The Sugr Cube speaker would make Steve Jobs proud. At least that’s what the designers had in mind while drawing up sketches for the audio device. “Besides the technology, we want to present our respect to Apple and Jobs, so we designed the speaker to be iOS icon shaped with authentic wood surface,” said Sugr CEO Sean Song.
The China-based startup is experiencing firsthand the impact that the tech giant is having in Asia as it carves out a path for other local brands, like Xiaomi and Huawei, to follow. Not to be left behind, Song hopes to influence the audio electronics space in the same way with the release of its first smart speaker. The group launched a Kickstarter campaign in January of 2015 and never looked back. After hitting their goal of $60,000, the company delivered what could be the best looking organic speaker on the market today.
Boxy and Loud
The Sugr Cube takes on the shape of a sleek, rounded box. You have the option to choose between locally sourced cherry or maple wood for the case, and both look great. To prevent the device from vibrating off your table, there’s a rubber piece underneath the unit. One of the first things you’ll notice is the missing controls and cables. Music streams over Wi-Fi, and you’ll have to use your smartphone to push tracks to the speaker.
However, there are a set of basic controls built into the actual device. Tapping the top of the box initiates playback and pause features. You can also tilt it left or right to skip tracks or navigate around a long playlist. There aren’t any buttons available, so you’d have to do a bit of feeling around when you first get the speaker. The lack of markings plays in well with the overall design and theme of the product. Behind the unit, there is a huge volume knob and a USB port for direct connections.
As mentioned earlier, the main controls come from the official Sugr Cube app (compatible with iOS and Android). Setting up only takes a few minutes, and because it relies on your local, wireless network, you’ll need your Wi-Fi password handy to complete the process. “In the mobile app itself, you’ve got the option to stream from Pandora and Spotify, or tune in to streaming radio from China’s Douya or any of the dozens of stations available in the app,” wrote C. Custer from Tech in Asia.
Users also have the option to load songs into the speaker (up to 4GB worth of audio content). That’s more than enough space for a weekend of jamming out on the road or at a campsite. The wireless feature adds to the portability of the device, which allows you to carry it around with you everywhere. Those who are interested in the speaker can order one directly from the company for $229. There aren’t any accessories for the device, and frankly speaking, it doesn’t need any – the Sugr Cube speaks for itself.