Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes these days. Finding one to meet your particular set of requirements is a tough job. Aukey has recently entered this market with a tough nicely sized unit that integrates speakerphone functions as well as weatherproofing and long battery life – the SK-M12 SoundTank. I was sent one to test.
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The Aukey website lists the specs as:
Model Number: SK-M12
Technology: Bluetooth 4.1
Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
Input: DC 5V
Driver: 2 x 5W
Charging Time: ~6 hours
Play Time: 30 hours
Standby Time: Up to 100 hours
Battery Type: Rechargeable Li-Polymer (2600mAh)
Range: Up to 10m / 33ft
The unit measures about 8” x 3” x 3”. The front and rear faces are covered by perforated aluminum pieces, while the other four surfaces are rubberized. The five control buttons are all on the top (+ and – for volume, phone answer/disconnect, power, and a Mode button), nicely covered but clearly marked. (I base my designations of “top, bottom, right, etc.” by orienting the face with the logo upright.) On the right small side is a red hard plastic carry loop. On the opposite small side is a red soft silicone door that covers the charging port and an AUX input jack. The cover is very tight but swings out of the way once you’ve opened it. I was not able to open it without a key or nail file since my fingernails are pretty short. Your mileage may vary, but you won’t have to worry about it popping open by accident!
On the bottom panel, there is a 1/4” 20 socket that fits a tripod screw. You can use this to place the unit on any stand, bicycle handlebar mount, or lamp shade harp that has this same thread size. You can also hang it from the red plastic loop to a pack, tent pole, or tree branch while you’re out camping or hiking. With 30 hours of playtime and 100 hours standby, you should easily make it through a long camping weekend. I found that with the power off, the charge degraded very little over a week or two.
The 2 5W drivers push through a lot of sound, so you can disturb the neighbors from a good distance away. Sitting and working beside the unit, you can’t turn it up more than 20-30%. It puts out some real volume. The sound is clear and full, too, not just loud.
While “rugged” and “outdoor” are tossed around in marketing materials, there is no documentation of any weather or dust resistance. The official seller account on Amazon said it is “splash proof” but not waterproof. So, dewy grass on a camping trip, misty rain on the deck, but maybe keep it high and dry at the pool.
Pairing was quick and accurate. Using the AUX connection, you can change between the Bluetooth and hard-wired sources by holding the Mode button. It’s not quick or clean (sometimes it doesn’t switch), and you can’t control the other device from the speaker after you’ve changed it to the other source, but it’s a step toward alleviating that frustration of wanting to watch a movie on an iPad, and having your phone bogart the Bluetooth connection to your speaker.
One strange thing about the metal plates that cover the speaker and the rear cover: they look like outlines of some type of dog treat. Whenever I brought this speaker out to play with a group, it was always the first thing that anyone noticed. “Is that the Scooby Snack speaker?” This speaker is no dog, but it may become a faithful companion.