Some products that get started on Kickstarter never actually materialize, so I was a bit surprised when a review unit of the NudeAudio Super-M Bluetooth speaker showed up on my doorstep on Wednesday, its delivery precisely coordinated with the launch of its crowdfunding campaign.
While I spent the afternoon hours testing it out and coming to the conclusion that it was the rare Bluetooth speaker actually worth writing home about, the Kickstarter easily exceeded its $75,000 goal in under 24 hours, and with minimal press coverage.
It seems NudeAudio, a small startup with offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong that's only been around for about a year, has already built a loyal following with its first batch of Bluetooth speakers that came in three sizes. The Super-M is a maxed-out version of the company's first popular medium-size speaker.
The Super-M is small enough to be pocketed (barely), but puts out sound like few other $99 speakers. It easily competes with the best midrange names like the Jawbone Mini Jambox or Soundmatters FoxL DASH 7, which were my favorites until today.
Oh yeah, did I mention it's also sand-proof, waterproof, and pumps out jams from both sides?
The Super-M packs two neodymium drivers on each side of the speaker for 360-degree sound that can get surprisingly loud, and without any distortion, which I found to be a problem with the FoxL DASH 7, another speaker that delivers lots of boom in a small package.
I've yet to be able to see if it lives up to its promised eight hours of music time per charge, but I easily got four hours on whatever residual charge was left in it when I pulled it out of the box. The speakerphone function wasn't great in terms of making myself understood to callers on the other end of the line, but this is a problem I almost always have with speakers more designed with audio output in mind.
I did throw it out in the rain for a bit, and it weathered a moderate downpour with all the carefree, debonair style of Gene Kelly, while retaining the sound quality and thumping bass demanded by those of you much too young to have any idea who Gene Kelly is.
I'll put it through a few more rigorous sand and water torture tests and post the results on Crave. Also look for a full, rated CNET review in the near future.
Meanwhile, four weeks are still left in the Kickstarter campaign for the Super-M, which has already raised over $120,000 as of this writing. NudeAudio says its suppliers in Asia are ready to start a production run as soon as the campaign ends, and that backers who kick in $99 or more should expect to receive their speaker in September.