Choos­ing a... Blue­tooth speaker

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -


Blue­tooth speak­ers come in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll need to de­cide what you want to do with the speaker be­fore you buy. If you don’t plan to take your mu­sic out­doors or around the house, look for a wired speaker. These are typ­i­cally cheaper than speak­ers with built-in bat­ter­ies.

If you do want a por­ta­ble speaker, how­ever, pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to how much it weighs. Ruggedised mod­els should be able to sur­vive ac­ci­den­tal drops, wa­ter spills and un­ex­pected rain show­ers.


Many of the cheapest Blue­tooth speak­ers use the lossy A2DP Blue­tooth pro­to­col, which is prone to com­press­ing your mu­sic and dis­card­ing de­tail com­pared with the orig­i­nal record­ing. It’s hard to tell the dif­fer­ence when lis­ten­ing to pocket-sized speak­ers, but if you’re look­ing for a speaker to fill a room, an aptX-com­pat­i­ble de­vice is a bet­ter op­tion. This Blue­tooth pro­to­col re­tains more de­tail than the A2DP pro­file, al­though you’ll need to use it with a com­pat­i­ble smart­phone in or­der to get the ben­e­fits.


As with any au­dio prod­uct, the num­ber and size of speaker driv­ers can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the qual­ity of sound you get from a Blue­tooth speaker. Typ­i­cally, the pres­ence of mul­ti­ple driv­ers en­ables the man­u­fac­turer to tune each one for spe­cific fre­quen­cies, di­rect­ing high-end sounds to­wards a tweeter and send­ing the mid-range fre­quen­cies to the main driver. Sin­gle-driver speak­ers with larger driver cones can be just as ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing fan­tas­tic au­dio, how­ever.


Most Blue­tooth speak­ers have at least one aux­il­iary in­put for a wired 3.5mm au­dio jack, in case you want to lis­ten to mu­sic from a de­vice that doesn’t have Blue­tooth.

There are other extra fea­tures to look out for, though. Speak­ers with built-in bat­ter­ies may have a USB port for charg­ing your smart­phone, or a built-in mi­cro­phone to turn it into a speak­er­phone when a paired smart­phone re­ceives a call. Not all speak­ers have phys­i­cal con­trols; many rely on your paired de­vice’s con­trols for ad­just­ing the vol­ume or mut­ing play­back.

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