Anyone who has longed to easily play their MP3 tunes on a high-end stereo system may want to take a look at Mohu’s new BeBox, a device aimed squarely at audiophiles and party hosts.
Commonly known for their revolutionary flat, wall-hanging HDTV antennas, Mohu has branched out into other high-tech products, such as their recently released BeBox audio system. The BeBox combines an Android OS 4.4.2 KitKat tablet, complete with color 7″ LCD touchscreen, Google Play and Wi-Fi, with a premium sound system.
BeBox comes with an AC charger, but it can also run on battery, making it perfect for parties and outdoor events. Its battery seems to last quite a bit longer than its estimated 8 hours, too, at least for playing music.
It’s a tablet, inside an audio system
BeBox plays most types of audio files, including MP3s and any other Android-supported formats. It can draw music from a USB flash drive of up to 64 GB, a microSD card up to 32 GB in size, an external player (for which a 3.5 mm aux cable is included), a Bluetooth connection or a network media server. It also sports an HDMI port for streaming videos from the BeBox to an HDMI screen.
BeBox contains a 6.5-inch high performance, long throw woofer along with two soft dome tweeters and two 3-inch midrange drivers. Its sound quality certainly outperforms the Bluetooth speaker options on the market.
The unit measures 13.3 inches high by 19 inches wide and 5 inches deep. Along with the power cable and stereo audio cable, BeBox comes with a handy cleaning cloth for the screen.
Modern day boom box
For those who are old enough to remember boom boxes that played radio stations and cassette tapes, the BeBox will bring back memories of those former staples of beach visits, parties, school dances, backyard barbecues and all sorts of other festivities. Its convenient rear carry handle and weight of 14.5 pounds make it easy to haul to any get-together.
Kids no longer need to carry jam boxes on their shoulders, since they can play their tunes on MP3 players, iPods, tablets or smartphones. However, BeBox offers the ability to take all those music files and play them for a crowd. Or, play tunes loud enough to hear around the house or garage while working on chores and projects, without wearing cumbersome headphones or earbuds.
Easy setup and smooth streaming
In addition to serving as a sound system for digital music, BeBox also functions as an Android device. It’s fully compatible with Angry Birds, VLC Media Player and other apps available in the Google Play Store.
Setup on the BeBox is as easy as setting up any Android smartphone or tablet. It quickly joins a home Wi-Fi network and connects to a Google account to access the Google Play Store.
Be sure to disable notifications on email, calendar and other apps that might show a lot of them, like Facebook, Hangouts or Twitter. Otherwise, notification beeps will periodically interrupt the flow of music.
Apps on the BeBox look great on its 1024×600 resolution display, and most run smoothly on its ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor. BeBox works swimmingly as a jam box for listening to Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music or Amazon Prime Music.
YouTube videos and playlists also stream seemlessly. The only app that didn’t work well was VEVO, which offers popular music videos from today as well as over the course of the last few decades.
The VEVO app stops after each song requires relaunching and re-entering login credentials each time. This is small potatoes, though, since there are so many other choices for playing music on the BeBox.
Though BeBox doesn’t contain an FM radio tuner, most radio stations have online streaming. BeBox can handle radio streaming through the various Android FM streaming apps available in the Google Play Store.
The BeBox is currently available only directly through Mohu’s website for a pricetag of around $500, which is in the same price range as an iPad. The author used a demo device for the purpose of this honest evaluation.