Retro Design that gives you really cool retro Pixel art
Divoom is a cool company they bring me back to the time of old 8-bit video games from Atari, Sega, and Nintendo. I checked out Divoom a few years ago while at CES and still use the older square TimeBox they provided me with then. While walking the show floor this year, I was super excited to see them again and check out what was new with their company. While they still sell the TimeBox, along with a few other products, their newest product is the Tivoo.
Tivoo is what’s known as a ‘personal pixel art assistant’. It has a 16×16 pixel display and a Bluetooth speaker inside a very well-designed retro TV case. On the front of the Tivoo, you will find the controls in the form of rotating knobs and a single press button. Knob #1 controls the ‘channels’ of the Tivoo while Knob #2 adjusts the volume, voice functions, play/pause and answer/end calls functions, and next/previous track control. The actual button controls the modes. You can switch between Bluetooth, Aux, or TF card. On the reverse side of the Tivoo, you will find the power button, aux port, reset button, USB charging port, and TF card slot.
The Tivoo is not very large and takes up minimal space on a desk. It measures 100 x 83 x 83 mm (L,W,H) and only weighs 341 grams. The speaker itself is 45mm in size and has a frequency response rate of 80-20KHz. It has a battery capacity of 3000mAh and will play for up to 6 hours. The Tivoo has a wireless range of up to 33ft and is compatible with Bluetooth 4.2. In addition to basic Bluetooth speaker functions, you also have the ability to create and display unique pixel art pieces on the screen. Tivoo works hand-in-hand with its mobile app and with it you can utilize any of these functions:
- Pixel Creation
- Pixel Animation
- VJ Creator
- Daily Planner
- Sleep Aid
- Smart Alarm
- Pixel Tools
One of the first things I typically do when I get a new product is to visit the developer’s website. This is where I pull my product details from and any background information on the company. The reason I am pointing this out is that Divoom’s website is rather outdated. TiVoo is not even listed as a product except on the front page where it’s included in the scrolling banner of images. When you attempt to click on it, the page reverts back to the home page instead of a linked product page. I even tried locating the product page by typing in a similar nomenclature to other product pages on the website and it redirected me back to the homepage. The company has tweeted about the product as recent as March 8, but it’s impressively absent from the website and most other online sources as this article goes to publish.
That said, I can now talk a little about the product experience. It arrives in a white plastic box. When you lift up the lid, you will find a packet that includes the user manual, some stickers, and postcards. Beneath that, you’ll find the Tivoo speaker itself as another kit that has the Micro USB charging cable and a short 3.5mm stereo aux cable. Everything you need to operate the speaker is tucked away nicely into this box. I was really happy to find the elements that were included with the device as sometimes designers leave out essential items that you then have to supplement with your own things.
Even though the user manual is bound together as a booklet, the instructions are truly only 8 short pages long. There are multiple languages included in the book, thus the basis for its size. Since there are so many languages included, I expected to find some grammar errors but was delighted to find that there weren’t as many as some multi-language guides I’ve seen. I mainly found some punctuation and spacing mistakes, which are pretty common in these types of user manuals. The guide includes basic set up instructions and functionality. The headings in the instructions are as follows (listed as printed in the booklet):
- How to connect in Bluetooth
- Function list-Mobile application
- More setup information
- How to connect in Aux mode?
- How to record a voice memo (up to 60 seconds)?
- How to setup a manual alarm?
- How to use the TF card with the Tivoo?
- How to charge?
- Specification details
As far as the Tivoo’s function as a speaker, it’s actually not bad. I didn’t expect it to be an all-powerful speaker given its size, but I was actually impressed with how much power it did put out. I love that it gives you the option to customize the display because, in my mind, that’s really the reason to pick up this little gadget. The design of this speaker is unique and definitely a talking piece. Alone, it can act as a simple Bluetooth speaker, but the real magic happens when you download the app.
Now, the app has a few quirks to it. For example, at one point, I was unable to do anything in the app without it quitting. I kept getting an on-screen error, but it was written in Chinese characters and it took me translating it with Google Translate to figure out that it was a firmware update. The update will start automatically, but until I actually translated the message, I didn’t know what was going on so I would quit the app. There other screens that are also in Chinese that pop up that warn you not to quit the app during the firmware update and when it’s performing a verification check. It would really nice if the app were updated to give the user language choices rather than having the predetermined Chinese in place that could potentially confuse people.
Aside from that bobble, the app is pretty easy to understand. I personally tried out the custom design screen, game, DJ mixer, and leditor. The planner is a little chaotic. I was hoping that maybe it would connect to my Calendar app and import items from that, but instead, you have the option to choose between a Daily Time, Child Time, Baby Time, or customized planner. With each option, you have to manually input your scheduled items. Honestly, I think the only real downfall of this device is the app. If it were to receive a major update that worked more directly with iOS (or Android) as an operating system, I think this would be a really great ‘personal assistant’ machine. The connection between the phone and the Tivoo was solid and anytime I updated something in the app, it was immediately beamed to the Tivoo, but there is just something lacking about the app interface.
Divoom puts out some really cool products that play with light in a unique way. Being a fan of light and lighting effects, I really love the look of Tivoo and what it does. The fact that it includes a Bluetooth speaker and features like voice memos and even a noise meter, make it that much more intriguing. The device works, but I feel it has some bugs — especially in the app. As of right now, I cannot find anywhere online where it’s being offered for sale. I was able to find it on a site called Blitz Micro, but it wasn’t in stock. It did show the Tivoo’s retail price at approximately $98 USD. I’m hoping that perhaps Divoom will update their website and start offering this little speaker on Amazon soon.