Best Blue­tooth speaker picks

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Brent But­ter­worth

The Wirecutter finds the best all-around value in wa­ter­re­sis­tant mod­els.

The best all-around value in a wa­ter-re­sis­tant Blue­tooth speaker to­day is the UE Me­gaboom. Although there are lots of less-ex­pen­sive mod­els, most that truly ap­proach the Me­gaboom’s per­for­mance cost about the same, and none that we’ve seen can of­fer its mix of sound qual­ity, fea­tures and rugged­ness. We nar­rowed down 50-some Blue­tooth speak­ers to 13 wa­ter-re­sis­tant fi­nal­ists and tested each with The Wirecutter AV team and a deep swim­ming pool. The $300 Me­gaboom is pricey, but if you have other bud­getary or func­tional needs, we have a few other picks as well.

Who should buy a wa­ter-re­sis­tant Blue­tooth speaker?

Wa­ter-re­sis­tant Blue­tooth speak­ers are in­tended for out­door or in­door use, but they can come with a price: Most wa­ter-re­sis­tant Blue­tooth speak­ers don’t sound as good as the best con­ven­tional por­ta­ble Blue­tooth speak­ers.

Por­ta­ble Blue­tooth speak­ers are a great buy for peo­ple who own smartphones and tablets. The recharge­able bat­tery lets you take them any­where, and wa­ter re­sis­tance ex­pands your op­tions even fur­ther.

What fea­tures do you need?

Most peo­ple want a Blue­tooth speaker that sounds pretty good, is rea­son­ably por­ta­ble and is wa­ter-re­sis­tant. We drew the line in se­lect­ing speak­ers with an ingress pro­tec­tion (IP) code rat­ing of 4, which means they can sur­vive a rain­storm, but we also con­sid­ered speak­ers up to an IP rat­ing of 7, al­low­ing them to be fully sub­merged in 1 me­ter of wa­ter. Ad­di­tional fea­tures on cer­tain mod­els will ap­peal to some buy­ers: a speak­er­phone, pair­ing with an­other speaker and bat­tery life.

How we tested

We looked at re­views at lead­ing elec­tron­ics web­sites. Ad­di­tion­ally, we sur­veyed Wirecutter read­ers to learn what fea­tures and price points were im­por­tant. We tested 13 speak­ers in two rounds. First, we set up six larger mod­els on a ta­ble across the pool from our seat­ing area. This al­lowed us to hear which ones had the sonic mus­cle to cover a large area.

In the sec­ond round, we set up seven smaller mod­els on a ta­ble about 8 feet away; with th­ese mod­els, all you can rea­son­ably ex­pect is enough sound for a cou­ple of peo­ple sit­ting on chaise lounges. Af­ter the blind tests, we dis­cussed which mod­els de­liv­ered the best blend of per­for­mance and fea­tures for the price.

To test wa­ter re­sis­tance, we poured wa­ter on the mod­els, tossed the float­able mod­els in a pool and dunked the ones rated as sub­mersible fully un­der the wa­ter for sev­eral min­utes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.