In a time when the world hasn’t been at its happiest, is there a place for novelty gifts to show just how you feel about those nearest and dearest? Lovebox thinks there is, and I have to say I might be leaning towards their viewpoint. Let’s take a closer look at the Lovebox!
- Lovely sentiment
- Room for growth
- Easy setup and use
- Lack of battery hinders placement
- No recipient message history
The world hasn’t been a particularly nice place over the last few years. Some could argue it’s been a difficult place for a lot longer than that. However, the COVID19 pandemic that swept the globe is only just starting to slow, with restrictions on travel being lifted, but with many still anxious about the future. Bear with me, I have a point.
During the pandemic, loved ones were kept apart, for literally years in some cases, and relationships were stretched to breaking. Technology, specifically video calling, saved many people from insanity, but as we slowly, and cautiously, move out of this particularly dark part of our story, there is a worrying trend that many are going back to their “old habits” with those same relationships taken for granted once more in lieu of people’s busy lives.
The Lovebox aims to be an antidote to that specific illness. It’s a little wooden cube with a rich technology filling that allows messages (text and animations) to be sent to it to brighten somebody’s day. Yes, it’s absolutely a novelty, but maybe a little fun is just what everyone needs in their lives? We’ll see how well this fares versus traditional messaging, in this review. Gift this to a loved one, and send them a nice message now and then!
The Lovebox is a small cube shape with rounded corners and a small metallic button on the front which is used to attach a specific plastic sentiment. The Lovebox comes with a Heart-themed one, but there are other options available to purchase from the Lovebox store.
Around the back is a single micro-USB charging port for the included cable, and the lid lifts off the top to reveal the messaging display. There is no battery power here, only AC.
- Material: Wood (box), ABS (heart)
- Screen: LCD screen 320 x 240 resolution
- Connectivity: WiFi 2.4Ghz
- Dimensions: 3.5×3.5×3.1in
- Weight : 1.54lb
In The Box
- Red pixel heart
- 1 USB Power cable and 1 plug (UK, EU, AU or US)
- Access to the mobile app (iOS and Android)
- 2-year warranty
Performance & Use
I’ll admit to being incredibly sceptical of this product. It’s a wooden box that receives messages and spins a piece of plastic on the front to notify you that you’ve got one. So, it’s a chunkier, costlier, WhatsApp message then right? Well, yes, but the sentiment behind this is worlds apart from that of social and instant messaging.
Setting up the Lovebox is easy. Once plugged in, the Lovebox uses its own Wireless Access Point as a connection method for supported iOS and Android smartphones. Simply connect to that WiFi network, and follow the easy instructions to connect your unit to your own Wireless Network. Once set up, messages can be sent to it via the smartphone app. The whole process took me 5-minutes.
Once set up, the box just sits there, with your chosen sentiment on the front, waiting for a message to appear. When a message is sent, the little sentiment spins with a notification sound. This stops when the lid is removed and the message is seen. These messages take mere seconds to traverse the network depending on your setup. Once connected you can set up a name for your Lovebox and manage notification details.
Crafting a message is easily completed using the smartphone app (Android shown). Fire it up, choose a GIF, Sticker or upload your own colour photo (there is a non-colour variant of this device that is cheaper), customise and hit send. That’s about it.
Once sent, the little sentiment you added to the front spins upon receipt. Open up the lid and see the message!
There are some limitations to the editor though. You can’t place text anywhere you want when entering. You can justify it left which appears at the top-left of the screen. Alternatively, you can centre the text which does just that; puts it in the middle of the message. I haven’t found a way of dragging that text anywhere. Additionally, you cannot enter multiple “text” elements to my knowledge.
The message can be rich in elements though with stickers and GIFs available, as previously mentioned. Sadly there is no video, which seems strange given the LCD display but messages can be sent via mobile data too, through Lovebox servers, so I understand the limitation.
What I understand less is the lack of ability to scroll through recent messages. The Lovebox acts as a Snapchat of sorts by deleting the message from the box (seemingly) after you put the lid back on after viewing it. You can re-send to the Lovebox from the app, any message, but the recipient cannot see their previous messages. I get the whole “moment in time” aspect, but I’d prefer somebody to be able to look back at all the nice things, rather than just wait for the next.
Finally, whilst this is a non-descript box, it’s big enough that it could have had a battery unit in tow. As it is, you get the option of AC power or no power. Perhaps Lovebox thought that being able to receive messages immediately, at any time, warranted an always-on approach. However, should one’s internet connectivity die, you’ll be queueing those messages for delivery in the same way as if the box had no power, which makes the lack of battery power, less understandable.
The concept behind this is solid. Tell somebody how you specifically feel, rather than just conversing. Instant messaging is proliferated with hyperbole; just look at the overuse of ‘lol’ at the end of most messages. The Lovebox aims to deliver the same speedy instant messaging, but with a deeper meaning than just a funny meme, or chatting about a night out.
Where it delivers, is in that context; it feels different when sending a text to somebody you gifted the Lovebox to. Where it fails is in the overall execution. The lack of editing tools in the app can be fixed with updates, whilst the lack of battery power is more of an oversight.
For £107 this isn’t a cheap novelty gift either. I can see some scope for development though without further outlay (application updates, increased sentiment functionality, repeat sends, etc) so it might just prove worthwhile.