For the last few weeks I’ve been testing out the VAUX Speaker by Ninety7, which features a place to dock the Echo Dot that provides portable power and an audio upgrade in one package.

Whether you already have a Dot you’re looking to enhance or are debating between the various Echo speakers, keep reading after the break for our full review of this affordable accessory.

I’ve been using Amazon’s Echo Dot for about six months now, and while I find it highly useful overall, one of my frustrations has been switching between using the built-in speaker and an external one.

While the built-in speaker is fine for things like the news, weather, and ordering from Amazon, it’s not great for music. I’ve used an external Bluetooth speaker with the Dot which works well for improved sound quality, but I often move the speaker for other uses or have to re-pair the Dot making for a less than ideal experience.

I could buy another external speaker to keep with the Dot at all times, but that would leave me with two devices to keep plugged in without easy portability. What I like about the VAUX Speaker is the simplicity it offers in one package for improved sound and portability with the 6 hours or so of battery power.

Materials & Build

VAUX comes in two colors, Carbon (black) and Ash (gray and black). I tested out the Carbon variant which looks good most anywhere you put it. The majority of the speaker is covered by a fine knit acoustic mesh that the company treats with an anti-stain finish for durability.

The body of the speaker is plastic with silicone on the back around the power button, charging port, and aux input. The speaker has silicone on the base as well for slip-free use. VAUX’s dimensions come in at 6.2-inches high with a 4.2-inch diameter (very close to the size of Sonos’ PLAY:1).

The Echo Dot (2nd gen only) fits perfectly inside the top docking tray and it’s easy to plug in VAUX’s 3.5mm and micro-USB cables. I found it difficult to remove the micro-USB cable, then realized it’s much easier if you unplug the 3.5mm cable first, then slide Dot a little bit to remove the micro-USB plug (as Nintey7 mentions in the user guide). VAUX also has an aux input if you’d like to use a different device for your audio source.

VAUX Speaker has a one year warranty as well as a 30-day money back guarantee.

Sound Quality

VAUX uses two 52mm drivers and one 90mm x 50mm passive radiator to produce its sound. In my experience there’s no doubt that the speaker brings an improved sound quality and greater output to the Echo Dot. However, the quality and output is noticeably lower than my Sonos PLAY:1 or something like Logitech’s UE Boom (to be fair those speakers are 3-4 times more expensive).

VAUX puts out enough sound to fill our great room (kitchen and living room) but doesn’t produce much on the low-end and lacks the crispness and clarity you’ll find on more expensive speakers.

Battery Life

VAUX sports a 5,000mAh Lithium-ion battery to give you flexibility to move your Echo Dot around without needing to keep it plugged in. In my use I got about a half hour longer than the expected 6 hour battery life while playing music at about 60% volume.

VAUX charges via microUSB (not included) as the company expects you’ll use the one that came with your Echo Dot.

Conclusion

Something to keep in mind if you like the idea of taking your Echo Dot mobile is that you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection or a hotspot to be able to use Alexa and many of Dot’s features. Deciding if the VAUX Speaker is the right fit for you will likely depend on how you plan to use your Echo speaker.

For comparison, an Echo Dot + VAUX Speaker comes in at $100 ($50 each), with the Amazon Tap at $130 and the Echo at $180. The VAUX Speaker at $50 is a compelling option, particularly if you already have an Echo Dot and you find portability valuable. Being a new product it doesn’t have a large number of reviews as of yet, but VAUX Speaker already has a solid 4.1/5 stars on Amazon.

Buy the VAUX Speaker on Amazon.

Buy the VAUX Speaker from Ninety7.