Soundfreaq’s original $99 Sound Kick was the first great-sounding affordable Bluetooth speaker and the first realistic alternative to the overpriced Jambox. Over the last three years, hundreds of speakers at every imaginable price point have flooded the market and now Soundfreaq has released a redesigned Sound Kick 2. Still priced at $99, the new speaker improves on the original and holds its own with the competition.
The new speaker is based on the design of the Pocket Kick, a pocket-sized speaker that one of the very best on the market (if you hurry, you can pick up one of those for $60 during a back-to-school sale at the Soundfreaq website). The larger speaker measures 10.5” x 4.2” x 1.5” and weighs in a 1.5 lbs. There’s a kickstand on the back for changing the listening angle but it works just fine standing on the bottom.
The right side of the unit has a power button, Bluetooth 4.0 pairing button and an indicator light to tell you the charge level and Soundfreaq describes this speaker as “shower ready,” meaning that it’s rated IPX4 water-resistant. You can splash water on it, but don’t throw it in the pool for long. The AUX cable input has a rubber cover to keep the wet out.
There’s also a rubber flap on the back to cover the charging port and the USB out, which you can use to charge your phone from the speaker’s battery. I got more than 8 hours on a charge and the speaker was completely charged overnight. The unit comes with an AC adapter for charging.
Soundfreaq has a proprietary UQ3 setting designed to enhance the stereo effect on a pair of speakers so close together. You can turn it off if you don’t enjoy it but the setting seems to offer a more true stereo experience than you get with other speakers in this price range.
If there’s a complaint here, it’s the top buttons. They’re touch buttons, not push buttons, and you can increase/decrease volume or skip tracks if you brush them by accident. It’s also not really designed to be used as a speakerphone.
For $99, it’s a great speaker. For pure portability, my favorite speaker is the smaller Pocket Kick but the Sound Kick 2 continues the company’s run of building great speakers at whatever price point you choose.