Aukey kindly agreed to send me their Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker [SK-M4] along with some other interesting products to review on the blog. here’s what I thought.
The SK-M4 is an external speaker designed for outdoor use, it can connect to your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone to play music or to receive and make calls.
Aukey deliver their products in minimally packaged recyclable boxes, which is great for the environment and even better for me as it’s easier to get to the good bits inside.
Inside the box you will find the speaker, paper user manual, micro-USB charging cable, a standard 3.5mm audio cable and a camping snap hook, which I can only presume is the leather strap.
The Aukey Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker SK-M4 is designed for rough outdoor use,, it has a water-resistant rating of IPX-4 which means it offers protection from water splashing in any direction for at least 5 minutes.
The outer body of the speaker, including the buttons, are made of rubber and actually make the speaker look like a tire. This offers protection to the speaker against drops, bumps and especially children.
For the sake of this review I spent the afternoon with my 2 year old nephew to put the speaker through all kinds of torture tests and it came through unharmed and fully functional. I did actually try to bounce the speaker, but it preferred to stay on the floor.
The buttons to control the speaker are located on the top of the device, they are simply slits in the tire tread and you will have to read the manual and memorize the buttons to use the device effectively.
The button sitting next to the microphone is effectively the power button used to turn the device on and off, when turned on a small LED lights up next to the Bluetooth symbol.
When no device is paired to the speaker, the LED will flash and will become solid when there is a Bluetooth connection.
The central button is used to skip forward with a single press and increase the volume with a long press, where the button opposite the microphone hole is used to skip backwards with a single press and decrease the volume when held down.
Again, the ‘power button’ is used to accept incoming calls and play/pause any music being streamed to the speaker.
Bring the Noise
Now lets not fool ourselves, this isn’t the greatest Bluetooth speaker on the market in terms of sound quality, but for its purpose and the environment it is intended for, it’s pretty respectable.
The speaker itself is a 3W which provides a good, undistorted sound across the range, however the sound quality did slightly deteriorate when the sound was at maximum but that could be down to the Apple Music streaming bit rate of 256kb/s.
The volume does go rather high, which came as a shock to me when testing in a quite office environment. It’s also probably worth noting that changing the music stops the music momentarily.
Music and telephone calls are streamed over Bluetooth 3.0, and when pairing with my iPhone the process has been very quick. Even when turning the speaker off and on again, it nearly instantly pairs back up with the mobile device.
It’s also nice to see a company give their device a Bluetooth name more than just the model number, this Aukey speaker shows up in the menu as Aukey SK-M4, which is notably better than SK-M4.
Although this speaker could be referred to as a cheap device, costing only £19.99, it neither feels cheap, looks cheap or sounds cheap in my opinion.
The speaker is solid and feels really well put together, there isn’t a screw or clip in sight which I guess are all hidden underneath the rubber tire tread.
On the back of the device there is a small rubber flap that opens to reveal a micro-USB charging port and a 3.5mm jack AUX input, you will also find a few technical specks listed above.
You can expect to get about 4-6 hours usage from the speaker on a full charge, varying on the volume of the speaker and whether you are using it through Bluetooth or AUX.
It is actually possible to use the device while charging which is a nice little feature, even when low on battery the party can continue.
Can I have it ?
It’s a great speaker for children, I would quite happily buy one for my nephew to play with while his mum streams music from her phone. And I would happily use one myself while out walking or at a garden party/barbecue with no fear of it being broken.