GROUP TEST: Blue­tooth speak­ers

If money is no ob­ject, then Chris Martin re­veals the best 10 Blue­tooth speak­ers you can get

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

You of­ten get what you pay for and this is cer­tainly the case with au­dio prod­ucts. Al­though there are some de­cent bud­get op­tions, here we round up the best Blue­tooth speak­ers money can buy. Prices start at £199, which is good for a high-end de­vice, and rise to the heady heights of £499. Most are around the £250 mark, though.

All shapes and sizes

The speaker you opt for will de­pend upon what you want from it. You might, for ex­am­ple, be look­ing for porta­bil­ity and bat­tery life, or a large speaker for your lounge to pro­vide pump­ing sounds for your party. The dif­fi­culty in putting to­gether this group test is that each brand of­fers a range of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts to suit those vary­ing needs. We’ve made sure there’s a de­cent se­lec­tion and that for each man­u­fac­turer we’ve pre­sented other op­tions.

What to look for

Al­though you’re likely to con­nect your phone or tablet to the speaker over Blue­tooth, hav­ing other con­nec­tions is use­ful. For ex­am­ple, you might have an MP3 player, such as an old iPod, which still works fine but doesn’t have Blue­tooth. If so look for a speaker with a 3.5mm jack (most of them have one). Some also of­fer ports in­clud­ing phono, which is handy for con­nect­ing de­vices such as your TV or a record player.

Whereas Blue­tooth used to be the pri­mary way of con­nect­ing wire­lessly to a speaker, some now of­fer Wi-Fi, which is use­ful for var­i­ous rea­sons. This is how Ap­ple’s AirPlay works, al­though not ex­clu­sively. Hav­ing Wi-Fi might also add the abil­ity to use the speaker di­rectly with stream­ing services such as Spo­tify or in­ter­net ra­dio sta­tions, so you’re not lim­ited to what tunes you’ve got on your de­vice. Th­ese are the kind of ben­e­fits you get from spend­ing more on a Blue­tooth speaker.

Note: Where we men­tion pair­ing up de­vices as a stereo pair or multi-room ca­pa­bil­i­ties, which is not some­thing we’ve been able to test as we were sent only one of each speaker.

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