The TouchKraft auris is a tiny bluetooth receiver that aims to take your non-airplay speaker or dock and make it compatible with your iOS device, Android phone, tablet or laptop via Bluetooth.
When I first saw the concept on Kickstarter, I was instantly smitten with the idea. I would love to make my Onkyo iPad dock bluetooth compatible and stream music off my android phone from across the room. The Kickstarter reached its $40,00 goal and shot all the way to $131,000 which meant the auris made it to production.
Does the Touchkraft auris deliver on it’s promise of upgrading your last gen tech with new school specs?
In short: NO.
Touchkraft Auris Review
The auris is a disappointing, frustrating failure that fails to make good on the promises outlined in the Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is by its very nature a hit and miss affair, and I had braced myself for some beta level quirks, but the lack of functionality in the auras surpassed these expectations, leading me to label this extremely promising concept a middling piece of crap.
Touchkraft auris with Android phone – HTC One X with Jelly Bean 4.2
After a quick read of the instruction manual, getting the auris to pair with my HTC One X was fairly easy. I connected the auris to my dock via the 30pin adapter and hit play.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
The auris, a device pitched as being ‘Bluetooth for your Dock’ does not work with my dock.
I unplugged the device from the dock and tried the 3.5mm jack. This time I got sound coming through, but it was not what I expected. As soon as I moved the phone even a few centimeters, the sound would cut out. Check the video below of the Touchkraft Auris with an Android Phone (HTC One X) to see how bad the reception is.
Touchkraft Auris with Macbook Pro
Setting up the auris with my Macbook was not as simple as with the Android phone. Though I didn’t know it yet, I was sitting too far from the unit in order to make a proper connection. How far you ask? About 3 metres.
I added the device via bluetooth, then set it to be an audio device, but a few seconds later I received an error message, saying that a Bluetooth error had occurred
Check the video of the Touchkraft Auris playback with a Macbook pro at a distance of only 1m. Note the stuttering, broken sound quality even at this distance.
When I had the Macbook right next to auris and got it to play, the audio still wasn’t up to snuff. The auris shows up as ‘auris’ or ‘auris stero’ under Audio devices on my Macbook. The ‘auris’ setting is attrocious; hardly listenable. The ‘auris stero’ option is lossy and mediocre. I can’t find anything good to say here.
Touchkraft auris with Apple iPad 3 (Retina model)
Connecting the auris with the iPad proved to be the only time I could get it to work. The device was recognized as an AirPlay device, so the iPad music player switched to it with no trouble.
Controls worked fine, with very little lag and surprisingly, the auris even had some good range – about 10 metros when connected to the iPad. At first, I thought that this might be enough to save the device from my shattered expectations and avert my buyer’s remorse, but alas, this is not the case. Even though playback actually works on the iPad, it still doesn’t work well.
This first thing I noticed when connecting the Touchkraft auris to an iPad was that the volume from the dock was significantly lower than normal. If I was to approximate, I would say that the dock had roughly 30% less volume when used with this device.
The auris shaved the detail off the high and the low end of the audio, leaving me a muffled, muddy track. I understand that there is some natural quality loss when streaming over Bluetooth, but all the promises of Bluetooth 4 (which the iPad has) enhanced audio quality seem to have been flat out lies. The audio is not very good.
I was able to move the iPad about 10m away from the auris before the sound cut out. This is on par with the promised 33 feet. The trouble is that as soon as something affected the line of sight, audio would pause. This included me walking from one side of the room to the other, or placing the auris behind the dock. Even if the audio quality was great and the volume was normal, this would take the auris out of contention for any event where people, well, walked.
The Touchkraft auris is a piece of crap.
It doesn’t do what it says on the tin and even the little bit that it DOES do, it does half arsed. More than anything else, the auris is a disappointment. Had the Touchkraft people delivered on their promises, I have no doubt that these little matchbox sized gizmos would have sound by the thousand. I only hope that some smart soul will recognize that their IS a market for a device of this sort and make one that actually works.
Note: At the time of writing there are a fair amount of complaints on the Touchkraft Kickstarter page (I counted about 15) and no word from the company.
I contacted them to ask what the process is for a refund, and was informed that Refunds were not possible. Touchkraft said that they would replace the unit for another Auris, but that they would not pay for the shipping costs because “we have already paid for shipping once”.
When I pointed out that the reason for the extra shipping is because they sent me a broken product, all I got was a “we’re sorry you feel that way”.