Harman Kardon Aura review

Harman Kardon Aura review

A few months back we reviewed some of the best wireless speakers that you could get for your home. Today we’re looking at another addition to this lineup – this is a Harman Kardon Aura review.

Not to be confused with the Harman Kardon Aura Studio, which looks identical, but has quite a few useful features missing. Right now might be a really good time to get yourself an Aura, because it already came out couple of years ago. This means that prices have had time to drop… and they have, quite significantly. Currently you can pick one up from Amazon for just under $200.

Harman Kardon Aura
Harman Kardon Aura

Let’s have a look what this money is getting you. Like one contestant from our previous review – the Harman Kardon Soundsticks, these have a really standout design, while keeping a minimalistic and clean style. The SoundSticks are currently 18 years old, and still look great. The styling of the Aura is even more subdued, so it will probably stand the test of time even better.

 

Connectivity

Aura black
Aura black

The Harman Kardon Aura offers you almost all connectivity types known to mankind. As mentioned before the Aura Studio only offers Bluetooth. But with Aura you can also add Apple’s AirPlay, DLNA for Android and Windows, USB, WiFi, optical connector and a regular 3.5mm audio connector (AUX in). There’s also support for using Spotify Connect and it comes with a built-in microphone.
This should get you covered no matter what your audio source is. Next up let’s investigate how it sounds.

Sound quality

The Aura has 6 mid to high-range 1.5” transducers for accurate, omni-directional sound and a 4.5” subwoofer for rich, powerful bass. Being omnidirectional makes sure that it fills the room with sound equally in every direction and it doesn’t really matter where the speaker is located in the room and the audio doesn’t get distorted as you move around.
The bass from the 4.5” subwoofer is nice and juicy and when you crank the volume up it really fills up the room. Also you might get some upset neighbours, because for its size the Aura really packs a punch.

Overall the audio is really well balanced, not too bass-heavy and doesn’t get distorted even at the higher end of the volume slider.

Harman Kardon Aura close up
Harman Kardon Aura close up

Design

Aura in the dark
Aura in the dark

Design is really one of the key selling points of the Harman Kardon Aura. The mix of minimalistic and futuristic style might not be for everyone, but if you do like it, then you don’t need to worry about it looking old any time soon.
The top jellyfish-looking glass dome is actually not glass but polycarbonate, which feeds the subwoofer with air using the central cone. The cone also lights up as you increase the volume. Bottom part is covered with a high-quality cloth material and above it is a rubberised strip that houses all the controls.

We were also a bit surprised that most of the Harman Kardon Aura reviews fail to mention that it looks absolutely gorgeous in the dark.

These controls are the only part that could be improved and where they made some compromises in usability in favouring the clean design lines. While the volume adjuster is essentially a slider, where you can drag your finger on and is quite easy to use, then the power button on the side takes some time time getting used to. But because you don’t need to hit it exactly, but can just drag your finger over it, then it’s not a big issue.

Overall the design just looks really clean and sleek. You don’t need to take my word for it – the nice Swiss people also gave it the Red Dot design award in 2013 when the Aura was first released.

 

Durability

Aura base close up
Aura base close up

When doing research for this review we also talked to 5 people who had owned the Aura for 2 years or more. All of them were still happy with their purchase and had had no significant issues during their time of ownership. Two people commented that the app to control the device remotely sometimes crashes (about once per month), but this is not huge issue as you can just relaunch it or use the buttons on the device. Another said that she wished that she could change the colour of the LED glow inside the glass dome, which you currently can’t do.

Other than that I heard no complaints and even years later all of the owners were really happy with their Auras.

 

What’s in the box

In the box you’ll find the Aura itself, which comes in two pieces – top and bottom parts are detachable. You’ll also get an AC adapter and a quick start guide. What’s not in the box, but definitely worth getting on your phone is the Harman Kardon Aura app. This will give you full access over the device. You can use it to select songs, set volume (if you can’t be bothered with using the buttons on the device) and even setting the bass levels. In case you’re lucky enough to own more than one Aura, you can also give them names.

 

Specifications

Frequency response: 50Hz – 20kHz
Maximum SPL: 93dB
Power output: 2 x 15W + 1 x 30W
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 80dB
Input Sensitivity/Impedance 250mV / >3k ohm

Height (in) 10-7/8
Width (in) 8-3/4
Height (mm) 276
Width (mm) 223

Conclusion

All in all the Harman Kardon Aura is an ideal package of home audio equipment where good audio quality, awesome looks and reasonable price all come together in a single device. Currently you can grab it from Amazon at just under $200, and if you only need Bluetooth for connectivity, then you can even go for the Aura Studio which is cheaper, but looks and sounds exactly the same. If you’re looking for the best wireless audio system for your home, then Harman Kardon Aura is our recommendation. You can make an awesome Christmas gift by getting one for yourself or a loved one. This concludes our Harman Kardon Aura review. Just click the button below to buy it from Amazon.