Best Bluetooth Speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2019.
Bluetooth speakers are often associated with days at the beach, nights out by the bonfire and long weekends away in the woods, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need them to say, DJ a tailgate party or take with you on the slopes.
Summer doesn’t have a monopoly on music, after all.
To help you track down the best Bluetooth portable speaker for every occasion we’ve put together a guide to the best speakers on the market, based on our comprehensive reviews and our knowledge of the speaker space. Stick with us and you’ll be able to bring an amped-up version of your music anywhere and everywhere.
Concerned you might have to spend a fortune on a fantastic speaker? Absolutely not. Instead, there are many options for great speakers that’ll cost you as much as your weekly trip to the grocery store.
In fact, the only problem you’ve got to face when you’re choosing a new speaker is that there’s so many great ones to choose from, it can be overwhelming.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help you. Here are some of our favorite, portable, audio companions that’ll let you pump out the tunes whether you’re in the garden, at the beach, on the slopes, camping, cooking or anywhere in-between.
How to pick out the best Bluetooth speaker
We’re glad you’re here, but not the big question is: how do you find the right Bluetooth speaker? It may seem like the choice is endless, but there are plenty with unique selling points that’ll suit your needs. Some are rugged. Some are stylish. Some are weatherproof and some aren’t fit for the outdoors.
If you’re having trouble figuring out which speaker might be best for you, start by picturing where you’re going to use it and find a speaker that matches that setting: If you’re a beach person, water- and dust-proofing are key.
If you’re a party person, you might want the ability to connect two speakers together or a speaker with multi-point pairing that allows multiple devices to connect at a time. Battery life and sound quality are paramount for all speakers, and we’ve our best to take these in the utmost consideration when creating our list.
That said, here are 10 of our favorite Bluetooth wireless speakers, ranked by their price-to-performance ratio, that will surely work for you.
While we weren’t as impressed with the UE Boom 3 as we were with its predecessor, this is still the best Bluetooth speaker money can buy in 2019. This is a speaker that can get loud and not distort at higher volumes; be light enough to carry on a camping trip but remain durable enough to tumble in a bag unprotected.
It’s both water- and dust-proof, and now has a one-touch mix button that lets you pull up your favorite playlists without ever picking up your phone.
There are certainly more detailed speakers out there (see: Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin down below), but at a price that’s relatively affordable to all, the UE Boom 3 hits all the right notes for the third year in a row.
Read the full review: UE Boom 3
The Bose SoundLink Revolve is an excellent sound speaker for folks looking for true 360-degree sound. It’s great for sharing music during a party or for moving around the room without losing audio fidelity. However, the Bose SoundLink Mini II sounds slightly better and is slightly cheaper to boot.
On the debit side, it’s also not fully dust or waterproof so you’ll want to think twice before bringing the Revolve to the beach.
For half the price, the Wonderboom is a great speaker that is completely dust and waterproof and while it can’t match the audio fidelity or features of the Bose, it’s still great for on-the-go listening. If bass is your game, the JBL Charge 3 is an excellent fully waterproof speaker that sounds great, but is big and heavy along with it.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Revolve
As a package, the JBL Charge 3 offers a compelling set of features and excellent sound quality to boot. It punches well above its weight, playing loudly and distortion-free.
The Charge line of speakers have been on our shortlist of recommendations for a long time thanks to the way they combine great sound quality with the ability to charge your devices over USB.
The latest iteration maintains JBL’s dominance in the portable Bluetooth speaker market.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 3
The new Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is a beautiful piece of design. It’s a solid, reassuringly weighty wireless speaker delivering on all the B&W audio heritage which the British audio maestro has been building up throughout its lifetime: The sound is clear and natural, delivering room-filling audio with seriously punchy mid-range, and dynamic, controlled bass.
Its price might put a bit of a damper on your wallet, but if you have audiophile tastes that extend into the portable speaker space, the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is the only speaker you should be considering.
Read the full review: Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless
The Bose SoundLink Mini II is relatively ancient, having been released in June 2015. However, writing off the SoundLink Mini II because of its age would be a mistake, as it remains one of the best sounding wireless speakers.
That said, it punches way above what its size would suggest, producing deep bass, sparkling highs and a lush midrange. While most wireless speakers sound OK, the Mini II proves that small speakers don’t need to compromise on sound, and other Bose conveniences like a charging pad.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Mini II
Anker has a history of making excellent budget wireless speakers. While we weren’t entirely impressed with the Anker SoundCore 2’s sound, we couldn’t be too mad since the speaker was so affordable.
So what happens if you can stretch your budget? For around $20 more you get the Anker Soundcore Flare, an excellent waterproof Bluetooth speaker that can stand toe-to-toe with the competition.
The Soundcore Flare is an amazing value in the sub-$100 wireless speaker segment. Competitors like the UE Wonderboom (listed above) give the Flare a run for its money in terms of build quality but we give the Flare the slight edge with sound quality. We recommend the Flare for anyone looking for a wireless speaker that can do it all without breaking the bank.
Read the full review: Anker Soundcore Flare
When someone asks us for a recommendation for a waterproof speaker, the UE Roll 2 was always on the top of our list. We loved the Roll 2’s unique form factor, 50-foot wireless range and, obviously, it sounded good, too. Where it was lacking was in the bass department. Logitech, UE’s parent company, has fixed the Roll 2’s lack of bass by creating the appropriately named UE Wonderboom.
In our eyes, the UE Wonderboom bests the Roll 2 in just about every way –except for the Roll 2’s handy bungee cord. Still, ignoring that, if you’re looking for one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers on the market today, it’s hard to do better than the UE Wonderboom.
Read the full review: UE Wonderboom
B&O created a hit with the Beoplay P2. It’s a well-designed speaker that’s extremely easy to use, has a well-built companion app, and it sounds great. On top of that, the speaker is ultra-portable without compromising on much bass content. Sure, you could get something a little bigger (and stereo) for the same price, but at this size the sound quality justifies the price. The smart gestures are a nice touch too, although we wouldn’t buy the device solely for that reason.
Read the full review: B&O Beoplay P2
Marshall’s Kilburn II is a fantastic update to its bestselling predecessor, with a stunning retro amp-inspired design and a well-rounded sound. While the bass can be a little muddy at times, it’s excellent for playing guitar music, and its portability means the Kilburn II is great for taking on the road – although it is fairly heavy.
It’s rugged design stands out from other Bluetooth speakers on the market, and rock fans will like its heritage design – but if you’re all about the minimalist look, the Kilburn II probably isn’t for you
Read the full review: Marshall Kilburn II review
The newest speaker in the Denon Envaya line is one of the first speakers to absolutely blow us away in 2018. It offers powerful, room-filling sound that will sound great to most ears, plus comes with an IP67 rating, make it both dust and waterproof. It’s also built like a tank, making it one of the most durable speakers we’ve ever laid our hands on.
Despite a nearly flawless performance, the Envaya isn’t perfect: While sound quaity is full, powerful and rich, it doesn’t have the treble bite some like and the buttons located along the side can feel stiff and difficult to operate. These are ultimately minor complaints, however, and the Denon Envaya remains a great Bluetooth speaker – easily one of the best you can buy this year.
Read the full review: Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
- Need something to listen to? Check out our collection of the best podcasts
Nike’s been teasing a new evolution in basketball sneakers for a while, but now the world’s largest shoe maker has unveiled ‘the future of the game’ with Nike Adapt BB – high-tech shoes which are not only self-lacing and app-controlled, but will also automatically adjust to the foot.
“We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes,” says Eric Avar, Nike VP Creative Director of Innovation in the company’s announcement.
He continued, “During a normal basketball game the athlete’s foot changes and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete’s experience.”
According to Nike, the Adapt BB uses a custom motor and tension-sensing gears to automatically adjust the snugness of each sneaker on a player’s feet.
Using the Nike Adapt app, players can also manually input different settings and tensile strength, with the laces capable of pulling 32 pounds of force, which Nike says is roughly equivalent to “that of a standard parachute cord”.
Nike’s FitAdapt technology will also be receiving regular firmware updates which players can opt into, making Adapt BB the company’s “first continually updated performance product” with a precision fit that will get better over time.
In keeping with the high-tech nature of the shoes, Nike Adapt BB will ship with a Qi wireless charging mat (pictured above) in the box, and wearers will also have full control of the LED lights in the shoes’ soles, allowing them to change lighting colors on the fly.
Nike Adapt BB will be available from Nike’s online store from 10AM (EST) on February 17 and will be priced at $350 (around £272 / AU$486).
A new smart clothing line promises to help you get your yoga moves right when you’re at home and without an instructor. It’s called Pivot Yoga and it claims to give feedback through small sensors on the clothes that can tell you whether you’re in the right position.
“We know how hard it is to learn yoga, how much yogis want to improve, and how many yogis want to practice at home,” Joe Chamdani, who’s the CEO and co-founder of TuringSense, the developer behind Pivot Yoga, said in a press release.
The Pivot Yoga clothes are supposed to “look, feel, breathe, wash, and perform” like regular yoga clothes, but also maintain a wireless connection to the company’s mobile app. You can take online yoga classes through the app and the sensors will insert a “live avatar” of your body into the video so you can easily compare your movements with the teacher’s.
The app has voice control capabilities so you’re supposed to be able to tell it to pause and start again. The app will say, “Garments detected,” and then you can command it to start by saying, “Begin.” You address the smartphone’s voice assistant by saying, “Pivot, how’s this look?” and the assistant will respond to correct your posture with lines like, “Move your right knee six inches.” You can also cast the app to an Apple TV, any compatible Chromecast device, a Samsung TV from 2013 or newer, or connect it directly via HDMI.
While the premise of the app and clothes sounds like it’d be a huge boon to yogis, it’s difficult to see how the sensors are able to give accurate readings of a body’s movements while the body is in motion. Pivot tells The Verge, “It’s a big challenge, since every yogi’s body is different, and a good question. We’ve designed the clothes so that sensor movement is relatively rare. And we’re designing the clothes and the entire system so that any remaining sensor movement is handled automatically.”
That seems to imply the clothes stay relatively still while a person is moving, which might not be the most comfortable fit, and definitely means that Pivot is constrained from offering a wide variety of sizes. (Indeed, the clothes are available in XS to XL, but there’s no sizing chart to indicate the precise ranges these sizes run.)
The clothes charge by Micro USB and run on 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi. They’re made of aluminum, leather, fabric, and plastic. There’s a non-replaceable battery that gives roughly five hours of continuous use, according to Pivot. You’re able to machine wash the clothes in cold water, but you cannot put them in the dryer.
Pivot costs $99 for the top and pants, and the online videos cost $19 per month. The app is only available on iOS 11 or higher for iPhone 7 and up, although the company says an Android version is “expected later.” Preorders are now available, and they’re currently only open to residents in the US and Canada. Pivot tells The Verge the clothes can be expected to ship in spring 2019.
Samsung may be just days away from taking the wraps off its very own foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid, but consumer electronics company Royole has stolen a bit of its thunder with its very own flexible display device. Called the FlexPai, the 7.8-inch hybrid device can fold 180 degrees and transform from a tablet into a phone, albeit a bulky one.
At an event in San Francisco this evening, Royole brought out a working version of the FlexPai that we actually got to hold, and the folding feature works as advertised. Granted, it feels miles away in quality from a high-end modern flagship, but it is still the first real foldable device I’ve seen in person, and not just in a concept video or prototype stage.
The FlexPai will be available as a consumer device in China with a base model price of 8,999 yuan, or around $1,300. You can also pay that amount of money in USD for a developer version if you live in North America. That gets you 128GB of storage, but you can double it for an additional $150 and add an additional 2GB of RAM for a total of 8GB.
As for the other specs, the device is going to come with a 2.8Ghz, eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the display resolution is 1920 x 1440 when fully expanded, and it comes with a 3,800 mAh battery. Both the consumer model and the developer version are up for preorder on Royole’s website right now. Royole says the Chinese consumer model and the developer version are slated to ship in December.
It should be said that this device is very much a first-generation product. The software seemed extremely sluggish, apps continuously opened accidentally, and the orientation kept changing randomly when one of the Royole representatives was demonstrating the folding process. That, to me, indicates that the company’s custom Water OS (a fork of Android 9.0, Royole says) is probably not the most robust operating system just yet.
Still, this is much more about the hardware innovation of making a virtually unbreakable AMOLED display, with a reasonable enough battery that can sustain the folding process. Royole says the screen can withstand being folded 200,000 times. (What happens after that was not made immediately clear.) We don’t know how it will stack up against Samsung’s version, or whatever competing display makers like LG are working on. But it certainly bodes well for the imminent foldable / flexible display trend that we’re already seeing working devices like this hit the market.