The VolkanoX Python Series Bluetooth speaker has a couple of things going for it. There's the price, which is excellent. There's the volume, which is loud. And there are also the features, which are surprisingly full-bodied. It's a pity we can't say the same about the audio quality, which remains flat almost no matter what you do, but it's still worth taking a look at.
Stuff has waded into the waters where VolkanoX’s audio gear lurks before but we weren’t expecting to encounter the Python while we were there. This fairly large (it’s sized somewhere between a two-litre Coke bottle and a large coffee tin) speaker isn’t the best-sounding thing you’ll ever encounter. Nor is it the most expensive. And the audio, frankly, might just surprise you.
As with the VolkanoX Silenzo headphones, this Bluetooth speaker combines some budget and higher-end features with a solidly budget price point to produce something that’s worth checking out. If you’re an audiophile, you can check out now. We haven’t discovered a unicorn or anything. But if you’re a fan of portable tunes, you might want to listen a little longer.
No need to swallow this pill
The Python Series speaker from VolkanoX doesn’t ship with much in the box. When we get to the price, it’ll immediately be clear why this is. There’s the speaker itself, which offers bulk but doesn’t overdo the weight. Then there’s a packet containing a small user manual, the strap that connects to the two anchor points at the top of the Python, and a USB-A to USB-C charge cable.
The pill-shaped audio box — it shares a shape with the pricier JBL Flip 6 — features a power button up top, and an array of buttons moving down the front face to the battery charge indicator, which sits just about the VolkanoX logo. Users can activate TWS, if they have two speakers, access the microphone, play, pause, switch tracks, control the volume, and also control the LED lights embedded in the sides of the unit. There are only two options there: On and off.
What it lacks is a visual indicator of which of the various input methods you’re using. There’s Bluetooth, an aux option (and a cable in case you plan to use it), and then plain ol’ FM radio. But you’re left guessing which of these you’ve selected until a) FM static kicks in, b) the speaker wirelessly connects, or c) nothing happens.
Light on sound
But a VolkanoX speaker, even if it’s the brand’s ‘high-end’ line, isn’t expected to be up to much in the audio stakes. At least, that’s what we thought going in. After all, if they’re going to drop the ball on the connection options, what else have they messed up? Turns out, not that much.
You won’t get a decent 360° spread of sound but that’s fine because you’re not paying for that. The Python will cost you about a thousand bucks (give or take a few hundred) so, despite its shape, you can expect the audio to sound best when the speaker is facing your ugly mug and is somewhere on your level (more or less). If you’re somewhere off to the sides or behind the speaker, audio quality drops off fairly quickly. That said, the volume controls can take up some of the slack. Seriously, the VolkanoX Python can get loud.
But volume and quality aren’t really in the same ballpark. Yes, you’ll hear this one from several rooms away (and through walls) but there’s not much warmth to the output. It’ll handle conventional stuff fairly well — blast some 90s skatepark punk or even modern-day synthwave and you can be sure that the music will hold together for quite a while. Stick on something more challenging — like Cradle of Filth’s Crawling King Chaos — and you’ll immediately see the speaker lose detail. It’s also how you’ll see just how dependent the Python is on positioning.
Extras (not optional)
In other words, you can be certain of volume but your music quality might not always hold up. At that point, you should consider if the price is right for you. Since it probably is, let’s sweeten the pot a little. There are a couple of other features you should know about.
The Python charges via USB-C, if that’s something you’re interested in (you are). It’s also packing an IPx6 rating. Technically, you could spray it with a hose and it would still keep working. Don’t leave it in a urinal, though. It won’t survive that. And when it comes to the battery – it’ll run for hours. Up to ten, if you believe Volkano. In this case, we do. You’ll squeeze more time out if you turn off the RGB. Which is fine. It doesn’t do anything besides look vaguely cool.
Finally, it’s actually packing a microphone. There’s a dedicated button that lets you summon the digital assistant on a connected mobile device if that’s your thing. And you can actually receive and complete calls on this speaker, though the mic isn’t sensitive enough to let you do so from across the room. You’ll find yourself standing close to this hulking big pill-shaped speaker when chatting with whoever is calling you.
VolkanoX Python Series verdict
Could you buy a better speaker? Sure. Could you buy a better one for the same amount of money? Maybe (and that’s a big ‘maybe’) but it’ll be far smaller. Can you buy a better one, at this size, for this money? We’d honestly be surprised if you could. As with the VolkanoX Silenzo headphones, this offers surprising audio quality for the money. And since you don’t have to wear this on your head, it’s far easier to forgive the compromises in build quality. There’s only one aspect of the speaker we weren’t thrilled with — the lack of even a small LCD — but at just over R1,000 for something this loud, it’s an aspect we’re willing to overlook. We weren’t planning on using the aux function or FM radio anyway.