Plugging in a music player is old-school. Modern speakers stream songs, writes Jennifer DudleyNicholson
Jabra, $199 jabra.com.au ★★★★ It’s no accident this Bluetooth speaker is out just before summer: the Solemate is built for beach parties. Standing just 7cm tall and 17cm long, this small music maker is splash- and dust-resistant for outdoor use. It also packs substantial audio grunt, pumping out 120dB (on the same scale as sandblasting or a rock concert). The Solemate also has a microphone to accept phone calls and will deliver eight hours of music. Gear4, $99 gear4.com.au ★★ When Apple changed its iPod connections, speaker makers including Gear4 had to rethink their approach. The result is this StreetParty Wireless speaker that connects to iPods, smartphones, tablets and computerswith Bluetooth. The wireless speaker is about the same size as a clutch purse, making it very easy to carry about. Unfortunately, its audio quality is merely passable. Libratone, $499.95 libratone.com ★★★★ Zipp is the first speaker to showcase the Dutch company’s PlayDirect technology. It lets users connect Apple gadgets without the need forwi-fi. PlayDirect is simple to set up: users hold a button down and connect an iPod to its wireless signal. Music can then be played through the speaker using the iPod’s controls. This cord-free system is almost as impressive as the crisp and rich sound from this unit. Kaiser Baas, $99 kaiserbaas.com ★★★ This is portable enough to carry from one meeting to another and funky enough to pass as an entertainer. After connecting it to any Bluetooth phone or MP3 player, its three buttons can be used to control music volume and pause and play tunes, or to accept and reject calls. The 2.2-watt speakers are more than capable of delivering clear conference calls. Samsung, $699 samsung.com/au ★★★★ This is a phone dock for serious audiophiles. Samsung has mixed digital and analogue technologies to create this 8.6kg monster that can fill a room with sound from just about any source. The DAE750 uses a vacuum tube amp as well as glass fibre speakers, a 60-watt woofer and two 20-watt speakers. The package creates an unusually warm, natural sound.