Tivoo-Max speaker

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 3/5
Value for money 3/5

Divoom is a maker of portable wireless speakers that use a digital art form called pixel art to stand out from the crowd. Its Bluetooth speakers are retro-inspired and come in the shape of TV or computer screens from the 1980s.

At the top of the line sits the Tivoo-Max, a powerful 40W speaker. You don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate how powerful its 2.1 stereo speaker is. It is kitted with two 10W stereo speakers on either side with a 20W subwoofer and a bass port. It paired effortlessly with Android and iPhone devices alike, accompanied by the Divoom app to access additional features.

I’ve been using the speaker for calls, which have increased markedly during the Covid-19 lockdown — and to listen to music, podcasts or the occasional radio show.

There’s just something about firing up your favourite playlists on it and appreciating every emphasised beat. The quality is better than that of other Bluetooth speakers in my home.

The Tivoo-Max offers additional features such as the ability to create pixel art, smart alarm functionality, a sleep aid, social media notifications support, and a DJ mixing tool with a piano, xylophone, drum and so on.

It may sound gimmicky, but the pixel art is fun to play with. You’ll have access to a gallery of existing artwork that has been voted up by its community of users.

The speaker is equipped with a 256 programmable LED panel that displays 16-million colours. Aside from loading favourite images to loop on the display, you can put together your own text and patterns.

Additionally, it can be used as a daily planner with weather status and a scoreboard if you’re playing games. It also has a noise meter, stopwatch and countdown timer. Messages can be sent directly to other users with an account on the Divoom app, and these will be displayed on their speaker.

Its functionality may sound overwhelming and take a while to grasp, but it supports various "channels" to toggle between modes; one of my favourites is a visualiser for music playback.

The Tivoo-Max retro pixel art speaker is a fun gadget for the whole family and delivers powerful sound even though some features may be gimmicky.

It is priced at R2,300, available at Divoom.co.za.