Popular battery and charger manufacturer, Aukey, has jumped on board the mid-range Bluetooth speaker train with the SK-M7 — a portable speaker that's crafted to be carried using its carabiner hook-up on the side. The sound quality is pretty standard for its size, but won't be winning any awards for best performance. It's lightweight enough to carry with you or clip to your bag, weighing in at only 0.82 ounces.
- Compact size
- Good battery life
- Carabiner attachment
- Good bass and mids
- Fingerprint magnet
- Non-functional line out
- Distorted highs when cranked
Aukey's included just about everything you need to start using the SK-M7, including 25-inch Micro-USB and auxiliary cables. They also throw in a carabiner clip for easily clipping the speaker to your own gear (or gear to it). At just over 8 inches in length, it's compact enough for most settings, featuring a modern rounded design. Behind the grill you'll find two 3-watt drivers and a subwoofer in-between. The pictured black speaker is the basic model, but you can also spring for the yellow-grilled alternative at no additional cost.
Functionality is pretty straight-forward, with only three buttons to work with. Up top you've got a volume rocker, play/pause button, and a call button next to the built-in microphone and LED. The entire speaker is wrapped in a removable rubber skin that's horrendous for collecting fingerprints and smudges. Even though this protective layer can be removed, the plastic, bare-bones design is rather unsightly. On the bottom are 4 rounded feet that have been molded into the rubber skin to keep the speaker stationary while in use.
On the back is the power switch which not only turns the speaker on, but puts it into pairing mode. Fully charged from the Micro-USB input, I was able to keep the speaker jamming for around 12 hours, adjusting volume levels as I saw fit. The 2600mAh battery inside the SK-M7 didn't take long to recharge, though — approximately 4 hours via the USB port on my PC.
For direct connections that don't require Bluetooth (and some battery saving in the process), there's a 3.5mm line-in port you can connect with the included cable. The line-out port, on the other hand, seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever since it refused to push audio to an additional speaker or headphones. Not a huge deal-breaker for me considering I'd never actually utilize a line-out with this style speaker, but disappointing nonetheless.
The sound quality of the Aukey SK-M7 was certainly good enough for my liking, adding plenty of punch where it belonged along with crisp mids — regardless of what genre of music I played through it. Its one weakness on the audio front is its highs, which tended to get a little distorted once I pushed the volume past the 80% mark on my connected Lumia 640 XL. Still, for its $30 price tag it's hard to argue for what this carabiner-equipped Bluetooth speaker does offer.
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