Well, our friends at Firebox have very kindly lent us one, so we’re able to report in a bit more detail about how good it is, and whether you should get one. Here’s our Vaux review.
What is it?
Vaux (I’m pronouncing this ‘vox’, as in the Latin for voice, but honestly it’s a bit of a wanky name and sounds particularly bad with a British accent) is a speaker for your Amazon Echo Dot (2nd gen).
“Wait, my what?”
Amazon Echo Dot is the smaller, vastly cheaper version of Amazon Echo, which itself is a ‘smart speaker’ of the type everyone’s making now. You know those ads where someone says “Alexa, why am I so lonely?” and a creepy Her-style voice replies “Because you smell bad” – or something along those lines? Yeah, those.
The Echo Dot costs £50-ish and is a good way to get started with smart speakers. It’s also a much more achievable present than the £150 full-blown Echo. But although it’s small and adorable, the sound quality isn’t very good, and it has to be plugged into the mains all the time.
Vaux remedies this by allowing you to put your Echo Dot into the specially-sized hole in the top, which becomes the top of the speaker. You plug in the Dot’s own audio and power cables (nicely hidden away at the back under a flap), and all of a sudden your Echo Dot is a wireless, go-anywhere speaker that sounds way better.
Does it work?
In short, yes. The sound quality isn’t as 360 as on the actual Echo, but honestly we’ve never seen someone put one of these in the centre of a room anyway, so it really doesn’t matter. Ours is on a sideboard with a wall behind it most of the time.
Being able to move the Echo Dot anywhere is really handy, and probably something Amazon should have included in the first place. Vaux lasts up to 6 hours on a charge, depending on how earth-shattering you like your music volume. Speaking of which, it goes VERY loud – and yes, sound quality does degrade somewhat at the very top levels, but if you’re listening at that volume then your ears are probably not on top form anyway.
One thing we would have liked to see is waterproofing, so we could finally take Alexa in the shower with us (not in that way). Why has no one made Shalexa yet? Surely the best time for voice-controlled music is while your hands are wet and slippery (again… not in that way).
Should I get one?
Vaux costs £59.99, which is a fair whack for a speaker when there are so many beautiful alternatives (like this one) available. But its point of difference is the seamless Dot integration, of course, and that’s worth paying for if you already have a Dot.
On the other hand, if you’re considering buying this and a Dot rather than splashing out for the full Echo, we’d say not to. The total cost is around £110, and while that’s £40 cheaper than the Echo usually is, it’s also often on sale – most recently at £99.99. Amazon really wants to shift these babies.
Vaux for Amazon Echo Dot is available from Firebox now.