The KEF Gravity One is a premium upmarket Bluetooth speaker that combines stylish looks with excellent sound quality… for a price.
KEF is a British loudspeaker manufacturer based in Maidstone, Kent that really needs no introduction. The company specialises in upmarket HI-FI speaker systems that can run into the thousands, covering everything from in-home speaker installations to Bluetooth speakers. One of their newest wireless products is the Gravity One speaker, which was created in collaboration with Porsche design to bring both style and sound quality.
Almost as soon as we opened the box, we knew that this speaker would be premium quality. It’s heavily packaged and weighs an absolute ton, with solid metal construction. KEF was kind enough to include a bunch of accessories to get you started, including a rugged USB charging cable and various mains connectors for each region. There’s also a carry pouch made of some nice shiny material, though the thinness of the material probably won’t offer much in the way of protection. The lack of an aux cable as standard is a bit disappointing but since this is Bluetooth, it largely won’t matter.
Taking it out of the box and focusing on the KEF Gravity One speaker itself, construction is outstanding. As we said, it’s built like a tank and has recessed sides at the bottom allowing sound to escape. KEF say that this speaker was designed to have an open soundstage that outputs optimal sound quality from all directions and we have to say, it definitely works. Despite only measuring 11.5 x 7.2cm and being highly portable, sound quality is phenomenal from this thing. Usually with speakers such as this we expect an absence of bass and clarity that is common with smaller speaker drivers… but the KEF Gravity One manages to outperform every other of its size and several larger speakers too. With a bit of external eq’ing to bring out those highs, it was a joy listening to the KEF. It didn’t matter whether we placed it on a desk or in the corner of the room, we were able to hear a consistently full sound.
The KEF boots into Bluetooth pairing mode when you hit the power button, meaning you don’t have to do anything if you want to connect. Pairing was incredibly easy, with my HTC 10 picking up the speaker instantly without any fuss. A big plus is that uses AptX technology for transferring the Bluetooth signal, overcoming the bandwidth bottleneck usually associated with the technology. This allows audio quality that is much closer to CD standard and we can definitely tell the difference here. Using the device as a hands-free speaker also works very well, with excellent audio quality for human speech and a clear microphone installed.
If we were to describe the overall sound of the KEF, it would be natural. The company has managed to include the same Uni-Q drivers which you find in their more expensive speaker lines; albeit greatly shrunk down for portability. As is with all small speakers, some material can sound a bit muddy if there’s a lot of instruments crammed into the mid-range, but the KEF deals with these shortcomings very admirably. For most material, the experience was stellar with each sound well defined. The lack of any real bump in the frequency spectrum means that some users may find the experience a bit boring if you’re not used to it, however a quick EQ preset can soon change that. Pairing it with the HTC 10, I found the ‘Techno’ preset to be most effective in getting my desired sound. This gives the bass a little increase and ups the treble, making things sound a little more appealing. That’s not to say that the KEF Gravity One can’t pump out any bass. In fact, we were actually surprised how such a small box could capture the mid-bass so effectively, as most seem to tail off well before that area.
Battery life on the KEF Gravity One is rated at 10 hours and honestly, after using it for most of the day at our office, it’s still going strong. We’ll update this with an official figure soon but for the 5+ hours it’s been playing, we’re quite happy with the result.
Quite simply the best sounding Bluetooth speaker we’ve used of its size. To think a box of it’s size can produce such a full-bodied, detailed sound is pretty impressive in its own right. Combine this with first-class style in a rugged design that feels bulletproof and you’ve got a hell of a package. Just don’t expect it to come cheap.