Full, deep, rich sound out of a single small speaker is the promise from LKER, a Chinese manufacturer that sells Bluetooth speakers and other audio products marketed towards the smart devices market. Their latest high-end speaker, appropriately titled King, comes in at well under $100 and promises to blow everything in this price category out of the water in more ways than one. Touting industrial strength build quality and multiple sound drivers for full-room 3D sound, the LKER King really does sound like an amazing speaker, so let's see if it lives up to the name.
While the King doesn't boast quite as cutting edge specs as the recently reviewed Bluedio UFO Faith headphones do, they still pack a nice punch in the specs department. This is an $80 package, which spells an incredible value for a speaker like this, and includes a microUSB cable and a 3.5mm cable as well. Bluetooth 4.0 connects the speaker to your smart device, meaning that you're guaranteed to get better sound quality and better battery life than with earlier Bluetooth versions. A2SP and AVRCP Bluetooth audio profiles are supported here for advanced wireless audio transmission, and the 3D DSP built into the speakers will help fill the room with sound. Dual 5W speakers power the experience and even include subwoofers too, all operating at 60Hz-20KHz with 4ohms impedance. The built-in 2,200 mAh battery is of sufficient size and is only a little bit smaller than your average smartphone battery.
Hardware & Design
The first thing you'll notice about the speaker is just how heavy it is. 700g is anywhere from 3-5x the weight of your average smartphone, and it's the metal build and quality components inside the casing that are to blame here for the weight. That's not saying the weight and general heft is a negative necessarily, just that you're probably not going to be wedging it into a bag full of other stuff without having to make room for it. Overall it feels incredibly solid and will definitely last for years and years to come without a doubt. The design itself is super unique for a Bluetooth speaker and visually just looks different from the many brick-like Bluetooth speakers out there. The speaker design is interesting and features dual subwoofers on the sides that move quite a bit while in use, giving the look that the speaker is really kicking butt when playing your favorite songs.
Up top you'll find three buttons and a power switch. It's this three button configuration that's the biggest problem with the speaker by far, and it's because they are multi-function buttons. Besides the dedicated power switch you're faced with three buttons centered on the top of the speaker: back/lower volume, call/pause/play and forward/volume up. This design was just a bad idea for those looking to adjust the volume from the speaker rather than the device, because the only way to adjust the volume is to hold down one of the back or forward buttons for a second or two and hope the pseudo-analog style adjustment of volume doesn't rocket too quickly towards loud or soft. It's an odd design that's just begging for some additional buttons, and it's not like there's not plenty of room on this rather large speaker for them anyway. Next to these buttons you'll find a 3.5mm headset jack as well as a microUSB port for recharging the speaker.
Audio & Battery Life
Sound quality is of course the biggest concern when it comes to a speaker product, and the LKER King absolutely delivers on that front. Deep bass, clear highs and non-intruding mid-range sounds complement the metal build, giving an overall super high quality atmosphere to the product. Dual front-facing 5W speakers with large audio drivers really bring home the sound and do a phenomenal job of reproducing the music you want to listen to. Bluetooth 4.0 keeps the quality high and the battery usage low, but unfortunately the wireless range of the product seems to be fairly limited. It's quoted at the standard 10m (33ft) for Bluetooth connectivity, however I had a hard time walking out of the room without the audio crackling and popping, which means you're likely to be confined to a single room rather than roam free throughout your dwelling space.
This particular fact is even more disappointing when considering the incredible volume of the speaker too. Turned all the way up I could clearly hear it across my house all the way from the back bedroom, and as a bonus the audio wasn't even distorted at this level! This is one seriously powerful speaker that has delivered without fail the entire time I've been using it, a period of a few weeks now and even in Germany when I went for IFA this year. The battery life is pretty good too, lasting a few days of constant listening on a single charge and letting you know via an audible beep when the battery is getting low. It tells you pretty far ahead of time too, with at least an hour of listening left once the beeping starts. Since this is microUSB you can charge it with any cable you might have, although the microUSB port is recessed a bit into the metal frame and I found some cables don't actually stay fitted in the slot so you may just want to stick with the one included in the box.
The LKER King is easily one of the best Bluetooth speakers I've personally used, providing full, loud sound that's clear, full of bass and produces a wide range of sounds. Bluetooth 4.0 keeps battery usage low and audio quality high, as do the dual 5W front-facing speakers with large drivers. While the button configuration on top is irritating and NFC pairing would have been nice additions, this is a sub-$100 speaker that's set to deliver considerably better audio performance than many others at this price range. If you're interested in snagging your own check out the listing at GearBest where you can get it for under $80, a steal that's going to reward you for the life of this speaker.