The ideal portable speaker for your holiday?
Bluetooth speakers are everywhere these days. The rise of smartphones means people are always on the lookout for ways to inflict their musical taste on others in the most obnoxious manner possible, and as a result, you can find portable speakers in swanky department stores and grubby bargain shops.
While the market is undeniably saturated with products, there’s still room for a decent portable speaker to stand out — and that’s what Kew Labs will be hoping happens with its K1 device.
Showcasing two specially tuned 5-watt drivers and a rear-facing passive bass radiator, the K1’s party trick is that it can offer an experience which almost covers 360 degrees. It also has an IPX4 rating, meaning it can cope with splashing water, no matter which direction it happens to come from. Add in a 2,600mAh battery delivering between 8 and 12 hours of playtime, and it’s clear that the K1 is a pretty impressive package, especially when you consider the modest price point of just over £30.
The K1 certainly ticks all of the boxes when it comes to portability. It has the pill-like design which is all the rage these days, and will effortlessly fit into most backpacks and travel bags. The metal grilles cover the front and back of the device, protecting the dual drivers from damage when in transit, while the circumference of the unit is clad in soft rubber, which is capable of taking a fair amount of punishment and prevents the K1 from being ruined if you happen to drop it.
On the side, you’ll find a rubber flap which contains the Micro USB port for charging and a 3.5mm socket, so you can connect the K1 to devices which lack Bluetooth audio capabilities. Naturally, this flap needs to be sealed up if you’re expecting to use the unit in wet conditions.
On the top of the K1 are the main buttons. The power button is self-explanatory, as are the Play and volume up and down commands. A Bluetooth button, which long-pressed, puts the unit into pairing mode. LEDs on the top show when the K1 is connected and switched on.
With the physical properties of the K1 out of the way, we can focus on how it actually sounds, and the good news it’s pretty decent. At full volume, the audio is loud without any distortion, and it creates a remarkable amount of bass for such a compact unit. In a medium-sized room, the K1 will effortlessly fill the space, but when used outdoors it can sometimes struggle to be heard over other sounds.
There are obviously superior Bluetooth speakers on the market, many of which are similar in size to the K1. However, at £30, this device represents an affordable way of getting into the portable audio game without having to break the bank, and the sound quality will be more than good enough for most users. With the weather hotting up and holidays on the horizon, you could do a lot worse than pick up one of these for your travels.
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Damien McFerran has been covering phones and mobile technology for well over a decade. An Android specialist, as well as an expert reviewer of phones, Damien is one of the best technology journalists working today. He is also editorial director over at the excellent Nintendo Life.