The new Korus M20 Mobile wireless speaker may look like yet another entry into the overly-crowded Bluetooth speaker market, but looks only tell part of the story. Sure, the carabiner clip is a nice touch, but that’s only the beginning. You see, this isn’t just a speaker; it is a small part of a much larger system.
I did an in-depth review of the Korus audio system last fall. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. I was impressed with this multi-room system. Simply put, the SKAA wireless audio technology kicks WiFi and Bluetooth streaming’s ass. The biggest downside to the Korus system was the price. Thankfully the new Korus M20 makes the price of admission far more accessible.
The M20 weighs in at just 1.23 pounds. It is water-resistant, has an impressively solid build and, yes, there is a carabiner clip on top. It makes clear the fact that this speaker is intended for use at home AND on the go. Its built-in rechargeable battery can serve up to a whopping 17 hours of audio playback and it even doubles as a speakerphone. Where this speaker distinguishes itself is in its streaming prowess. As you would expect the M20 offers streaming over Bluetooth. That means you get decent sound and can have up to 30 feet between the M20 and the audio source. No surprise there. The thing is, like Korus’ first offerings the Korus M20 packs SKAA streaming technology as well.
That means you can have up to 85 feet between the speaker and the audio source indoors and up to 175 foot between them outside. You also get far better sound than you would over Bluetooth. As I wrote in my initial Korus review,
Thanks to SKAA, Korus speakers offer consistent and reliable connections that, in my experience, show no latency issues. Korus speaker transmit sound quality up to 480Kbps. That’s more than double the 201Kbps for Bluetooth enabled devices. In addition, SKAA transmits on the 2.4GHZ ISM radio band and “uses a patented Walking Frequency Diversity protocol that effectively detects conflicts and “hops” out of the way, preventing drops and pops”. Latency, that is, the lag time from a source device to the speaker is cut to just 40 milliseconds- a third the latency of Bluetooth. In practical terms it means the music pretty much starts playing as soon as you hit the button on your source device.
In addition, the Korus M20 can be included in a Korus setup with V400 and V600 speakers. In that scenario the M20 would count as one of the four speakers on the system at any given moment.
I spent some time with the folks from Korus last night. We were in a big, noisy hall with a few hundred people milling around. They pumped up the volume on the M20 and I was amazed at how well it held its own and how good it sounded. Even in the chaos of a Pepcom tech event its quality audio was noticeable.
The Korus M20 is planned for release this fall at a price of $199. That’s a bit more than some speaker of its size, but they don’t have SKAA. It you love your music, you are going to love this speaker.