Gravastar Mars/Venus Bluetooth Speaker Review: How a Beautiful Robot Destroyed My Marriage

I called our team last July to ask about the sound quality of the new Gravastar line of Bluetooth speakers we received for review. All I had seen was the box they came in and I was curious about the Mars Pro’s hefty weight of nearly 6 pounds, I figured that had to be a mix between the weight of the driver and the battery but wasn’t sure where most of that weight was coming from.

All the team had to say was, “These are awesome. Sound? Yeah, we still need to check that out.” And that pretty much sums up the first impression of Gravastar’s full line of Bluetooth speakers.

Fast-forward several months, and I can tell you that the sound quality will satisfy, and the build quality will impress, but it is the design and artistry that will steal the show… and continue to do so (spoiler alert). I can’t remember a Bluetooth speaker review that was not connected and playing within the first 60-seconds of unboxing. With the Mars Pro and Venus, it is a bit more like inspecting a watch. First, you notice the precision legs (or talons) set in a circle like proper clockwork. Then there are the vents, exhaust ports, cross-bracing, ear bumps, and multi-colored LEDs. You feel the need to roll it around in your hand to feel the balance of its weight before setting it down for closer examination. But wait, did we just say ear bumps?

Yes, we did, and that’s the thing, these Bluetooth speakers spark the imagination, drive your curiosity, and offer plenty of satisfaction just by their touch, balance, and feel.

And here’s why:

Gravastar Venus G2

The weight and balance of the Venus G2 allow it to stand in a variety of places with ease.

Let’s start with the entry-level Venus G2, which is a mini Bluetooth speaker, standing at only 2.8″ (nearly 4″ if you include its tripod legs). This mini speaker pumps out 10 watts of power, delivers a tight punch with its subwoofer, and can function as a paperweight thanks to its one pound of zinc alloy, driver, and battery.

The Venus G2 may be a bit on the heavy side, but it is also packed with a battery beefy enough to serve up 10 hours of playtime, and this is a punchy speaker with a good amount of drive. A full recharge will run you about 2 hours of downtime.

This is not a mini speaker that is going to roll over and play dead once you sit it on an uneven surface thanks to its three solid talons, grippy insulated pads, and well-balanced weight. Right out of the box you get the feeling that the G2 is going to offer a good balance of heft, aesthetics, fun factor, and sound quality.

The three talons on the bottom also help keep the sound tight and will satisfy most shelf/table placements. An alloy bar is also readily available up top for hanging (you provide the hook).

Pairing for Bluetooth is easy, with a hydraulic startup and voice letting you know your device is “Ready to pair.” After 30-seconds of gratuitous permissions, the Venus G2 is ready to unleash with a pleasing mix of bass and mid-range. Even topped out on the volume meter, very little distortion can be heard. This has some big sound for a mini speaker, so don’t underestimate its size. It will easily submerge most other speakers in this size range, but at $90, we kind of expected that kind of quality.

Overall, we are happy with where Gravastar pushed the bar on sound, but obviously, that was not the only thing that was pivotal in the minds of the designers, and it is not what will draw most buyers. This is a tech art piece with benefits. Forged by a tasteful mix of high-quality materials painted graphics, and LED lighting, the G2 features a 6RGB ‘Halo light’ that can be switched to various colors with the parallel pressing of its two rear-facing buttons (the ear bumps previously referred to).

Four buttons run the entire show, including On/Off, Bluetooth/Pairing, and Volume Up and Volume Down. You can probably leave the instructional manual in the box considering the intuitive nature of the design, excluding the code that enables two Venus to be connected in unison.

A few things to note are that the Venus does not feature an equalizer or even a short list of presets to tweak the sound to your preference. There is also no auxiliary port for use with tethering to your new and old-school tech. And while we would certainly welcome these additions, tweaking sound on a speaker this size is usually underwhelming, and there are certainly other ways around the auxiliary input problem.

Now let’s unleash big brother…

Gravastar Mars Pro

The flagship of the Gravastar range is the Mars Pro. Standing at nearly 8 inches, weighing in just under 6 pounds, and featuring the bulbous head of a Star Wars Battlestation, the Mars Pro falls a bit over twice the pricepoint of the Venus. You would think you’re getting twice the speaker, but you’re actually getting more. The Mars doubles up with 20 watts of power and two speakers (one 2.5″ woofer with passive bass radiator and front-facing tweeter) but additionally ups the ante with adjustable legs, sound-activated LEDs, touch-control volume, and a much grander sound and visual presentation.

Gravastar Mars Pro is out of the box and ready for battle.

Just back the Mars Pro into a corner, slide your finger up its digital mohawk and it will easily fill a 1000-square-foot room of chattering listeners. It may not be as loud as other 20-watt competitors in the same price range ($200+), but it caps itself at a nice point that resists any real distortion that would likely follow. But this speaker is not meant to be a portable loudspeaker. Its design may fill a room, but similar to a 5.1 home theater, the best seat in the house is a compact version of the fourth-row center (i.e. 7 feet back, front driver in full view).

The Mars Pro particularly shines in a confined listening zone due to its rounded body that shoots sound waves like a stubby bazooka. The sound may carry at any angle, but the clarity is delivered within a relatively narrow range. We think this precise throw of sound would be an entertaining option for a small theater setup once paired with a second Mars Pro.

Speaking of placement, the wireless battery design of the Mars looks fantastic in any open space, and with 15 hours of playtime, we would not hesitate to substitute this for a wired and amplified setup. And if we did this, we would also consider getting Gravatar’s LED charging base (above), both for its convenience and added cool factor.

The Mars Pro creates a fun tech vibe in any room, offering 360 degrees of LED marker lights in shades of amber, red, green, blue, and purple. The LEDs can be set to glow solid, fade into each other, pulse in time to your soundtrack, or turn off altogether. You’ve got a lot of options in the lighting department of the Mars Pro… but the sound is slightly more limited.

Similar to the Venus G2, the Pro does not feature presets or an equalizer. But unless your preference is heavy into the highs or lows, we think Gravastar does a nice job of balancing to maintain within the sweet spot for most genres. The wireless of the Pro offers SBC or AAC codecs, which some may consider laggy for some applications (like gaming), but we found the response of the Mars to be quick enough for anything we threw at it. The Mars Pro also comes equipped with a USB-C charging port that doubles as an analog line-in, so if lag is of concern, tethering is always an option.

Like the Venus G2, four buttons run the entire show. On the backside of the Mars Pro (at the crown), you’ll find three of these in the form of Bluetooth/Pairing, On/Off (Pause/Stop), and LED adjustment. Along the top, you’ll find a touch-sensitive white LED mohawk that is used to control the volume. You can work this by either tapping directly at a volume level you want or sliding your finger along its axis.

Our Mars’ volume lived in the Max range, but not because it lacked power. Max volume just happens to be its sweet spot for sound. Some speakers offer excess volume, giving the illusion of leaving something on the table. In reality, that excess volume is often unnecessary (barring a party with Matthew McConaughey and his bongos). The Mars Pro is tuned and balanced so that its volume has less to do with pressure on your ears and more with orchestrating a full cornucopia of sound waves (and you can tell your neighbors that should they complain about the noise).

So, we’ve got a group of futuristic bots that feature their own theme music of hydraulics each time you start them up. They have flashy LED lighting and a Hollywood-quality silhouette, and it is all these touches that feel special right out of the box. But what is the longevity of such a shallow relationship?

The Gravastar line of wireless Bluetooth speakers are all ‘lookers’ by definition, meaning that it is easy to overlook their flaws while in the face of their exciting and well-executed design. But once the novelty wears off, what’s going to keep you from kicking them out of bed for eating crackers (i.e. lack of sound presets, output/volume not as high as other premium 20-watt speakers, potentially laggy wireless)?

By definition, shallow relationships don’t work because expectations on the surface are never satisfying enough to make up for whatever flaws lie under the veil. This is why I have maintained a marriage to my standard brands of wireless speakers that consistently provided quality listening in a no-frills package. And that has been enough for me… until, well, until these beautiful soundbots captured my attention… and my imagination. These have demonstrated that novelty may only be zinc alloy deep, but imaginative design and quality materials speak more than sound vibration alone.

There is a lot more to Gravastar than just novelty, considering their choices in material, build quality, price point, practical function, and sound. Gravastar has done their research on how to design a wireless Bluetooth speaker that may indeed rely heavily on its looks and show factor, but balances that out with enough substance to keep that love affair going long after the Honeymoon is over.

Check out the entire line of Gravastar speakers and headphones, or buy the Venus G2 or Mars Pro directly from Amazon.

Urbasm occasionally receives vendor/brand sponsorship’s for mentioning their products and services. And while these products may be free, our opinions are honest… and free (at least until somebody starts paying us for them)

About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created, a site for every guy.

About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created, a site for every guy.