In the box, I received the beautiful Aura sound system, one AC adaptor and a Harman installation app and the very essential quick-start guide. In a rather overcrowded wireless speaker market, having a product that stands out is important. Harman Kardon knows this reality quite well. Its design is a work of art and the uniquely designed Aura has a circular footprint with a diameter approximately 21.5 cm, while the height measures around 28 cm. This somewhat crystal ball kind of a speaker has the perfect size to sit on a desk, a shelf, the flooror wherever you want to display this eye-catching speaker.
With its 6 x 1.5 inch high and mid-range drivers, and a 4.5 inch sub-woofer delivering omnidirectional, 360 degree sound, the Aura packs a punch much larger than its modest footprint might suggest. Outfitted with premium materials and elite featuresincluding built-in Bluetooth to stream audio from your Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi for Apple AirPlay and DLNA streaming on your home networkthe Harman Kardon Aura will make you a proud owner in case you decide to possess it. From its premium cloth grill to its transparent enclosurewhich lets you see inside to observe the sub-woofer and its custom-built metal housing and illuminating LEDit indeed is a beauty.
You can use the Harman Kardon remote app to guide you through a simplified set-up, giving you full control over your wireless Harman Kardon ecosystem. Basically the app is a hub to manage your compatible Harman-Kardon devices. The key functions are there: you can sift through a devices music library; queue and repeat songs, or share them via email.
Switched on, I literally peeped into the plastic dome to catch the illumination coming from a ring of light towards the centre of the structure that represents the volume level and it looks cool when the lights go down. Other lights and buttons are kept to a minimum: there's a touch-sensitive volume slider, next to which are light-up source, power and Wi-Fi buttons.
The Aura sells itself as a wireless home speaker; however, it is equally dependent on wired inputs. It needs to be plugged into a power socket. Around the back theres a 3.5 mm jack and an optical input too, meaning it is suitable to used as an outlet from all kinds of sources, or even as a product to enhance TV sound should you want. But the wireless connectivity is its main sell. Aura provides Wi-Fi connectivity via DLNA and AirPlay, while Bluetooth is operational via many devices.
I established a wireless connection between the Aura and my mobile phone to play some music. Pairing via Bluetooth is easy and worked seamlessly. I also played a number of songs, both Hindi as well as English, from my laptop and the speaker simply sounds brilliant with its big, room-filling sound. Its loud without being overbearing, it sounds good at all volumes and the distinctive quality at all frequencies handles all kinds of genres with ease.
My takeaways: Aura stands alone in a world of me-too speakers, as it clearly demonstrates and shows that beauty can sound as stunning as it looks. A stylish showpiece for any room, its sure to catch a few eyes, turn a few heads and steal a few hearts. So go aheadconnect, stream, turn it up. You wont believe what youre hearing.
Estimated street price: Rs 34,990