The DKnight Magicbox II made our list for the Best Bluetooth Speakers under $50, but we never gave it a proper review. That is, until now. The original received plenty of attention and over 11,000 positive Amazon reviews at the time of this post. We liked what it had to offer, but it had some flaws as well. The second iteration of the speaker aims to fix that, while keeping what we liked about the original. Did DKnight fix the faults of the original or did they just create new ones?
What’s in the box?
The box is fairly small but inside you’ll get the speaker, a micro USB charging cable, 3.5mm audio cable, the instruction booklet, and a slim bass pad.
Build & Design
The footprint of the speaker is exactly the same as the previous model, measuring 6 x 2 x 1.6 inches. The biggest difference in the build is something that you can’t see, unless you break it open for some reason. The 6W drivers on the inside have been upgraded to 10W drivers which DKnight says provides a fuller low end (more on that later). The speaker is still a slim black box with grilles on three sides and a soft plastic covering the top, bottom, and fourth side. On that left side is where you’ll find the power switch, micro USB input for charging, and the 3.5mm input as well. The micro SD card slot found on the original Magicbox is no longer here, so if that’s something that you use often this might not be for you.
The buttons up top were great on the original, and they’re just as great here. They’re made of soft rubber and though they are little too squishy for my taste, I never had to press it more than once to get the desired action. One thing that does bother me about the build is how much dirt and dust the soft rubber accumulates. Barely 10 minutes out of the box it already needed to be wiped down with a damp cloth. On the bright side that rubber definitely adds to the durability. During testing the speaker fell from a height of about 6 feet and came away completely unharmed.
The connection is decent with minimal skipping as long as you stay within the range of about 30 feet. Throw a wall or two in the way and skipping is still prevalent but it does become more frequent. Still, it’s not enough to ruin the experience by any means.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is that the quality of the microphone was not good at all. It was decent enough to get through a conversation half-yelling at the speaker, but the person on the other side was complaining that I sounded like I was in a tunnel the entire time. Of course, a good mic probably isn’t the main priority for most people who are shopping for speakers but if answering phone calls is something you want then you’ve been warned.
Battery life is spec’d between 10-12 hours, and that’s fairly accurate. Playing music at varying volumes throughout the day we got it to last 10.5 hours, so 12 hours at a lower volume isn’t too unrealistic.
The main reason the original Magicbox was so well liked was because of the sound quality and with the Magicbox II, DKnight claims to have made it even better. The 10W driver upgrade was specifically to add some bass to the low end. Since it’s a small portable speaker, we tested it using only portable devices streaming Spotify on the highest quality setting.
The new 10W drivers do add bass, even if it isn’t the cleanest bass. It sounds a little boomy and hollow but it was strong enough that the rumbling did send it crashing to the floor during testing. Moral of the story: use the included bass pad. Considering the price, the low end isn’t bad just don’t expect it to be a jaw-dropping experience. A good example of this is the song ‘Running Home to You’ by Bee Caves which has strong bass kicks throughout that weren’t extremely detailed, but still enjoyable.
The mid-range was a little strangled in most songs in terms of instruments, but as is the case with a lot of inexpensive speakers vocals came through clear. Songs with a lot of instrumentation like ‘Appeals’ by Roger Sellers were easy to enjoy when it came to listening to lyrics, but the background piano and synths sound mashed together.
Highs were a little harsh at times but never uncomfortable. The high strings in ‘Pains’ by Silk Rhodes came through a little piercing but the hi-hats and guitar slides sounded good throughout.
The DKnight MagicBox II is a great little speaker for the price. It gets plenty loud and although the sound quality has it’s moments, it’s a really solid listen overall. The low end isn’t accurate but it’s definitely powerful and if you’re in the market for a portable speaker to take with you on a day-hike or to entertain a few guests this will certainly get the job done. I personally enjoyed the sleek minimal design, but I can see how others might not. It’s not flashy and it’s one of those speakers that relies on the sound it makes to make up for its other faults.