Is there a fate worse than having to listen to your favourite tunes through your smartphone’s scratchy sounding speakers? You’d be better off attempting to sing them yourself.
Thankfully, speaker technology has come a long way over the years and wired sound systems are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Now it’s all about wireless, portable Bluetooth speaker systems that integrate seamlessly with your smartphone and other devices. We recommend these:
Harman/Kardon / Esquire Black
The Esquire Black portable wireless speaker and conferencing system from Harman/Kardon can be connected to your external portable devices using either Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary input. Inside are dual drivers, a built-in bass port for clear sound, custom-tuned microphones and noise cancellation technology for clear conference calls from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. It all comes in a stylish package of leather and metal, plus a pouch for protection while travelling.
Bang & Olufsen / Beloit 12
It seems like every douchebag with an iPhone thinks he’s a DJ. With the Beloit 12 from Bang & Olufsen, they actually can be. The Beloit 12 syncs with your iPad for enhanced sound while watching movies and with the iPhone of anyone who wants to play disc jockey at a party. Charge it with a power cord while inside, and take advantage of the built-in battery when you want to enjoy your music on the move. The full-grain leather strap and solid aluminium grill look great, too.
Jawbone / Jambox
The Jambox by Jawbone is a classic of the Bluetooth speaker system world (if it’s even been around long enough for there to be classics, that is). There are no docks, no plugs, no connectors of any kind, meaning you can use it absolutely whenever and wherever you want. Use the Jawbone app for one-touch access to all your saved and streaming music. Perhaps its coolest feature is its customisability – 117 colour combinations are available to suit all tastes.
Bowers & Wilkins / A5
Apple’s AirPlay wirelessly streams music from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch straight to the A5 from Bowers & Wilkins. The speaker can also stream from iTunes on a networked Mac or PC, and works with other music apps like Last.fm, Pandora and Spotify. If you really want to get hardcore, you can purchase more than one A5 and form a multiroom system that allows you to effortlessly walk your music from room to room from the palm of your hand.
JBL / Pulse
The JBL Pulse delivers great sound and a light show, without the inconvenience of being surrounded by hundreds of sweaty raver kids tripping on the latest designer drug. The Bluetooth music experience is enhanced with glowing, multi-coloured LED visuals in pre-programmed light themes that provide a multi-dimensional experience for your music. You can also download more colour themes for greater variety. The package includes a rechargeable battery plus a USB adapter and cable.
Ultimate Ears / BOOM
The Ultimate Ears BOOM is a 360-degree speaker that sends bold, immersive sound in every direction. Dual performance drivers are responsible for clear mids and vibrant highs, while dual passive radiators pump out deep low frequencies. Its shape is versatile and easy to travel with, plus its plasma coating makes it water and stain resistant. For even more sound, you can wirelessly connect two UE BOOMs together in stereo via the UE BOOM app. And we haven’t even gotten to the battery life, which is an unbeatable 15 hours.
Jabra / Soulmate
It’s small, it’s portable, but it doesn’t sacrifice sound. The Soulmate speaker from Jabra delivers rich Dolby sound with a rugged, knock-resistant design and bold colours. Solemate packs a custom-designed bass slave together with a powerful woofer for deep bass and dual tweeters for soaring highs. Get the Jabra Sound app for easy access to your music and streamed YouTube content, and use the Jabra Social Jukebox feature to build the perfect party playlist with your friends.
Braven / 855S
Braven is not messing around with the 855S. The speaker is 20 watts of stunning stereo, 20 hours of playtime and True Wireless daisy chaining for a stereo experience, all wrapped in a rugged, water resistant shell that measures less than 10 inches long and 4 inches tall. It’s also able to charge your mobile devices, including cameras, smart phones and even tablets.
Bose / Soundlink Mini
The SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker from Bose delivers full, natural sound from an ultra-compact speaker that fits in the palm of your hand. Connect it wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth device to listen to music, videos or games on the go. Its features include a USB port for software updates, a rechargeable battery that plays up to seven hours and soft covers available in several colour options.
Loewe / Speaker 2go
Loewe’s Speaker 2go is made from high-quality aluminium with rich 2.1 stereo sound and incredibly convenient pairing thanks to NFC technology. It packs two full-range speakers, one subwoofer, three digital power amps, a wide frequency range from 80 Hz to 20 kHz and an impressive 40 watts of music power. The Speaker 2go can also be used as a hands-free telephone system and can be connected to your laptop for quality sound during professional presentations.