It’s been more than three years since Soundfreaq’s original Sound Kick wowed us, and the company has finally introduced the follow-up with Sound Kick 2. The company has eliminated the first Sound Kick’s expanded back compartment, instead going for a straight slim Bluetooth 4.0 speaker with a kickstand in back. Sound Kick 2 is IPX4 water-resistant, meaning it can stand up to water splashes — Soundfreaq says the speaker is “shower-ready.” The speaker’s rechargeable battery can last up to 8 hours (a slight improvement over the first Sound Kick), and a USB output port lets users charge an iPhone, though it’s not clear how fast or how much of a charge can be provided.
Sound Kick 2 is 10.5” x 4.2” x 1.5” and weighs 1.5 pounds. We couldn’t find the exact size of the two drivers inside, but Soundfreaq says they’re larger than those on the original Sound Kick, which had 2.3” drivers. (Update: Soundfreaq’s website claims Sound Kick 2 still has 2.3” drivers.) Sound Kick 2 is slightly more rounded than Sound Kick, which we think makes a lot of sense — the front of the speaker is all grille now. Black plastic covers the rest of the speaker. Playback, volume controls, and a button for Soundfreaq’s UQ3 spatial enhancement feature rest on top. Power and Bluetooth buttons join an aux-in port on the right side, and the back has a simple kickstand in the center, along with a covered USB output port and AC input (an AC adapter is included). Both sides have strap attachment holes, but no lanyard is included.
Sound Kick 2’s size ensures strong sound, but also somewhat limits its portability. While it’s light and thin, it’s also longer than some competitors. Those with backpack space won’t mind the length, but it doesn’t offer the same portability factor as JBL’s Flip or Braven’s new BRV-PRO — two speakers which offer fair comparisons for Soundfreaq’s newest. We like the overall look of Sound Kick 2, but we’d prefer “clickier” physical controls at the top, rather than the capacitive buttons featured here. The folding kickstand is completely optional and a nice touch, and water resistance is always a welcome feature for us, though Sound Kick 2 will likely be too big for many showers.
Sound Kick 2 has very good-to-great sound, which we’ve come to expect from Soundfreaq. It really excels in the midrange, with vocals coming through crystal clear and at the forefront. It’s the kind of sound profile many users will prefer. Sound Kick 2 compares favorably to JBL’s Flip, a 2012 speaker that’s still a top performer in its price range. It differed by song, but we usually preferred Sound Kick 2 to the older Flip, though it was pretty close.
Compared to Braven’s excellent new BRV-PRO — which is $50 more expensive than Soundfreaq’s offering — Sound Kick 2 lacks the bass performance and overall “fullness” in sound, but its superb midrange may create a preferred profile for some listeners. If you’re looking for powerful bass, Sound Kick 2 may come up short, but it does an admirable job for its size and price range. It outperforms another recent $100 speaker on the low-end — Ultimate Ears’ very good UE Roll. Where Sound Kick 2 offers a slightly more complete listening experience, the small UE Roll gets louder and offers a better water resistance rating.
Overall, Soundfreaq’s Sound Kick 2 holds its own against many top performers. It pumps out clear, well-rounded sound from a thin, attractive package. Even though it’s portable, this Bluetooth speaker’s size and look will lead many to see Sound Kick 2 as a nice home speaker. Though it may not be quite the revelation Sound Kick was in early 2012, Sound Kick 2 is a worthy successor, and any consumers thinking of buying a $100 Bluetooth speaker this summer certainly should check out Soundfreaq’s newest before making a decision.
Company and Price
Model: Sound Kick 2
Compatibility: Bluetooth-enabled iPads, iPhones + iPods