Today we’re pitting two wireless speaker models from Harman Kardon in a test of performance, the Onyx and Aura.
Before we begin, we should point out that these speakers are very different from one another, and they’re both incredible value if used in certain environments.
In a nutshell, Onyx is a bit better outdoors while Aura, the tabletop model, is perfect for home use.
In a nutshell, the Onyx (Studio 4) is a marvelous compact Bluetooth speaker. It boasts a well-balanced rich soundstage, an elegant and portable design, superb wireless connectivity, a built-in microphone, and a rechargeable battery.
Aesthetics and compactness
One of the main reasons why people absolutely love the Harman Kardon Onyx speaker is because it looks absolutely great. It sports an elegant design and comes available in three different color variations.
On top of that, it weighs about 4.6 pounds and rocks an 11-inch diameter frame, which allows you to place it practically anywhere you want to.
The Onyx speaker’s forte is its connectivity type. It comes supplied with three input ports, including a Micro-USB port, a 3.5 auxiliary port, and a DC input. On top of that, all of these inputs are conveniently placed right next to each other on the back of the speaker.
This speaker rocks a set of two 75mm woofers and two 20mm tweeters, as well as a passive radiator. It rocks the Multi-host feature, allowing up to two devices to be simultaneously connected on the speaker and rocks a 33-feet Bluetooth range.
On top of that, one of the most distinguishable features (as well as a feature that separates it from Aura) is the built-in speaker microphone that boasts VoiceLogic and Noise Cancelling technologies. It also rocks voice assistant support so you will be able to access Siri or Google Now by holding down the call button. You’ll need to configure this particular feature on your own, though.
Slightly flimsier-than-average design
Although it looks very cool, you should take good care while using the Onyx wireless speaker. Its design isn’t so durable so as to withstand accidental bumps and drops. However, there’s a plus side to it – it’s a great outdoor wireless speaker due to its built-in battery.
Again, its flimsiness requires you to keep it out of harm’s way. It’s also not waterproof, so if you wanted to use it for beach parties, you should probably look for a different model.
Onyx built-in battery
The first thing that people didn’t like about the Onyx Bluetooth speaker is the quality of its built-in battery. Even though it is rechargeable, it’s pretty weak in general, allowing for quite a short total playtime.
The total playtime of Onyx Bluetooth speaker is some 7 hours, but only if you’re playing your music at half the capacity, otherwise it’s substantially less. The battery needs 5 hours to recharge, which is quite a long time in comparison to similar types of batteries.
The Aura is significantly different from the Onyx. It’s a tabletop speaker with plenty of bass that sounds absolutely amazing.
In truth, Aura and Onyx feature similar connectivity features, although Onyx has the upper hand here. The Aura rocks a 3.5mm Auxiliary port and the Micro-USB service port, but it lacks the DC input. Another thing that separates these two models in terms of connectivity is that Aura features these inputs on the front panel.
Furthermore, Aura supports DLNA, Bluetooth, and AirPlay, allowing you to easily use it and access its core functions via tablets, smartphones, or PCs.
Relatively compact construction
The Aura speaker has a ‘relatively compact construction’ which means that it has a small footprint, but it’s quite tall. Even though it might be a bit more durable than Onyx, the difference between these two models in terms of sturdiness is minimal. It’s made of quality materials, but you should handle it with care.
This speaker model comes outfitted with two 15w tweeters and a single 30w woofer, but in turn, it consumes the least bit of power when it’s in standby mode.
Its battery life is superior to Onyx speaker by 3 hours, allowing you to benefit from a total of 10 hours of playtime.
One of the most interesting features of Aura Studio 2 is the ambient lighting. It can really set the right mood for parties or romantic evenings.
The Aura Studio 2 has slightly less power than Onyx as it rocks a single woofer and weaker tweeters. Even so, it’s pretty loud in the home environment, although you should note that using it at max volume settings will burn the battery up a bit faster.
Not as versatile as Onyx
The Aura is supported by rubber legs, which is pretty normal for a tabletops speaker. However, this also means that using it outdoors might be difficult in certain situations. It rocks a wireless connection and it’s pretty compact, so technically speaking you can use it outdoors, but finding the right spot is a bit harder than it would have been with the Onyx speaker model.
Aura has a set of incredibly ‘reactive’ touch-sensitive controls. You’ll find that adjusting the volume will often lead to jump scares as it varies from completely silent to window-shattering until you’ve gotten the hang of it.
Even though both of these models are phenomenal, objectively speaking the Harman Onyx is superior to the Aura model for several reasons.
First of all, the Onyx features a control panel on board, allowing you to easily access volume control without needing to interact with cables (or any other device that it is connected to), providing a more convenient approach.
It’s a bit more compact since it’s roughly 10% smaller than Aura and it weighs some 7.8 ounces less. It has a rechargeable battery, as well as a battery-level indicator, a noise-canceling microphone, and a bit extra output power.