For the last few weeks I’ve been testing out the VAUX Speaker by Ninety7, which features a place to dock the Amazon Echo Dot that provides portable power and an audio upgrade in one package. VAUX is the first battery-powered speaker designed to hold the Amazon Echo Dot. Untether and enjoy cordless portability and enhanced audio quality from anywhere in your home environment.
At $50, the Amazon Echo Dot is an affordable Alexa access point, but as far as its speaker is concerned, the thing’s a bit of a pipsqueak. And forget about picking it up and taking it with you; for that sort of portability, you’ll need to spend more than twice as much on the Amazon Tap.
Well, a company called Ninety7 thinks it has a solution for both shortcomings. It’s called the VAUX (pronounced “vox”), and it’s a combination speaker and battery base that costs $50. Pop the Amazon Echo Dot into place up top, and it’ll pipe its sound directly through the VAUX’s speaker. And, thanks to the built-in battery, you can unplug it and take it with you for up to 6 hours of wireless playback.
Ninety7 has made two different color versions for your choosing, ash, which is a light gray color and the one they sent me and of course black. For me I have a white Amazon Echo Dot which is why I wanted the ash color VAUX, but I can tell you that you won’t see the color of the Echo Dot at all once you pop it into the VAUX. All you’re going to see is the blue ring on the top of the Echo Dot and that’s literally it.
To use the VAUX, first unplug your Echo Dot. Spin the VAUX around and pull back the silicone cover on the back. There you’ll see a micro-USB connector and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Drop your Dot into the top of the VAUX and align the connectors with the open space. Once the Dot is seated correctly plug in the micro USB and 3.5mm connectors into the Echo Dot and close the cover. The last step is to plug your existing Dot power cord into the back of the VAUX to power the whole unit.
On the back of the VAUX, you’ll find the power button. Press it briefly to start up the device. When you first power on the VAUX it will make a loud audible “pop” sound. According to the manufacturer, this is a normal part of the start-up procedure. Charging the VAUX from empty takes about five or six hours. If the VAUX is being used as it is charging, it will take about eight to twelve hours. The LED light on the back of the VAUX stays illuminated while powered on. The colors of the LED indicate the VAUX’s status: Amber: Not powered on, but charging. Green: Not powered on, but fully charged. Blue: Powered on. Blue/Amber flashing: Battery power low.
The manufacturer indicates that the VAUX’s battery should give you around of six hours of playback depending on usage and volume level. This claim was consistent with my testing; at medium to full volume, I got a little less than six hours of playback. At higher volumes, I found that the sound quality degrades quite a bit. Although, the sound quality of the VAUX is still much better than the Dot’s internal speakers.
One thing to note is that the VAUX is not water-proof or water-resistant, and was designed to be used indoors primarily. However, if you’re careful enough and you have strong enough Wi-Fi, you can certainly use it outside by the pool or something similar. I would simply recommend sitting it far enough away from the pool to ensure it doesn’t get splash damage. It fits right on my shelf and has the same aesthetic as the Amazon Echo.
In the end I’m very pleased and happy with my VAUX from Ninety7. It definitely adds a sound boost to my Echo Dot and that’s important since I use it for several alarms throughout the day for my fiancee to remember to take her medications that she needs. Plus I can set a timer when cooking and if I’m in the kitchen, with it being in the computer room across the house, I can hear when the timer goes off without issue unlike prior to using the VAUX.
The price is cheap at $49.95 and to me just can’t be beat for what you get. It sounds great and looks great as well. Ninety7 has done a really good job on the VAUX speaker for the Amazon Echo Dot and it’s one that I highly recommend to anyone who uses their Echo Dot as often as I do.