Sonos might be the biggest name in wireless speaker systems, but that doesn't mean it's always the best, as our own Kris Naudus has learned the hard way. With that in mind, she's been using the Korus V600 and V400, two quasi-portable (read: 11-pound) speakers that use dongles to stream from computers and iOS devices. A bit of a clunky setup, sure, but could it still be easier to use?
My living room has been home to a Sonos Play:3 for almost a year now, and while I was impressed with the ease of the initial setup, in actual usage it's been hit or miss. When it works, it works beautifully, but at other times my boyfriend and I have been constantly hamstrung by its limitations, whether in how it handled podcasts, or the fact that you need a paid subscription to play Spotify. We ended up not using it that often.
So when I got to check out the Korus V600 and V400, I was a bit skeptical. The V600 is touted as being portable, and it has a handle and can use batteries, but at 11 pounds it's not something I would really carry around. The V400 doesn't even take batteries (though it does have a handle). And then there's the biggest turn-off: it's intended for iOS devices, which is a problem for an Android-heavy household like mine.
However, it does come with a USB dongle for your desktop or laptop, so I decided to give it a try anyway. After unpacking both speakers and attaching the transmitter to my work machine, I started playing music immediately. Unless it's an iOS device using the 30-pin connector, there's no software to download. The SKAA transmitter connects automatically to the speakers, and if you want to use additional dongles (each speaker comes with USB, 30-pin and Lightning connectors), switching between them just takes a touch of a button on each individual speaker. The two units are capable of playing music off different audio sources, but used together they sound great, and I enjoyed a seamless experience as I walked between the two rooms where I had placed the speakers.
The Korus speakers play everything. The transmitter simply sends the audio output of your chosen device to the connected speaker, no special software needed. iTunes? Sure. Windows Media Player? Of course. Netflix? Sure. YouTube? Yep! Spotify? Yes, and you don't even need Premium. It even picks up sounds like your chat notifications -- I jumped out of my seat the first time I got a Facebook notification in stereo. And it all sounds great. It's not going to improve music and video of already dubious audio quality (like some music streaming services), but it won't suffer on these speakers either. The sound is loud and clear, and not particularly bass-heavy.
My dual setup with the V600 and V400 didn't last long, though, as my boyfriend absconded with the V400 into the kitchen so he could listen to podcasts while he does dishes. He uses it with his fourth-gen iPod touch, and despite the use of an app (which really just controls volume), he's basically in love with it for how easy it is to use. It just works. If it worked with Android devices, I would seriously consider selling off my Sonos to make the switch.
-- Kris Naudus