Review of Sonivo Induction Speaker
The speaker comes in matte black plastic and measures 12.5cm by 6.9 cm by 4.4cm, which makes for a very compact little box. It’s not exactly something you can throw in your pocket, but it’s great for throwing in a backpack. Admittedly, it’s more bulky than the rounded speakers you’ll see like the X-Mini II or Veho 360BT.
The speaker is stupidly simple to use, there’s just a power switch. It doesn’t even have a volume control as it just amplifies its input source. If you like to have fine control over everything you may not like this. However, it saves you having to think about the multiplicative nature of having two volume controls.
The unique selling point of this speaker is of course its inductive input. By this, I mean that all you have to do is lay your smartphone or other portable media player (e.g. an iPod) on top and the sound from your device’s speaker is carried into and amplified by the Sonivo speaker.
If you understand anything about electronics, you’ll understand the principal of electromagnetic induction – and that this is how speakers work. For those who don’t – when a current is passed through a wire coil it creates a magnetic field, which can move a permanent magnet. It’s like when you get two bar magnets and they’ll either mutually attract or repel each other. In speakers the magnet pushes and pulls on the speaker cone and that then creates sound.
This makes it ridiculously easy to get the sound from your portable device into the induction speaker. There’s no Bluetooth (or Wifi) pairing and there’s no cables. In case you’re wondering if this is really NFC – i.e. near field communications with tap-to-pair Bluetooth – no, it isn’t. It’s completely analogue tech.
That means this is actually fun to use, and you can even carry it around your house, just pick the pair of devices together and go into another room.
If you’re thinking that this sounds too good to be true – it is. The unique selling point of induction input means that the speaker is terribly susceptible to interference. We’re all familiar with the interference that mobile phones can have on audio equipment. Unfortunately, the Sonivo induction speaker not only picks up the audio from the speaker, but it picks up the digital signals from the phone’s cellular radios, which is pretty unpleasant.
All is not lost though, because the speaker also has a 3.5mm audio input socket and there’s an auxiliary audio cable supplied too. That way you can leave it on your desk and hook it up to your laptop to enjoy much better sound than laptops can manage on their own.
One last point, is that the speaker has an internal battery which is charged via a Mini USB port. I don’t know why portable speakers all seem to use Mini USB – it would make far more sense to use Micro USB so that they could be charged from smartphone chargers!