The Ninety7 Vaux speaker is your solution to transform your Amazon Echo Dot into an efficient smart speaker that you can carry around within your home. If you are one of the owners of the Amazon Echo Dot, you’ll most likely testify to the difficulty in moving the speakers around and having to shout long distances to communicate with the Echo, unsuccessfully most times. The Vaux is a battery powered wireless speaker that tackles most of the portability issues of the Echo Dot, sounding as an extension for the small and static device. At $50 (£60), the Vaux is a welcomed introduction from Ninety7 and will bring your Alexa access point-Echo dot closer to something like the Amazon Tap.
Things we loved about the Vaux
- Offers portability to the Echo Dot
- Affordable price
- Laudable audio quality
Things we didn’t like about the Vaux
- Battery could be improved
Ninety7 Vaux speaker Design
Functionality aside, the Vaux is not a stylish looking speaker. The Vaux sports a chunky cylindered shape available in white and black design for the corresponding Echo dot. The speaker looks alright from afar but close inspection will leave you in awe of how a hardware of this generation can lack any detailing and premium design to go with its performance offerings.
In fact, when placed alongside other mid-range speakers that are visually-appealing, the Vaux comes off second best. We would have liked to see the Vaux look a bit more high-end but given the price and the fact that it does everything that’s asked of it without a fuss, the design shortcomings can be forgiven.That being said, the Vaux measured 163mm in height and is 106mm wide; these dimensions make the Vaux smaller than the regular Amazon Echo dot.
At $50 (£60), the Vaux is a great way to compliment your Amazon Echo dot especially in terms of mobility. The sound is crisp and loud and generally would not distort until it’s turned up to higher volumes. The battery capacity could be bettered and the design should definitely be taken into serious consideration. Are there better alternatives? It depends on what your selection criteria are. The Vaux is an improvement over the options from Jam Audio, the Jam Voice and is at par with Creative Muvo 2. The Muvo 2 is however more effective at high volumes and is a better party rocker. However, for everyday usage and Amazon Assistant functions, the Vaux holds its own with the best of the sub-$100 (£120) Echo Dot speakers.
Ninety7 Vaux speaker setup
Setting up the device is very easy; to get started, slot in the dot and plug in a 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB cable. As soon as the Echo Dot boots up, the Vaux is ready to go. The speaker can be charged with the micro-USB cable and will take some 6 hours to fully charge from zero. There is no accompanying micro-USB and USB wall plug, but considering that the device is to be used with the Amazon Echo Dot, you’ll most likely have all the cables and wires you need. There are 3 LED lights on the power button which serves as a status indicator; one of the lights indicates charging while the other denotes power on. The third LED light shows low battery as there is no alternative method of checking the battery life. As expected, the Vaux will last longer on lower volumes and higher volumes take up more battery life.
The 3.5mm audio input also allows users to connect an external audio device like smartphones, using the 3.5mm input and inserting a cable allows users to bypass and override the Echo respectively and overriding will also cancel out the Amazon Alexa assistant. The Vaux requires stable Wi-Fi connectivity as the Echo dot does not switch between Wi-Fi networks by default, so you will need a decent router to ensure that your Echo is always connected and in range. While the Vaux may be able to endure light showers, it isn’t for outdoor user and should not be treated as such if the thunderclouds are out.
Our Video Review on the Ninety7 Vaux speaker
The audio quality of the Vaux is impressive, make no mistake about that and you would definitely notice the boost that it brings to the Echo Dot. The sound itself is clear and crisp and does not have the regular hum or buzz sound that is associated with most Bluetooth and portable speakers. The midrange is nice and pleasant and the treble is crisp. There is a little case for low bass with Vaux but the output can clearly be distinguished from the flat configuration.
Ninety7 Vaux speaker Volume
When the volume is cranked up, things begin to distort, but at regular volumes the Vaux is well-suited for good talk, podcasts and house parties. The speaker is loud and far better than what the Echo dot will give you by itself, but it doesn’t supersede the performance of the Amazon Echo. The Vaux also lacks surround audio which is quite surprising considering the all-round cylindrical appearance, as the Vaux favors a center diffraction sound method.
The Vaux is quite loud therefore you may be annoyed with the fact that the speaker’s low volume is still a tad bit high. While this sells the Vaux as a party rocker, if you have a habit of listening to blues or podcasts as you sleep you will find the Vaux slightly over-audible.
Ninety7 Vaux speaker battery life
The battery life varies with volume; at a ¼ of its volume capacity, the Vaux will go past the designated 6 hours which means that the Vaux will last you for a reasonable part of your day. The ¼ volume is quite loud and is just enough to get the audio loud if you are home alone. At higher volumes, the 6-hour battery range is what you’d get. The device should be charged at regular intervals even when not in use as it still has to power the Echo dot’s Wi-Fi connectivity and sound processing.