Hands on with the Darbee Cobalt, part 1: Unboxing

Sometimes a sequel is as good as the original. Spider-Man 2 was a pretty darn good movie, for example. More often than not we get sequels that are watered down and derivative, not as satisfying as the first time.

We told you about the Darbee Cobalt when we previewed it at the Consumer Electronics Show. Now that we have a final production model, let’s see how it compares to the original Darblet. The Cobalt is quite a bit less expensive, but promises to have all that Darbee goodness baked in.

The Cobalt comes in plain white packaging with a few stickers to let you know what it is. This product isn’t the sort of thing that you’d get at a big box store so there isn’t a need for all the cost and trouble of a glossy box. The end user agreement is on a sticker on the bottom, so opening the box constitutes your acceptance of the terms.

Inside the box everything is cleanly packaged. The remote and Cobalt are visible with the small power adapter tucked behind a cardboard flap. Take everything out and you see…

The Cobalt itself looks like a blue version of the Darblet, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s not designed to be a showpiece but rather a useful piece of technology that does what it needs to do.

As for the remote, it’s not exactly a thing of beauty but it does function. It’s probably the same one as the Darblet, meaning that it’s IR and the codes can be learned into another device. If you’re a high-end techie, you’re probably going to do that anyway.

The power brick is small, small enough that it doesn’t get in the way. According to the silkscreening on the Cobalt, it puts out 5 volts meaning that if you had a little skill in soldering you could probably make up a cable that would run the Cobalt off an otherwise unused USB port. Of course that would be in violation of the warranty. There’s also an instruction card, not shown here.

Like the Darblet, the Cobalt has a basic smattering of buttons on the front.

This is a “tweener” accessory (which mercifully has nothing to do with Hannah Montana) meaning that you connect an HDMI cable to it from your device…

…and another HDMI cable from it to your TV. Neither HDMI cable is included but cheap HDMI cables are easy to find. It’s probably best to pick up a few when you get the Cobalt.

That’s about it for the unboxing. In the next part of our review, we’ll talk about how the Cobalt works and why you would (and wouldn’t) want this versus the Darblet.