The Aukey SK-M7 Bluetooth Speaker was kindly provided to me by Aukey Direct free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The Aukey SK-M7 Bluetooth Speaker is available in the UK from Aukey Direct Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £21.99 with free P&P. In the US the SK-M7 is available with either a black or yellow speaker Grille from Aukey Direct Fulfilled by Amazon.com at a cost of $29.99 with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The Aukey SK-M7 is supplied within a rectangular shaped brown cardboard box bearing product information, illustrations and safety certifications.
The box is shrink-wrapped in plastic and within you will find…
The Aukey SK-M7 Bluetooth Speaker wrapped within a plastic bag and held in place by an internal cardboard insert. Underneath this insert you will find …
A carabiner clip.
A USB A to Micro B charging cable.
A stereo 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male cable.
A small instruction booklet in English, Italian & French.
A warranty registration card. (The standard warranty is 24 months, if registered it is extended by 6 months). Oddly the product listing on Amazon states the speaker has an 18 month warranty.
The speaker measures 6.5cm high, 20.9cm wide (including carabiner clip mounting point) and 5.8cm deep at its greatest points. The speaker weighs 383g with the carabiner clip attached.
Bluetooth version: CSR 4.1
Standard: A2DP, HFP, HSP
Play time: 12 hours (The product listing actually claims 14 hours at 80% volume, in truth both of these claims are wrong)
Charging time: 4 hours
Speaker output: 2x3w
To connect the Aukey speaker via Bluetooth simply flick the power switch located on the rear of the speaker to the on position. A three tone melody followed by a high pitch beep will play through the speaker. When the speaker is switched on, it will automatically enter pairing mode with a small light on the centre top flashing blue and red if it has not already been paired.
Now enable Bluetooth on the device that you wish to pair with and the speaker will show up in the devices list as ” Aukey SK-M7″. Select this and within a few seconds another high pitch beep will play from the speaker, the red and blue light will cease flashing and it will show as connected on your Bluetooth devices list.
Once the speaker is switched on you have 3 minutes to pair it with a device or connect to a device using a 3.5mm cable before it enters power saving and switches off. If this happens, simply switch the speaker off and back on and try again.
The manual noted that you might need to enter a password to connect them to your device; with my particular sample I did not have to enter a password. To ensure your speaker is secure, it is not difficult to add a pin should you wish to do so.
Indoors with a direct line of sight the greatest range at which I can test is 8.5m and the speaker handles such a distance without a problem.
Adding some obstructions to the line of sight the speaker continues to work up to 8.5m through two stud partitions, a solid pine door and a number of white goods. Any further and the speaker quickly cuts out, when walking back into range it reconnects automatically stuttering a little when doing so.
The range of the Aukey SK-M7 is about average when compared to similar spec devices, only very few devices that I have tested have a greater range through obstructions.
BATTERY & CHARGE.
There is no mains charger included only a USB Type A Male; USB Type B Micro Male cable, which is a standard mobile phone charger cable. While the speaker has no battery level indicator there is an audible vocal prompt that plays when the battery is low.
The charging port is located on the rear of the speaker and is sadly exposed without a cover. Given the rugged design of the speaker its a little disappointing that it lacks even basic waterproofing features.
The battery within the SK-M7 is rated at 2600mAh and the manual advises that the battery lasts for up to 12 hours, on the Amazon product listing Aukey claims the speaker lasts 14 hours when used at 80% volume. Having reviewed some 20+ similar speakers including many with a 2x3w speaker configuration I somewhat suspect this to be a significant overstatement.
There are a few variables that affect battery life of such devices chief of which is the volume. Additional variables include ambient temperature and whether the speaker is used via Aux in or Bluetooth.
Two speakers that I recently reviewed by Pyrus and Powerlead both had 2x3w speakers and both had 3600mAh batteries and both lasted around 10 hours when used in the region of 50% volume. The Aukey SK-M7 when used at around 50% volume via Bluetooth lasts in the region of 6 to 7 hours.
Charge testing using a Drok multimeter and a Samsung 2A wall adaptor gave the following readings…
5.03v, 4.174w, 0.83A
During a 28 minute charge the battery in the SK-M7 had been charged by 376mAh indicating a charge time from empty to full of about 3 hours and 22 minutes. (Lithium batteries charge faster when drained and slower when nearly full so the claimed 4 hours charge time is perhaps more accurate).
The Aukey SK-M7 is fairly rugged by design with the exception of the ports on the rear, carabiner mount and the speaker grille the speaker is entirely covered with a matte black rubberized silicone. While this is a bit of a fingerprint magnet it is very durable to knocks, bumps, scratches and even drops from a short distance.
While the buttons themselves are entirely sealed and waterproof the ports on the rear lack any form of protection and neither the manual or product listing mention any form of IP rating. I have to confess this does leave me wondering why a carabineer clip is included as it does somewhat imply along with the speakers rugged looks that it is more rugged than it actually is.
The speaker grille is made from magnetic metal, the carabiner anchor is plastic and located on the underside are 4 dimples in the rubberised silicone chassis that offer a reasonable degree of slip resistance as well as protecting any surface the speaker is placed on.
The first test is to compare 235kbps Amazon tracks to some of my own 320kbps tracks. Few budget speakers highlight the difference and given the price point of the AK-M7 I didn’t expect much difference.
The track for testing was Sam Smith, Lay Me Down (Live from the BRITs).
@ 235kbps the track sounded slightly tinny and somewhat laid back lacking depth.
@ 320kpbs (using the same volume obviously) the track was clearer and well defined.
Bluetooth vs Aux in. (When a 3.5mm audio cable is insert the speaker it automatically switches to Aux In playback mode, notifying you it has done so with a rather unpleasant series of beeps). Testing was conducted using an Ibra 3.5mm cable and not the one supplied as it is rather basic which may well affect audio quality.
The test track was George Ezra, Budapest, 320kbps. The is a notable difference in quality when comparing Aux in v’s Bluetooth, while subtle the clarity of audio especially vocals is clearer and crisper.
Thoughts on the audio quality of various tracks when played via Bluetooth from a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1″…
The following tracks sounded very good…
– George Ezra, Budapest, 320kbps
– Sam Smith, Lay Me Down (Live from the BRITs), 320kbps
– Passenger, Let Her Go, 320kbps – This was spine chillingly good.
The following tracks I noted flaws with…
Mumford & Sons, Winds, 235kbps – Tinny, lacking in depth, generally unpleasant to listen to.
– P!nk, Try, 320kbps – Overall very good, but the cymbals did sound a little washed out.
– Black Eyed Peas, I Gotta Feeling, 320kbps – Vocals were good, the bass was impressive, almost natural, but the keyboard played during the chorus however was rather tinny.
– Dido, No Freedom 320kbps – Highs sounded like I was listening to the speaker in a bathtub, over emphasised and resonating.
– Train, Hey Soul Sister, 320kbps – Highs slightly over emphasised.
– Clean Bandit, Rather Be, 320kbps – Very enjoyable, but the synth drum highs are a little unpleasant.
The audio in the following clip does not contain an accurate replication of the speaker audio and the device you are listening through may also have an effect on the quality.
The following testing was conducted with a call to my mother on her Panasonic KX-TGJ322EB land line and the speaker was held with the grille facing me at a distance of 30cm. Mother advised that I sounded loud and reasonably clear and rather oddly, she noted that I sounded as though I was calling from a phone box. When pressed to explain she stated that there was no echo (something quite common with these types of speaker) but my voice was a little muffled.
The audio quality of mother’s voice through the speaker was frankly very impressive, crystal clear without and interference, echo or distortion. The results of both phone features far exceeded my expectations and far exceeding the performance of all other speakers in this price bracket that I have previously tested.
The Aukey SK-M7 does not have an independent FM radio function, no MicroSD card slot, no USB A input and no power bank feature. Given the lack of a radio, Micro SD or USB inputs I do find myself asking why the speaker has a 3.5mm output it just seems like a waste of money to include such a feature.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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