Soundfreaq have been pushing bluetooth streaming in the recent years, with their top model the Soundfreaq Sound Stack being a big success. With the portable Soundfreaq Sound Kick (SFQ-04) they are pushing for dominance of the portable bluetooth speaker market as well, against some tough competition.
With the Sound Kick they are bringing some serious competition to the likes of Jawbone Jambox, delivering a portable bluetooth speaker with some features that makes me think that it could just be a good alternative. To achieve the small enough portable size for this part of the market Soundfreaq has got rid of the docking station that is found on their other models, slimming the device down to a mere 1.6-inches thick when in transportation mode. What they have been clever to do however is to create an expandable chamber at the back of the Sound Kick, thereby creating a larger speaker cabinet when in use, a feature that usually allows for better production of lower frequencies.
Fully charged you can run the Soundfreaq Sound Kick for about 7 hours, and it also supports charging up your phone/portable music player (which will drain the battery faster) using the USB input. The speaker set up consists of dual 2.3-inch drivers and the Soundfreaq UQ3 spatialization feature.
Soundfreaq Sound Kick review
When unboxing the Sound Kick speaker I was surprised, and a little bit worried, to the fact that it is so light for its size compared to many other portable speakers I have tested. The casing is made from a combination of hard plastic and metal, which could explain its relative low weight, but at the same time it does not come of as ‘cheaply made’, as even the pull-out chamber at the back feels quite sturdy the well designed (as well as functional). With dimensions at 10.5-inches wide, 4.2-inches tall, and 1.6-inch thick (without the chamber pulled out), it is bigger than the Jambox speakers of this world, but still small enough to be easily portable.
At the top of unit you find all the necessary buttons that you need to operate the Sound Kick, including the power button, and 7 other touch capacitive buttons that allow you to pair with Bluetooth devices, activate the UQ3 feature, control volume, and play/pause and skip songs. At the back of the unit you will find the power socket, a USB port for charging external devices, and a line-in for a wired connection to an audio source. At the back is also where you will find the pull-out chamber, which forms part of the unique feature of the Sound Kick, allowing for more space for the drivers to deliver the sound. Simply use one hand to pull out the chamber. When out, it also works as a support stand allowing you to angle the speaker more upwards, which is great for when you have it a desk for example.
While design and build is all good, it is in the sound department that the Sound Kick really surprises. The sound is well balanced, with clear highs and vocals. With the chamber pulled out there is a feeling of improved lows as well, giving you a bass performance that enhances the overall audio experience, without a feeling that it overpowers the mids-and highs. The Sound Kick can also get quite loud, much louder than for example the Jawbone Jambox, and it does so without any noticeable distortion, even on quite bass heavy tracks.
- The winner is the sound performance, delivering a clear and well balanced sound
- Lightweight and relatively portable
- Value for money – priced lower than what it performs at
- Ability to charge your iPhone, or other audio device, even when running on battery (reduces volume to between 60-70% on the speaker while charging though)
- On the downside, the Sound Kick does not work as a speakerphone, and uses bluetooth 2.0 technology compared to more recent speakers that either use Bluetooth 3.0 or the latest 4.0. But none of these are big enough issues to drag down the overall score
- It would be great if you could charge the speaker using USB as well
With the Soundfreaq Sound Kick SFQ-04 you get a lot of speaker for your money. The sound performance is well above what we normally experience at this price range and relative size of the speaker. Whilst slightly bigger than some well known competitors, it still delivers a good level of portability, with battery operating time at around 6-hours. The small issues like lack of Bluetooth 4.0 or speakerphone capability does not detract from the overall positive experience of this speaker.