Kerchoonz K-box Gel Speaker Review

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The K-box Gel Speaker from Kerchoonz is not your typical speaker. It uses whatever surface it is sitting on as a soundboard. We’ve reviewed similar devices here before. Most recently it was the Free-D i-Ball and several years ago it was the Olympia Soundbug. Neither provided what I would consider ‘good’ sound. When the folks at Kerchoonz contacted me to see if I would review the K-box, I was skeptical that it would be able to do much better than the others. It arrived at Gadgeteer HQ, I’ve tested it and here are the results.

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Hardware Specs

Bass response 40-20KHz
Compact and Portable (115 x 55 x 20mm)
Up to 20 hours battery life (recharge via USB)

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Package Contents

K-box speaker
Canvas case
3.5mm patch cable
USB charge cable
Instruction sheet

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The K-box is a rectangular shaped Black plastic module similar in size to an power brick for laptop.

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The bottom has a clear protective cover that when removed, reveals…

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… a tacky gel core. This is what sets the K-box apart from other vibration style speakers. It’s actually a hybrid speaker. It has a standard speaker inside that delivers mid to high frequencies and then a gel audio driver that delivers low end bass frequencies.

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There are no buttons, dials or switches on this device. There are just two connection points. A 3.5mm Aux In jack and a mini USB connector that is used for charging the internal battery.

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To use the K-box, you first must charge it via the included USB cable. Then connect one end of the included 3.5mm audio patch cable to the line out or earphone jack of an audio device and the other end of the patch cable to the Aux In jack of the K-box. As soon as you plug into the K-box, it will power on. You’ll know it’s on because a Blue LED next to the jack will light up. Unplug the cable and the speaker powers off. Easy.

I tested this speaker with an iPod nano and my Slacker G2 radio on various surfaces, including a wooden laminate floor over concrete, table top, stack of books, concrete sidewalk, wooden deck, large empty plastic storage container, etc. I was very surprised that the K-box performed much better than other vibration styles speakers that I’ve tried in the past. Audio is loud, clear and has decent bass when paired with the right surface. I found that the best overall sound was achieved by placing the speaker on the top several layers of poster board placed on top of my computer desk, which has a kitchen cabinet style Formica top. Removing the poster board caused the bass to weaken. Placing the K-box on the floor of my wooden front porch also yielded good sound / bass.

Regardless to the surface used, a definite hiss / static can be heard in the background when the music was paused and sometimes when playing quiet music. This isn’t noticeable from several feet away though. Another issue worth mentioning is that a popping noise is heard when the audio cable is pulled out of the K-box Aux In jack to turn off device. Speaking of power, it would be nice if there were some type of battery level indicator on the device.

All in all, the speaker does perform as advertised. I like that it is both portable and rechargeable. The 20 hours of playing time per charge is definitely an advantage over other small travel speakers. The only downside to the Kerchoonz K-box is that it requires some experimentation in order to find the right surface that will produce the best sound. But once you do find a sweet spot, it does surprisingly well.

 

Product Information

Price:£39.99 (~$66.00)
Manufacturer:Kerchoonz
Pros:
  • 20hr battery life
  • Good bass
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with a case
Cons:
  • Background hiss
  • No battery level indicator
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear

{ 29 comments… add one }

  • Coolio June 29, 2009, 5:30 pm

    cool review. It’s good that you have all these photographs as it gives us a good idea of it’s size.

    1
  • Mark Adkins June 29, 2009, 8:18 pm

    I keep looking for a small speaker to deliver big sound for travel, classroom use, etc.- it sounds like this one might be it, eh?

    2
  • Avaviel June 29, 2009, 8:28 pm

    And, you can bring some Altoids tin chargers and AA batteries to get extra time out of it.

    3
  • Julie June 29, 2009, 10:06 pm

    @Mark I’ll send it to you and you can tell us if you agree or disagree with my findings :)

    4
  • Andy June 30, 2009, 7:20 am

    And hang on to it Mark as it’s a collectors item now – The new ones have a ‘K-Box’ logo :D

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  • James Branch June 30, 2009, 9:31 am

    Nice review Julie. These are really cool, could do with one just for my desk at work! :)

    Pity about the lack of battery indication though…. but it doesn’t put me off.

    I think I’ll get one!!

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  • jake June 30, 2009, 1:52 pm

    does it do as gooder job of reproducing bass as say… a subwoofer?

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  • Julie June 30, 2009, 4:31 pm

    @Jake No. But it’s a tiny speaker, what do you expect ;) For its size, it does a good job (depending on the surface it’s resting on).

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  • chris July 1, 2009, 12:53 pm

    So what happens when the gel loses its tackiness ? Is it replaceable ?

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  • Julie July 1, 2009, 12:56 pm

    @chris I left the clear sticker over mine… It can be cleaned with a damp cloth according to the instructions…

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  • Jay Hunter July 5, 2009, 10:48 pm

    Thanks for the review! It was clear and informative. I wish there was some way to hear for myself, a youtube video won’t do it justice. Do you think it’s worth the money or do u think a set of portable speakers for the same price would give better sound results?

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  • Jerry Danzig July 29, 2009, 9:32 am

    Julie, do I take it that the K-box is mono only? If so, do you know if they’re planning a stereo model at some point?

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  • Julie July 29, 2009, 10:44 am

    @Jerry Right, it’s just one speaker, not two. I don’t know if they have plans to create a stereo version. I’ll try to find out for you.

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  • Julie July 29, 2009, 12:37 pm

    Update… I received this message back from my question about potential stereo products:

    To make it stereo, all you have to do is buy two units and connect them
    with a Stereo-to-mono y-splitter. But, we are also developing future
    products for 2010 that will involved stereo.

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  • Coolio July 29, 2009, 7:17 pm

    @chris the gel won’t lose it’s tackiness. If it gets dusty, you just wipe it off with a damp cloth. You need to remove the protective seals from the top and the bottom though because if you leave the sticker on the bottom, you don’t get the same sound result.

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  • Nicolas September 16, 2009, 10:00 pm

    I bought one for a friend – Fantastic.

    I placed it on a huge box like wooden table I have that is opened at one end and it was very impressive. When my guests realised the source of the sound they where blown away.

    I’m going to get another two. It fits nicely in my Bass Guitar case and couples with my TASCAM Bass Trainer.

    Definately a must have. (Phone conference tool/Laptop Presentation Speaker/iPod Speaker/Portable Bass Guitar amp) – Luv it!

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  • Astro Turf Alert! September 16, 2009, 10:09 pm

    Coolio June 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm
    cool review. It’s good that you have all these photographs as it gives us a good idea of it’s size.

    Coolio July 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm
    @chris the gel won’t lose it’s tackiness. If it gets dusty, you just wipe it off with a damp cloth. You need to remove the protective seals from the top and the bottom though because if you leave the sticker on the bottom, you don’t get the same sound result.

    WOW, so you bought one in less than two hours? Not obvious astro-turf then…

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  • Alan September 26, 2009, 11:27 pm

    Derrr….
    Bluetooth?
    Put it on the Fridge?

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  • sydnee November 30, 2009, 10:06 pm

    how do u buy it??

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  • Fuchikoma-x January 6, 2010, 4:07 pm

    Folding stereo speakers: i have had mine for 3 years plus and they are load and bassy for the size with stereo. bought mine for 500 Yen. about the same price out here. designed for 3.5 mm input. no proprietary inputs anywhere. mine did come with a VODAFONE input cord. these i’m sure do not. uses 4 AAA batts and they are loau enough for me to use in the apartment w/o real sound loss until i hit the next room. beware distortion of course.

    http://www.amazon.com/INSTEN-Folding-Stereo-Speaker-Black/dp/B000FDTNZK/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1262811846&sr=8-6

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  • thecolor February 17, 2010, 3:00 pm

    Julie, I’m curious if this would make a decent home audio/speaker replacement. I am of the preference that technology should be functional yet hidden. If this sounds decent enough for a Condo situation, I’d happily plug it into my receiver for music, computer, TV, bedroom and possibly surround with enough units.

    I can imagine the placement… two behind the tv or simply level with each other hidden near the TV/monitor since they don’t need to be seen (just heard), and two behind the couch. Plug them in so they have a permanent power source and then leave your sub plugged in if you need more bass (which probably is not a great idea in a Condo or Apartment) but should work.

    Can you give any additional incite on that possibility, Julie? If not, a way for me to test this without a load of cash up front? :) I would pay for it if it worked out nicely. :)

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  • Julie February 17, 2010, 8:18 pm

    @thecolor Sure, this speaker could work in a small setting. It just depends on how much of an ‘audiophile’ that you consider yourself. The Kerchoonz speaker sounds good, but it does not provide the same full sound as traditional speakers do.

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  • Sean February 10, 2011, 11:53 am

    Julie,

    Where can I purchase one in the states? Do you have a list of retailers?

    Thanks.

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  • Julie February 10, 2011, 12:04 pm

    @Sean The only site I know that sells them is http://k-box.com/

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  • roberto September 15, 2011, 11:06 am

    hello rewrite it for the tenth time I have the speaker (k-box) that I sent back to be replaced because failure was not reloaded, and I have still not yet returned the item replaced or refund would like to have news soon I hope thanks that you are serious as a company and a long time that I write to you and you told me that in May it had to get new ones I’m still waiting for your news with

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  • Julie September 15, 2011, 2:55 pm

    @roberto We do not sell this speaker. We’re a news and reviews website. You’ll need to contact the company you purchased the speaker from for help.

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  • NotHappy September 15, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I don’t want to disparage this company (K-Box) yet, but I’ve been patiently waiting for most of the year for a response regarding my order of this item. I was told that the initial model was discontinued due to bugs and that they would be shipping my pre-paid order for the second model out in the Spring of this year. Well, Fall is here now…

    If necessary, I will follow up aggressively.

    Please feel free to re-post this complaint in its entirety.

    My inquiry (February 15, 2011):

    To whom:

    Hello, I placed an order for the K-Box Gel Speaker on February 10, 2011 via my VISA card for the amount of 44.99 GBP. I’d like to verify the shipping method and obtain a tracking number for this purchase.

    The receipt number is: 2120-5141-5337-3551 and the shipping address is:

    Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    1 Liberty Plaza, 34th Floor
    New York, NY 10006

    Please provide the requested information at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.

    Their response (February 15, 2011):

    Hi,

    As you will have seen on our site, K-box II is a pre-order item which will be shipped this spring. K-box I is no longer
    available as there were problems in the design and so we have discontinued the original model. You will receive
    a shipping notifcation just prior to release.

    Kind regards,
    Team K-box

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  • Vaughan October 20, 2011, 1:20 am

    Love this little device. I got mine not too long after they were released and have had many hours worth of great tunes out of it. Its really great on a big wooden table or glass such as a window. They biggest downside I have found with it is that I often need to put something with a bit of weight in it on top of the device to stop it buzzing on top of the surface its sat on instead of vibrating the surface its on itself. Cleaning the gel with a wet towel or something helps but still not completely. Not sure if there would be anyway to combat this however without lowering its bass output. Otherwise really love it. Great little compact speaker that I can take anywhere with me in its neat little woven case.

    28
  • Annika Bohm January 3, 2012, 1:18 am

    Hi

    I have the same problem as Cleary, I had paided for it in Nov 2010 and still not have anyone. The receipt is 5399-8935-3167-2141. I asked for it in January 2011 and got this answer:

    “Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 16:21:40 +0000

    Subject: Re: Payment received from annika.bohm@hotmail.com
    From: kerchoonz@gmail.com
    To: annika.bohm@hotmail.com

    Thank you for your patience. We want our customers to love our products and so we’re taking the time to correct
    some of the problems that we are having in the manufacturing. We appreciate your support.
    Thank you,
    Team K-box”

    And after nothing happend even if I asked for it, no answers at all.

    // Annika

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