TODO alt text

Magicbox Beam review

Music aficionados look elsewhere...

Our Verdict

For

  • Easy to set up
  • Good range of features
  • Touchscreen UI is easy to use

Against

  • Iffy sound quality

On paper the Beam iPod/iPhone speaker dock from Magicbox sounds like an absolute steal.

Priced at just £180 it boasts a DAB, DAB+ and FM radio tuner, built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet port for streaming over 11,000 internet radio stations and/or tunes from your iTunes library; plus a touchscreen user interface that makes it a breeze to use.

The catch comes from Magicbox Products' outlandish claim that the Beam is aimed at 'serious music aficionados' - a claim that we're about to disagree with.

It all starts off so well. The key feature list above is an obvious attraction for anyone on a tight budget - and the Magicbox Beam certainly looks the part, thanks to a soundbar-style design with a colour 3.5mm touchscreen display.

The touchscreen gives you iOS-style user icons that give quick access to the Magicbox Beam's various features and you should have no problems setting up and using the speaker dock despite the presence of a setup wizard and the unit's refusal to lock onto any FM stations worth listening to - most of the time we ended up with static.

You can even use the Magicbox Beam to stream content from your Mac's iTunes library even though it lacks AirPlay. So far, so good.

The Magicbox Beam's biggest flaw lies in its sound quality and build. Although it feels solid enough, everything about it feels cheap and plasticky - and that's reflected in its sound quality, which at best manages to be both boomy and rather tinny and is better suited to simply recorded tunes playing at relatively low volumes, rather than more complicated stuff cranked louder.

True, you can get more tuneful bass out of it by tweaking its EQ settings, but even then 'serious music aficionados' are likely to feel cheated.

Tech Specs

Product TypeClock Radio
Frequency BandDAB, DAB+, FM
Proprietary InterfaceYes
Apple Dock InterfaceYes
Brand NameMagicBox
Form FactorWall Mountable
Built-in DevicesCharging Dock, iPhone Dock, iPod Dock
Speaker Form FactorIntegrated
RMS Output Power20 W
Auxiliary InputYes
ColourBlack
Audio DecodingStereo
Station Presets20
FeaturesInternet Radio, Touchscreen
ManufacturerEuro Suisse International Limited
Product NameDAB/FM Radio
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen TypeLCD
Frequency Band/BandwidthDAB, DAB+, FM
Manufacturer Part NumberBEAM
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.eurosuisse.com
Marketing Information

Designed to take centre stage in the most elegant of living rooms, the Beam is audio furniture at its most stylish. This is for serious music afficionados - beautiful, well-balanced and high-powered speakers deliver a sublime aural experience. Not only is the Beam a pleasure to listen to but it's a delight to use too.