A new smartphone case is heading to stores and it features the ability to snap on multiple pieces to customize it to your needs. Featuring a Bluetooth speaker or a power bank, you can be sure your days activities will be covered before leaving the house.
It is a modular solution called “ROXON” by a company called VibesAudio, which begins with an average-priced case with a window on the back for modules to connect to. From there you can customize your load with various accessories that are sold separately. You can bet that you will likely be able to find a case for just about every flagship device on the market at some point after they have launched. For now, they have an option for Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, S8 and S8+ (the model we have tested out), as well as every iPhone model between the 6 and the 8 Plus.
The three pieces we will be covering include the case (Baserox), the speaker (Vibrox) and the power bank (Voltrox). As mentioned, each of these items are sold separately and it all begins with the Baserox case that runs around $29.99 for all available phone models, and is available in both black and white (as are all of the optional accessories).
This case is quite simple in design, featuring mostly plastic with a rubber section rubbing round the top, sides and bottom so that it can easily squeeze onto your phone. It is a sold color outside of the frame of the window on the back which is silver in color (this is where the models attach to it). It feels durable like it can take quite a number of drops with only scratching that may occur, and we didn’t experience any issues popping a phone in and out of it (you just want to be careful that it doesn’t pull up on the edges of a glass screen protector, if you are using one). Outside of that, there isn’t much to talk about here. There is no belt clip or multiple layers to take on and off. You definitely wouldn’t buy the case unless you planned on investing into the accessories that can go with it.
The only thing we didn’t like is that when in the case, the phone didn’t respond to a majority of wireless Qi chargers we put it up against. So you will lose the ability to wirelessly charge your phone when using this case.
The Vibrox Bluetooth Speaker
To begin with the optional modules, the Vibrox speaker is a Bluetooth speaker that can be attached to the back of the case giving you enhanced (and louder) sound from your phone. Let it be music that you are listening to or simply want a nicer sounding speakerphone experience.
This speaker is waterproof featuring an impressive rating of IPX7. meaning that you can really get this thing wet if you wanted to. Rain, dirt and dust shouldn’t be able to damage it, even if you drop it directly into water (as long as it doesn’t go further than around 3.25 feet at least).
It offers up to 10 hours or more of battery life and a decent range that it can be taken from the connected phone–although you will most likely have it attached to the back.
If you do prefer to leave the speaker as a seperate device vs attached to the back, it also comes with a base that it can snap into. The base is also where you would charge the speaker from. It features a USB port so that you easily connect a cable to it, as well as a kickstand so you can prop it up if you’d like to give it more direction if you are sitting near it. The base doesn’t offer anything beyond that (it would have been nice if it did more to like expand on the base response of the speaker with or something, or offered Qi wireless charging).
When riding on the case, the speaker adds just under a half of an inch to the thickness of your phone and case. So this won’t fit well in tight pockets, but should be fine in baggy pants or a jacket pocket. Unless of course you slide the speaker off before throwing the phone in your pocket.
It does get pretty loud when playing, giving you plenty of volume to work with and minimal to no distortion outside of the last few notches on the volume settings. It does this mostly using resonation via what they are calling Vibration Sound Engine (VSE) technology. You mostly have a focus on highs with a slight presence of mid-highs in there. Beyond that, the speaker doesn’t offer much anything else as there are no low or mid-lows to enjoy. It is simply loud and bright. This makes it really great for conversations when in a phone call. Listening to music however leaves a lot to be desired.
There are a number of buttons on the top side of the speaker. You get a power button that turns the speaker on or off with a single press. There are verbal announcements that come from the speaker telling you what it happening. Pressing and holding the power button down for a few seconds results in a verbal notification about its current charge. Next to the power button is a play/pause button that is also your accept call button. Next you have your volume up and down buttons and finally a Bluetooth/EQ button that allows you to trigger pairing or change the current EQ setting. We did find it fascinating that the tone of the voice/accent when turning the speaker on or off sounds a little “sexy”, as the person recording the voice spoke lightly and with a hook at the end of “Hello” or “Goodbye”, as if the girl was speaking playfully into someone’s ear.
This speaker is pretty much the biggest culprit though in the final score of these three pieces we tested out due to the price of the speaker. It feels like a $29.99 accessory, however it is retailing for a whopping $149.99. No matter how we tried, we couldn’t justify such a high price. Especially when there is an endless supply of portable Bluetooth speakers under $100 that blow this speaker away in performance.
The Voltrox Power Bank
The second of the accessories we tested out was the Voltrox power bank accessory that can be purchased separately. It is thinner than the speaker, but only by a few millimeters (it comes in at just above a quarter of an inch. It still adds a bit of girth to the phone, so you may or may not have it in your pocket when attached.
It features a 3000 mAH capacity for keeping your phone charged and can provide (or close to) a full charge to your phone when you find yourself running low on battery. The bank charges separately via a micro-USB port on the side (cable included but you have to find your own wall adapter) and features a short built-in cable that is custom to the model you purchase (to match your phone with). For example, the model we have is for the Samsung Galaxy S8+, thus it has a USB 3.1 Type-C cable at the bottom. When you’ve attached the bank to the back of your case, you simply pop the cable out when ready, plug it into your phone, and press the small round button on the bank to get started. It will then begin charging the device. There are LED lights on the bank that show the bank’s current charge.
The Voltrox power bank will run you around $49.99, making it more expensive than standalone banks, so you are definitely paying for the proprietary connection to the case. It does make a tough sell though when you can find standalone power banks out there for around $15-$25 that feature up to 10,000 mAH or greater capacity (that leads to multiple full charges for your device). It felt more like a $15-$20 accessory to us.
At the moment, all of these products are available via VibesAudio’s website and you can be sure to begin finding them elsewhere like Amazon real soon.
Over-all, it is a fascinating idea that a number of companies have tried to delivery. Allowing you to modulate your case will always be a fun trick, assuming it is affordable. The case works great, the speaker works great (for voice at least) and the battery bank works just fine. So it does indeed deliver where it wants to. However, the price on that speaker is crazy expensive and the battery bank isn’t perfectly priced either (which contributes the most to the price). The case itself nor the accessories offer a kickstand *for the phone*, so you won’t be propping your phone up at any point, and there is a complete loss of Qi charging when using any of these. The last few points dropped the score down by a little and the price did the rest. So these are great, but that price needs to come down.
|Buy from VibesAudio|
$29.99 – $49.99 – $149.99
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
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