Gravastar Mars Pro review: the wireless spider speaker from space
“Gamers, manga fans, and sci-fi nerds alike will adore this speaker.”
High quality materials
Very good battery life
Expensive as a speaker
No low-latency Bluetooth
No app support for EQ
There is plenty that companies can do to make their portable Bluetooth speakers more appealing. They can dress them up in retro rock’n’roll garb like the Marshall Emberton II, they can make ’em tough and waterproof like the JBL Flip 6, or they can load them up with voice assistants and multiroom Wi-Fi connectivity like the Sonos Roam.
But let’s agree that if you really want to stand out from the crowd, your Bluetooth speaker needs to look like a mechanical spider from outer space, complete with color-changing LEDs. I can only be talking about one Bluetooth speaker: the Gravastar Mars Pro.
If you’re going to question why a Bluetooth speaker needs to look like it just escaped from the MechWarrior video game franchise, or why it might also bear a passing resemblance to DOR-15 from the Disney’s 2007 animated feature film, Meet the Robinsonsjust stop reading. I mean, you might as well be asking why Doc Brown decided to build a time machine out of a DeLorean.
So let’s skip past the why and get right into the wow. Gravastar has created a gorgeous conversation piece in the Mars Pro, which starts at $230 for the matte black or white paint job, and then quickly jumps as high as $350 for the Shark 14 Special Edition, which bolts a shield and dual gatling guns onto the speaker’s sides. I especially like the War Damaged Yellow version.
The detail and craftsmanship are top-notch and so are the materials. The main housing uses two zinc alloy shell pieces — one large shell that totally covers the top hemisphere, and a smaller one that provides the structural support for the tripod legs — and the rest is high impact plastic. At 7.5-inches tall, and with a 7-inch spread between the points of each leg, it’s not massive, but at 5.55 pounds, it has some serious heft.
The body and legs are adorned with exposed metal bolts, and the legs are partially articulated — the talons can tuck themselves under the lower leg segment for a more compact shape. But as cool as the Mars Pro’s body may be, it’s the LEDs that steal the show.
Gravastar says there are six in total, and maybe that’s the number of actual LEDs it used. But if you count the number of individually lit areas, it’s as high as 17. They’re color-changing, too: You can pick from a menacing red, a high-tech green, two friendly shades of blue, a warning-sign amber, or a psychedelic purple. And if you can’t decide, there’s a mode that continuously cycles through all of them, and another mode that makes them pulse in time to your tunes.
My only criticism of the design is the labeling, which sits on the portion of the belly that faces forward. I