Review: Soundfreaq Sound Kick 2
This is Soundfreaq’s second go-around for its Sound Kick compact Bluetooth speaker. The first version had an expandable back. When you popped out the box-like extrusion, it increased the interior volume of the speaker enclosure and improved the sound. It also changed the footprint of the speaker, allowing you to tip it back so the drivers were facing at an upward angle. This new Sound Kick 2 doesn’t expand or blow up or anything, but it does still tip back. The expanding enclosure has been replaced by a fixed enclosure that has a little kickstand. Overall, the updated speaker is more portable and has excellent sound, and it remains one of our favorite options at $100.
Sound is crisp and well-balanced, and exemplary for a speaker of this size. New design is 1.5 inches thick, and has rounded edges. It’s also water resistant—I left my test unit out in the rain for two downpours and it still plays fine. There’s a USB port on the back that lets you use the speaker’s battery to charge up a dying mobile phone if needed. The kickstand on the back gives the speaker box some added stability. Touch controls on the top are convenient. Handsome looks.
Doesn’t get that loud. It’s also not as small as other speakers at this price that tout portability as a primary feature. Battery lasted about 8.5 hours in multiple tests; fine, but over ten hours is standard within this category. Not fully waterproof (though it seems to handle wet environments just fine).
8/10 – Excellent, with room to kvetch
Logitech (or is it Logi?) is the ruler of the realm when it comes to iPad keyboards. So it shouldn’t surprise you that it’s the first out of the gate with an add-on to support the new, bigger iPad Pro, where these keyboards are more important than ever. The $150 Logi Create Backlit Keyboard Case with Smart Connector is cheaper than Apple’s Smart Keyboard, and adds a lot more functionality. (Logi also offers a virtually identical case, sans keyboard, for $80.) It’s not quite as sleek and well-integrated as Apple’s own case, but if you’re looking to buy an iPad Pro to replace your laptop, this is the keyboard accessory you want.
The row of shortcut keys—for changing volume, going home, launching search, and the like—is unbelievably useful. The backlit keyboard will let you work even in dark rooms. If you’re not typing, the case folds almost flat for a better touchscreen experience. The clacky keys will feel familiar to anyone used to a laptop keyboard. Since it works with the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, getting the keyboard set up and working takes no time at all, and you’ll never need to charge the accessory. Just close the magnetized case, and the tablet turns off too.
Getting the iPad Pro into the case requires an uncomfortable amount of shoving and pushing. Keys are a little mushy. The rubbery design takes away from the sleek polish of the iPad Pro. Tablet plus case is a pretty heavy package to toss into your backpack. The case covers up the power and volume buttons with harder-to-press rubber ones, and obscures the speaker holes a little bit. The connector can be finicky, disconnecting for no reason sometimes. A few of the buttons are inscrutable; why are there two ways to switch to the on-screen keyboard?
7/10—Very good, but not quite great.
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