Handy in a hotel room, this portable and waterproof 360° speaker is also great around the pool
Who actually takes a portable Bluetooth speaker to the beach? Answer: nobody. Reason: they sound awful. However, the portable wireless speaker market is beginning to impress, and this latest offering has a lot to say for itself for anyone after something to pair with a phone for tablet in hotel rooms, or around a pool in, say, a villa.
The K1 has a tough rubber shell (complete with cute inlay buttons) that not only makes it good for a knock or two but is also waterproof. Inside are two 5W dual driver speakers that spout-out sound either side (for so-called 360° audio), and ins and outs include a 3.5mm jack and a micro USB slot for recharging. Inside is a 2,600mAh battery.
The Kew Labs K1 speaker uses Bluetooth 4.2 standard, which effectively means that a phone can stay connected to it from 66ft. away. That’s surprisingly handy if you’re outdoors … or if you’re staying in a hotel suite. It also includes a microphone so can be used to make hands-free calls. That’s likely to be of most use for making conference calls, so could appeal to those on ‘bleisure’ trips.
Judged purely on sound quality, the K1 does well. Its biggest success is its substantial low frequency, which makes it worth traveling with if you’re going to watch a lot of TV on a tablet, or, of course, listen to music. The treble detail is also excellent, and a full rounded sound is the result, at least relative to a phone or tablet. It’s also really simple to pair with.
There is, however, one other reason we like the K1, and that’s battery power. Lasting for over 11 hours during our test, it proved itself a convenient, fuss-free and great-sounding travel speaker. It’s available in black and either yellow, red, grey or silver.
Price as reviewed: US$38.95/UK£32.99