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