The longish Bluetooth speaker JKR KR – 1000 has been an inside tip among mobile speakers from China for a long time. The portable bass monster is finally ready to be tested and can provide proof of its good reputation.

The Bluetooth speaker by JKR sounds quite promising, according to the datasheet: it offers 2×10 Watt and Stereo bass. The speaker is operated via sensor keys at the top. You can connect devices via Bluetooth 4.1, SD-card slot or AUX IN, and even via NFC.
JKR KR 1000 - Sample1

JKR KR – 1000 has a really positive reputation and maybe it will also become our new price-performance champion. The competition also produced great Bluetooth speakers: my personal favorite and constant companion is the Xiaomi Soundbox 2. If the speaker by JKR can drive my Xiaomi Soundbox out, you’ll find out in the following review!

Design

JKR KR – 1000 is not unique, several manufacturers produce speakers with similar design and hardware. Apparently, Bluetooth speakers are quite popular! Our JKR speaker resembles a shrunk soundbar: everything is perfectly arranged in the longish speaker. At the right, you find the operating element in a piano lacquer look, the ports are on the rear side. The rest of the casing is made of rubberized plastic, which has a nice grip and is scratch-resistant, in contrast to the piano lacquer. At the front side, you find the status LED, which shines in green, red and blue. The NFC point is included at the side of the operating element. The 2 pedestals are a bit shiny and secure a good standing position. Unfortunately, one of them fell off the casing, but a small amount of glue fixed the problem.

Surely, there are also nicer speakers with higher quality, but the JKR KR – 1000 does a good job and looks like a high-quality speaker. The design is simple and discreet. The 20 Watt speaker is bigger than 5Watt-speakers, but it is also heavier. In fact, it has a weight of 543g. Thanks to the longish design, however, it is easy to pack it away, for example in the bottle holder of a backpack, or you carry it with one hand.

JKR KR – 1000 Scope of delivery

Besides the JKR KR – 1000, the box contains short operating instructions and two cables (AUX and micro-USB).

Functions

The speaker hides some surprises in terms of functions, it has more than you would expect from a Bluetooth speaker in the lower price range. Operating the speaker is easy, you only have to check the instructions once, and you will immediately understand how it works.

Using a button, which clicks into place, you can turn JKR KR – 1000 on. The speaker goes directly to the pairing mode. All other commands are carried out by using the sensor keys. This is a lot cooler than ordinary buttons and it works just as good, but the risk to operate accidentally a sensor key is higher. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work to “feel” the sensor keys without looking. On all of the keys, 2 functions are imposed, so that you can operate the speaker without a smartphone. The volume key switches 1 track back or forth when it is pressed for a longer time. The “pause” key lets you switch between Bluetooth and AUX mode.

The “mode” key is a special one, as the JKR KR – 1000 offers 3 different sound modes:

Red – Maxx Treble – stronger heights/less bass
Green – Maxx Bass – increased bass, full sound
Blue – Maxx 3D – spatial sound

The current mode is indicated with the respective LED. Switching from one mode to another takes about a second, but all modes offer a different sound experience.

Connecting your device to the Bluetooth speaker is very simple. Our test device instantly found the speaker under the name of “KR-1000” and the connection was stable up to 9 meters. The volume control mostly synchronizes with the smartphone. Sometimes it takes a few seconds, but that is no problem. With Windows, there are 2 volume scales available. The JKR speaker also houses a microphone, but it doesn’t work perfectly, as it is the case with most Bluetooth speakers. The caller can hear his own voice, and the microphone’s range is only 1.5 meters.

Besides using Bluetooth, you can also play your music from a Micro-SD card. The tracks are played one after the other. You can use the AUX mode, too, with which the sound improves a lot! You can hear a lot more details. Normally, the Apt-X Bluetooth Codec would solve this problem in the Bluetooth mode, but that’s just not possible for this price. KR-1000 also offers NFC – but is it really useful or mere knick-knacks? If you possess a smartphone with NFC and hit both NFC areas, both devices connect a bit faster, but connecting the smartphone “manually” does not take much longer.

The voice for announcements, on the other hand, is quite annoying because it is way too loud and you cannot change that. The voice is louder than the volume during a normal conversation. Fortunately, the voice only informs about “Power on/off”, “Bluetooth connected/disconnected” and “low battery”. You are informed about the low battery level exactly twice in 1 minute; after that, the battery of JKR KR-1000 dies.

Battery

This is the second (and last) weak point of JKR KR-1000: a capacity of 4400mAh is not bad, but 20Watt need a lot of power. The speaker does not last as long as a Xiaomi SquareBox 2 for instance. Instead of 8 hours you only get about 4 hours; depending on the volume the speaker can also last an hour longer. This is not a top value, but it is enough for enjoying an afternoon barbecue. Nevertheless, you need to remember to charge the speaker before going out. With an ordinary USB battery charger, the speaker is fully charged in about 2 hours. If the battery dies while you’re out, you can charge it and continue using it (the speaker has a Play & Charge function). Even the smallest Xiaomi power bank (5000mAh) provides enough power for that.

Sound

“Wait, how much did that thing cost?” This is a question I often have to answer when I turn on my little darling. The price-performance-ratio is on Xiaomi level. The sound of JKR KR-1000 is really good and appealing. The sound can even be improved with two tricks.
JKR KR - 1000 - Front

„Nothing but amazing bass“, it says on the rear, and this affirmation is true. The casing almost takes off with all that bass, but the rubber feet prevent the bass from being transmitted to the tabletop. If you sit near the speaker, you feel the bass like it’s the case with a Subwoofer. Therefore, the speaker is prepared for every electronic case.

Let’s talk about the modes: the JKR KR – 1000 has, to put it mildly, a distinct bass, and with the three modes you can influence it and therefore enjoy also other genres. The most neutral mode is red – Maxx Trebble. Green – Maxx Bass is too much in my opinion. If you want it to sound rough, then it’s okay. But otherwise, the blue mode – Maxx 3D is my personal favorite and the most used mode. This mode is simply awesome.

Of course, it is not that the sound is unnaturally spatial; the sound is the most balanced and fullest – it’s just the best. Unfortunately, JKR KR -1000 always starts in the red mode, so you have to change modes twice. Tip: although Bluetooth is really convenient and AUX seems like a relic, there is a significant difference in the sound. So, put the speaker in Maxx 3D, plug in an AUX cable and enjoy your music.

The JKR KR – 1000 can keep up with other price ranges. Compared to a 2 years old Sony Bluetooth box (which costs more than 100$), the sound is not that different. The more expensive speaker offers a better design and a bigger battery that can also be used as a power bank. But in terms of sound and volume, both speakers were on a similar level – not bad for the economic JKR KR-1000.

Also, JKR KR-1000 replaced my former outdoor speaker, the Xiaomi Soundbox 2. The difference between 5 and 20 Watt is clearly perceivable in terms of sound and volume. However, the JKR speaker could not keep up with the Xiaomi speaker in the low volume area.

Conclusion and alternative

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Erik Zürrlein:

This inside tip stayed a secret far too long – the small Bluetooth speaker in soundbar design rocks. JKR managed to produce a great product with a small budget, and it’s hard to top that. Compared to other speakers, the sound is not perfect, as it has a lot of basses; but they are simply appealing. On the other hand, with 20 Watt, it is possible to produce music for a whole barbecue party.

In terms of features, JKR KR-1000 offers surprisingly much and it fulfills all basic functions well. There are only 2 weak points. One is the relatively short battery life of about 4 hours, the second weak spot are the announcements, which are simply too loud. However, considering sound, bass, volume and features offered by the speaker, we can clearly give a buy recommendation. It is hard to find a better price-performance-ratio.

However, JKR KR-1000 is not without alternatives. My previous portable speaker was the Xiaomi Soundbox 2, a fine and compact speaker with 5Watt, which only costs about 20$. If you don’t want to wait long for your speaker, we also recommend the Anker Sound Core 2. There is a reason why it is an Amazon top seller and is among the most bought speakers since more than a year. Many manufacturers offer speakers with the same format and equipment as JKR KR-1000. Whether these can offer the same or whether they are just a deceptive packaging we cannot answer –  but with JKR KR-1000 you’re on the safe side and get a portable speaker with perfect price-performance-ratio.

Price comparison

Only 39 USD*
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*Prices include shipping and toll. Intermediate changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs possible. Prices last updated on 15.08.2018

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