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Wednesday
Jul102013

The Best Wireless Portable Speakers: The Definitive Guide


How on earth are you supposed to find a good quality wireless speaker when there's so many choices available? Luckily, you're not all alone because we're here to help you out. Convenience is key when considering a wireless Bluetooth portable speaker, but not every one of these well known brands actually puts out a solid package. Every speaker under the sun boasts how well it sounds when in reality you could end up using a speaker that really isn't as good as the next one over.

That's why we've created this special Gadgetmac Guide edition to help you with purchasing the best wireless portable speaker your money can buy. With a bit of audiophile juice running in our veins, we have managed to separate the ordinary from the extraordinary using our extensive experience handling these small noise making devices all whilst taking sound quality, design and user-friendly features into consideration. Split into two price categories, this guide lists the top best speakers you can take with you wherever you go, but not without having the intense power-to-size ratio needed to blast your tunes as well as the right performance that'll make your ears beg for more of that wireless audio goodness. Jump past the break for the full rundown!

 

First on our list is what we consider to be the best all around portable wireless speaker to combine functional design with an immersive sound experience - the $200 UE Boom by Ultimate Ears. Featuring a durable build quality that is also stain and water-resistant, and a trendy bottle-shaped styling, the UE Boom stands upright to output powerful room-filling sound that is crystal clear and richly balanced for its compact size. Unlike other speakers, the UE Boom excels in throwing big sound due to its impressive 360-degree audio distribution that can be heard from every direction no matter where the unit faces. Good bass is hard to find in such small speakers, but the UE Boom outputs some of the best bass we've heard for its compact size. And it does so without sacrificing its undistorted, clear sound signature. The UE Boom sounds incredible thanks to its speaker hardware that includes two 1.5-inch audio drivers and two 2-inch passive bass radiators.

The UE Boom has a built-in rechargeable battery with an outstanding 15 hours of battery life, NFC for easy Bluetooth pairing using a compatible device as well as intuitive controls including audible battery life status and legible on-board controls. The Ultimate Ears UE Boom is a portable wireless speaker that is designed for today's standards. At $200, the UE Boom is well worth its price and is a great choice if you're looking for good design, user-friendliness and high-quality immersive sound powerful enough to brighten up large spaces from a small, albeit very durable package. It's available in multiple colors and includes a complete charging accessory kit.

Review score: Editors' Choice - 4.5 out of 5

 

The $200 SoundLink Mini by Bose is another well put together wireless portable speaker that's sure to impress with awesome features and an amazing unibody aluminum build. Especially when you're looking for the best possible bass response out of these compact portable speakers. It uses a similar speaker arrangement as the UE Boom which consists of dual-passive radiators and dual-transducers in order to output larger than life sound. Granted the SoundLink Mini is a little larger than the UE Boom nor can it output 360-degree sound for everyone around it to enjoy, but it can pump out slightly heavier lows thanks to its size.

Bose's SoundLink Mini comes with a charging base which is a first and a very convenient little bonus compared to the UE Boom, alas it can only last 7 hours on a single charge even though it's larger than the UE Boom. With a svelte design, strong aluminum build quality and thick sounding audio, the SoundLink Mini is another great portable wireless speaker we think you'll love at the $200 price mark. And although it only comes in a silver aluminum flavor, Bose has designed an optional $25 Soft Cover - a rubberized bumper-like protective casing that let's you customize and add a touch of color to the SoundLink Mini.

Review score: Editors' Choice - 4.5 out of 5

 

 

If a tiny bit less bass cannot ruin your day, but having an additional useful feature is far more appealing to you then the $150 Charge by JBL is another worthy wireless portable speaker that is as powerful and as clean sounding as the UE Boom, yet packs a useful 6000mAh rechargeable internal battery along with a fast USB charging port to share its juice with other gadgets like your smartphone or tablet when they need it most.

At $150, the Charge tries to balance sound quality with a backup battery charger all in one portable package, and it does it very well. With 12 hours of wireless music streaming, moderate bass response and a durable design, the Charge is another solid choice if you find yourself in need of a great backup battery feature.

Review score: Editors' Choice - 4 out of 5

 

If you already have an external backup battery charger or simply have no use for one, but you're on a tighter budget too, then this little $100 Flip by JBL speaker will satisfy your burning desire for incredibly powerful sound that's bright and extremely clear. Vocals on this thing sound realistic, but it does lack bass and richness in its sound signature which isn't a bad thing if you care about quality sound that's a bit lighter than the rest of the speakers featured on this guide. The Flip is ultra-portable and rugged due to its metal mesh construction and versatile design. You can use it as a speakerphone, and while its 5-hour rechargeable battery life isn't as impressive as the rest, it makes up for it with bright and impressive big sound. At the $100 price mark, the Flip is the best option to consider if spending more isn't on the radar.

Review score: 4.5 out of 5

 

Need a little more richness and balance in your sound but still don't want to spend very much, then the $100 UE Mobile Boombox by Logitech delivers very rich sound for its ultra-small size. It may not be as clear or as loud as the rest of the speakers in our guide, but we think it's a nice little portable wireless speaker that actually sounds very good considering its price and size. And although it hasn't received a very favorable rating from us because of a few quality control issues relating to its rubberized build quality, the UE Mobile Boombox sounds good and has a surprisingly decent low-end using a single passive bass radiator - coupled with easy-to-use controls, speakerphone functionality and impressive long 10-hour battery life. Logitech's UE mobile Boombox should be your choice if the Flip's bright sound signature and short battery life aren't appealing to you. It's available in 5 colorful options.

Review score: 3 out of 5

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