The Gadget: K-Box portable speaker. It turns any surface (tables, doors and windows) into big speakers.
The Price: £44.99.
The Verdict: It's one of the most adolescently satisfying gadgets I've tested in some time, but the audio quality is (expectantly) mediocre at best.
The K-Box charges its 20-hour battery via USB and plugs in to pretty much any audio player through a 3.5mm (headphone) jack. The spartan design lacks fancy switches or fancy equalizer displays. Once it's plugged in, the speaker just automatically turns on.
While it feels like a chunky MP3 player of yore in one's hand, the rear is sticky, similar to the gecko foot pad you find on the Palm Pre Touchstone. This "gel audio technology" transfers the bass frequencies to whatever the K-Box is stuck to, from windows to coffee tables.
Just holding the K-Box makes it sound like any treble-heavy micro speaker. But sticking it to glass (which I found to be the most acoustically receptive surface next to thin metal) completely alters the audio quality, highlighting the mids and bass line with a poor but probably better quality than you'll find in competing speakers of this size and an impressive level of volume.
Really though, it's that 10 minutes of euphoria as you run around the house sticking the K-Box to the shower stall, coffee table, dryer door, and cat that may make the K-Box a satisfying gadget purchase. A $US20 pair of headphones will offer a better listening experience, as will the average iPod dock. [K-Box]
Simple, understated design
Works better than expected, but still pretty lousy
Often it's not sticky enough to stick to some surfaces