- Feels like it's worth the money
- Great sounding and good bass for a small speaker
- Looks very cool on your desk
- Have to carefully pick it up due to bass radiator
It’s quite hard to do anything original with Bluetooth speakers, as they are all a bit the same. They all sound good, and even modestly-priced speakers with only a single driver inside are delivering performance that’s good enough. The one thing that can set a speaker apart is a bit of style. This appears to be a goal Gravastar is trying to reach with the Venus Bluetooth speaker. Let’s take a look at it in this review to see if it also has some substance.
Gravastar Venus, Your Robot Friend
The Gravastar Venus is a mid-range 10 watt Bluetooth 5.0 speaker in the form of a small, stylish robot. In style it reminds me of those art toys you can buy in comic book shops, and I’m pretty sure that’s the vibe the manufacturer was going for: a collectible and stylish character rather than solely a device.
The speaker is styled as a robot with the control buttons as its “eyes” and “ears” and the speaker in its “mouth.” The feet it stands up on are styled like the legs of a tripedal robot,with have silicone rubber inserts to stand comfortably and not scratch the surface they stand on.
At the top of the Venus is a sort of handle (too small to pick the speaker up with, so it’s just for show), and underneath is a USB-C port for charging. The port is close to the ground, so it needs a right-angle plug to fit in the gap when it’s standing so that it will take a charge. (An optional charging dock is a more stylish way to do that for an extra $30.)
At the rear of the unit is a bass radiator with a curved cover on it, continuing the curve of the round body of the robot, which is a nice feature. It’s heavy, stylishly designed and good-sounding little speaker. It also comes in a sturdy and nicely designed heavy-duty box that is covered in graphics and ready for the shelf alongside the speaker.
Compact and Powerful
I should state my prejudice: I’ve never been one to collect things. If I do, they are not things which are made to be collectible, as that’s not how collecting is supposed to work. I’m not looking at the Gravastar Venus Bluetooth Speaker as a collectible; I’m looking at it as a tool. It does, however, have the style of the kind of art toys that are popular with comic and fantasy enthusiasts, and while I hate the idea of collecting them, I secretly quite like them.
Let’s look at what this speaker is, rather than dwelling on what it isn’t. What it is, is a very compact but hefty at one pound, good quality speaker that just happens to look ornamental on a desk. If you’re a sci-fi nerd, comic fan, fantasy cosplayer or writer of tech reviews, something like this would not look out of place on your desk. The LED around the speaker indicates that it’s on, can be set to a range of colors and is easily visible across the room. As well as being functional, it does look very cool.
When the Gravastar Bluetootoh Speaker pairs, you hear a voice saying “Ready to pair,” then “Bluetooth connected” when it picks up a connection to your phone. It’s a really nice touch that when you turn the device on and off, you get the sound effect of a machine powering up and down instead of just hearing a boring beep or series of tones. This gives a certain atmosphere, a sci-fi mood, which is still enjoyable to hear even weeks after I obtained the unit.
The sound of the unit is good, and I think there are a few reasons for that. The bass radiator vibrates due to the air inside the speaker, and this accentuates bass. This is helped by the solid contact the speaker has with the surface of the desk. The silicon pads are thick enough to protect your desk but thin enough to transmit the oscillations of the speaker into the woodwork.
The battery life is marked as 10 hours. It runs for a few days before it asks for a charge. And yes, it can operate while charging, although this does slow down the charging speed. I didn’t run it much while charging, but from the little time that I did, I can see that the charging speed is still faster than the power it drains, which is a good thing.
You have to be careful when you pick it up, as you push the bass radiator in with your fingers, and although I’m fairly sure it’s robust enough to withstand this, I avoid doing it in case it pulls or stretches the rubber. I tend to pick it up by the sides. It shipped with an optional storage bag – a zip-up padded case which protects it in transit – but I just pop it back in the box.
Availability of the Gravastar Venus Bluetooth Speaker
The Gravastar Venus Bluetooth Speaker is a terrific little speaker and a luxury item – the price of between $58.95-89.95 (depending on the color) confirms that. I’d say that for style and sound quality, it’s easily worth it. There are a couple of other characters other than the Venus: the top-of-the-line 20 watt Mars at $300 and the 10 watt Mecha Panda called Mozart at around $90, if you’re interested in collecting the whole set.
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