lithium batteries have an average life span of 500 full charges or 1000 half capacity charges.
Firstly, I have to confess that this was done when the battery wasn’t completely drained. I did make an effort to completely drain it, but as the battery neared empty it began to emit a low battery warning sound at full volume and after this nearly constantly playing for 15 minutes being audible thought the entire house (something to be aware of if using this speaker late at night with others sleeping) I have to confess I gave up trying to completely drain the battery.
The following testing was conducted using a Samsung wall charger (as supplied with a Tab S2 tablet) and readings were obtained using a Drok multimeter.
- At the start the readings shown were 5.43V, 5.647w, 0.96A and 12 mAh charged within the first minute.
- After 23 minutes the readings were 5.41V, 4.273w, 0.79A with 269mAh having been charged.
- After 1 hour and 3 minutes readings were 5.42V, 4.661w, 0.86A with 822mAh having been charged.
- After 1hour and 36 minutes readings were 5.42v, 5.203w, 0.96A with 1333mAh having been charged.
- After 2 hours and 25 minutes readings were 5.33V, 2.132w, 0.40A with 1942mAH having been charged.
- After 3 hours and 8 minutes the battery was fully charged showing that 2094mAH had been charged.
There are a couple of points to make here. Firstly the higher the charge of a lithium battery the slower the rate at which it charges, despite this the charging results clearly show that charging speed started to slow, then speeds up as it approaches near half full and then began to slow again, these readings I cannot entirely explain.
The second note is when the test was stated the battery had not been completely drained. It had been playing an audible low battery warning for at least 15 minutes before I stopped trying to drain it and yet somehow the multimeter indicated a 2094mAh charge…. on a 2000mAh battery. This again I cannot explain, I can only surmise that perhaps it is time to replace my aging Drok multimeter.
As for battery drain testing due to mobile devices being in near constant use in our house I can only advise this. When connected to a laptop via a 3.5mm jack to jack audio cable and with volume set at 40% the speaker drains at a rate of about 2mAh per minute. Obviously, being used via Bluetooth and at higher volume the battery will be consumed at a far greater rate.
In real world use, used with a mixture of wired and Bluetooth connections with a volume between 40% and 60% I found using the speaker for periods between 6 and 8 hours a day that the battery lasted about 3 days.
DURABILITY & DESIGN.
As previously mentioned the MagicBox II speaker is not a rugged or even a semi rugged outdoor speaker, but then again nor does it claim to be. It is clearly intended for use in the home, although to be fair, it does have some features that improve its durability and there is no reason it can’t be used outdoors during summer at least.
The design of the MagicBox II is minimalist and modern. The top and bottom of the speaker are fitted with a 6mm thick black rubberized silicone that is firm but slightly malleable. The base section is devoid of features, but the top sports six 10mm diameter buttons that protrude by approximately 2mm.
The six buttons are individually marked with indexer symbols, but sadly, even in low light these are very hard to make out. The functions of the buttons are as follows (from left to right)…
- The first button is marked with a “-” symbol and this can either be tapped for fine adjustment or held down to reduce the volume faster.
- The second button is marked with a “+” symbol and this increases the volume functioning exactly as the volume down button does.
- The third button is marked with a universal play/pause symbol and tapping this button will pause the currently playing track or resume it if it is paused. When it is held down it does nothing and it must be tapped to function correctly.
- The fourth button bears a universal rewind symbol, regardless if music is currently playing or not, tapping this button once will take you to the beginning of the current song and tapping it twice will take you to the beginning of the song before the one currently selected on the play list. Again, holding this button down has no further function.
- The fifth button bears a universal fast forwards symbol and tapping it will skip to the beginning of the song after the one currently selected on the play list. Again, holding this button offer no further function.
- The final button on the far right bears the symbol of a telephone handset. To answer or end a current call simply tap this button, to reject an incoming call hold the button down for 2 seconds and to redial the last number called simply tap the button twice in quick succession.
All of these buttons are securely installed and are each very tactile with a decent level of resistance and an audible clicky feedback.
As for the base while devoid of features the rubberized silicone panel offers excellent slip resistance and allows the speaker to be safely used on any conceivable surface without fear of the speaker marking or scratching it. The rubberized silicone panels on the speaker also offer it a degree of resistance to damage, but if it is dropped and it lands on any side, bar the top of bottom this isn’t going to help protect the remainder of the speaker.
On the right side of the speaker is a black ABS plastic panel featuring a two pole toggle switch (the power switch), a USB Micro B charging port and a 3.5mm Aux in jack. As noted earlier the ports are exposed and not protected from dust or debris let alone moisture.
The remainder of the speaker (the front, left and rear) are all covered with a single piece black metal mesh grille. This grille on the left side is flat, but on the front and rear it actually sports a series of contoured oval recesses set at a 45 degree angle which not only looks nice, but also serves as an excellent grip when carrying the speaker (that said frequent carrying of the speaker like this will lead to dirt build up in the holes of the speaker grille).
On the front the two 40mm drivers can clearly be seen through the mesh and on the rear the passive radiator can again clearly be seen, something that can’t be seen however is the microphone which the manual claims is on the rear.
Overall the quality of construction is exemplary, the speaker feels solid in construction with absolutely no points a cause of concern, that said I would personally have preferred there to have been covers on the ports, even with this clearly being an indoor speaker.
The following testing was conducted with the MagicBox II sat on its bass pad connected to a Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen via Bluetooth. I have not conducted any additional testing using a 3.5mm jack to jack cable, although it should actually sound marginally better when used with a wired connection (assuming you are using a half decent cable).
Passenger, Let Her Go, 235Kbps.
Ok the bass isn’t amazing and given the size of the speaker this can be easily forgiven, it doesn’t sound bad, it’s just a bit dull. Separation is good for the most part, but instrumentals did overwhelm the vocals at certain points and if I am honest the background vocals simply sounded like “noise” rather than singing.
The speaker does seem focused towards the mid range as it did seem to struggle replicating the highs of the snare. Overall, comparing with speakers of similar size and price I would give the performance a 4/5.
Sally Cinnamon, Stone Roses, 320Kbps
Vocals are without flaw, the cymbals and bells sounded sadly harsh and even tinny, which seriously detract from the song. At around 1:10 things become far too chaotic and the speaker simply does not seem to be able to cope with the separation being practically nonexistent. I really wouldn’t want to listen to that again voluntarily, 2/5.
Clint Eastwood, Gorillaz, 320Kbps.
It sounded good, but it lacked depth and vibrancy, it was a little more like listening to a spoken book than listening to a great song, 3.5/5.
Renegades of Funk, Rage Against the Machine, 320Kbps.
Right off the bat the cymbals sounded very sharp/harsh and given they encompass almost the entire song it is a near unavoidable constant. Bass at points seemed to have resonance with a couple of guitar riffs sounding as though a whammy bar had gone into overdrive, 2.5/5.
The Levellers, The Boatman, 320Kbps.
Again cymbals and bells were a bit sharp/harsh and even a little tiny. Strings were joyful, drums were a little dull, vocals however were beautiful. 3.5/5.
Coldplay, The Scientist, 320Kbps.
It sounds ok but it lacks depth and once the other instrumentals kick in beyond the piano intro, separation is quite poor, 3/5. That said Clocks did sound notably better with slightly improved separation, depth and far less harsh highs.
Phone call speaker testing…
Calling my mother on her Panasonic KX-TGJ322EB land line I found the quality of the audio through the speaker was surprisingly good. Her voice was loud and clear and I could both hear and understand everything she said with no evidence of interference, static or distortion.
During the call to my mother on her Panasonic KX-TGJ322EB land line holding either the front or rear of the speaker approximately 30 cm away from my mouth she clearly could not hear a word I was saying. It was in fact not until I actually held the speaker against my lips that she heard anything at all and even then she advised it simply sounded like a whisper. The microphone it seems is entirely lacking.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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