The Blue Aura X30s are a petite pair of £300ish Bluetooth stereo speakers – and they’re from a brand we haven’t reviewed before.
Founded in 2010, this Cambridgeshire-based audio company specialises in wireless and Bluetooth speaker systems, with ease of use given as much prominence as sound quality.
The X30s look promising: compact, well built, and with a good spread of wireless and wired features. But can they match the class-leaders?
Bluetooth is the main method of playing music, and pairing with an Apple iPhone 5S is swift and easy.
The Blue Auras also have NFC (Near-Field Communication), and a quick tap with the Google Nexus 5 gets us connected with minimal fuss.
Play Didn’t It Rain by Hugh Laurie and the Blue Aura X30s sound pleasant.
They have a smooth presentation – perhaps a touch too smooth – that lends itself nicely to low-quality streams from Spotify.
The X30s do support the higher-quality aptX codec to help boost Bluetooth streaming, and while that improvement is apparent in rivals such as the upgraded Roth OLi POWA-5s, the X30s aren’t quite as distinct.
Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea sounds quite muffled and cloudy and, coupled with a limited dynamic reach, the overall soundfield can get rather congested.
Voices are smooth and direct, but they’re not as natural or expressive as on the Ruark MR1s. We would have liked a clearer and more articulate sound.
That lively bass in Didn’t It Rain isn’t quite as punchy and agile as we’d like, either. The low end doesn’t go that deep, and it can plod along somewhat.
On the other hand, the top end is well behaved and has sweetness to it. Timing might not be all it could be, but there are no harsh edges with the Blue Auras.
These speakers are the ideal desktop size, similar to the dinky Audio Pro Addon T8s. They’re small enough to sit unobtrusively next to a laptop without taking up too much space.
Build quality is sturdy, while the faux-leather finish gives a soft but tough texture. The X30s are available in three finishes: graphite, sahara, or arctic white.
Inside each speaker is a 20mm soft-dome tweeter and a 3.5in paper cone, while the master speaker houses a 25W-per-channel class D amplifier.
Bluetooth streaming is the highlight feature here, but wired connections haven’t been forgotten.
A pair of RCA inputs (for analogue sources) and a digital optical input (to connect to a TV or laptop) are situated on the master speaker’s back panel.
There’s no 3.5mm input, however, so you'll need a 3.5mm-to-stereo RCA cable to connect phones or MP3 players that don't support Bluetooth.
A USB port for an optional wireless receiver is provided, as is a subwoofer output should you want to add some much-needed oomph to the X30s.
The remote is small and basic, but we like the big buttons, and it’s responsive.
Pleasant as they are, the Blue Aura X30 speakers aren’t the subtlest or most involving listen. The similarly petite Audio Pro Addon T8s deliver a clearer, livelier sound, and cost £40 less than the Blue Auras’ £290.
The build, design and size are all spot-on for speakers of their kind, but the X30s face fierce competition from well established, more talented rivals.
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