If you’re like us and want more of your gadgets to have some unique design, rather than being black, oblong box, than we have a good news for you. One company is going in a different direction regarding their designs. This is the new Echobox Explorer, and no, it isn’t some flask for your liquor. It’s just a music player, which is a little different from the others you’ve ever seen before. Other than its woody construct and cool design, what makes it different is that, it’s created specifically to use with Jay Z’s hi-res music streaming service Tidal.
The player also has Tidal pre-installed in it, with a three month free service(which costs $60), so you can stream all you favorite tracks in hi-res. We’d love to say, you can do all this on the move, but the player is not a replacement for your smartphone as it doesn’t come with a SIM card slot. It only has WiFi, so the best you can do is connect it to your phone’s hotspot while out and about.
But this doesn’t stop it being crazy and hopelessly cool, to look at. The flask like design makes it sleak to simply slip it into you pocket, as well as, funky to carry it around in your hand. The company provides four options in the wood design to choose from and that awesome knurled “cap” that twists to adjust the volume and pushes to turn the device on and off.
Echobox has used the open source version of Android on the Explorer, which means it doesn’t come with Google Play installed. It’s also version 4.2, which is way behind the most up to date Android release. While it’s slightly less of a concern here than on a phone, due to the absence of permanent connectivity, it’s still not ideal.
Apart from Tidal, the player can also read almost all formats of a music file with the USB Audio Player Pro app. Additionally, if you can side-load APK files of other apps like Spotify or SoundCloud, you may very well don’t need a Tidal subscription then. THe player comes with 64 GB of in-built memory and also has as MicroSD card slot to add another 128 GB. It also packs a 4500 mAh battery which is expected to provide play-back time of around 12-16 hours.
A Texas Instruments Burr Brown DAC, and a Texas Instruments TPA6120A2 amp provide the musical power, and a Rockchip 1.6GHz quad-core processor drives the Android operating system and apps, with 2GB of RAM. Echobox’s own titanium in-ear headphones, provide crisp, clear audio. Plenty of bass thump can also be felt, but it isn’t overpowering. The earbuds also come with three screw-on filters which change the audio response to give more bass, enhanced treble or a flatter response.
In order to pre-order the Echobox Explorer one has to shed out $500, but that’s not it. These $500 doesn’t cover for headphones and the titanium model cost an additional $230 with an iPhone-compatible in-line microphone. If you’re also interested in buying along a flashy charging dock in matching wood, it would cost you another $75. Though, you do get a leather case included, so you can protect the woody body. We don’t recommend Echobox Explorer to people with mobile plans that doesn’t allow the use of a hotspot. However, if Wi-Fi is ever-present in your life, and your head is turned by the fun design, you may want to give the Echobox Explorer a shot — or should we say swig? This is it for now, stay tuned for further updates.