How to choose the right wire­less speaker

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Buyer's Guide Best Buys -

Big or small, Blue­tooth or Air­play, por­ta­ble or main­spow­ered, smart or not – the choice of wire­less speaker op­tions is vast and var­ied. Let us en­lighten you…

Choose the right shape and size The shape and size of your wire­less speaker will dic­tate how you use it. For your bed­room, a sen­si­bly sized Au­dio Pro Ad­don T3 is ideal. If the speaker will take pride of place in your liv­ing room, then the Naim Mu-so Qb makes quite the state­ment. If you want your friends to en­joy an even spread of sound, have a look at om­ni­di­rec­tional speak­ers such as the Bose Soundlink Re­volve or smart speak­ers such as the Ap­ple Homepod. A er some­thing more por­ta­ble? Try the Dali Katch or any­thing from UE’S range of wire­less speak­ers, such as the UE Boom 2 or Me­ga­boom. If you’re the ad­ven­tur­ous type, the UE Roll 2’s rugged, wa­ter­proof build will with­stand all man­ner of knocks, bumps, rain and mud splashes. Will it be your main mu­sic sys­tem? If you’re look­ing for a wire­less speaker to be your main mu­sic sys­tem, be pre­pared to spend some cash. You’ll want to tem­per your sonic ex­pec­ta­tions de­pend­ing on the size and price. Don’t ex­pect huge, room-fill­ing, dy­namic and ar­tic­u­late sound from small, por­ta­ble speak­ers such as the Award-win­ning Dali Katch. Do ex­pect it from the more am­bi­tious Naim Mu-so, though.

Por­ta­ble or mains-pow­ered speaker? Is por­ta­ble bet­ter? Well, por­ta­ble speak­ers have a recharge­able bat­tery, so you can pick them up and take them with you. De­pend­ing on how big your speaker is, that might mean to an­other part of the house, into the gar­den, or all the way to the beach. Take note of the speaker’s bat­tery life. Four hours is fine if you’ll be lis­ten­ing in your own gar­den, but you’ll prob­a­bly want eight hours or more if you’re tak­ing it on hol­i­day. Mains-pow­ered speak­ers, in­evitably, are more re­stricted. They’re usu­ally big­ger and more ex­pen­sive and are de­mand­ing enough to need a con­stant source of power to drive them and al­low them to reach their full per­for­mance po­ten­tial.

How will you stream your mu­sic? What stream­ing method is the best one for you? How will you be send­ing mu­sic from your smart­phone or ipod to the speaker? Will you be stick­ing with stan­dard Blue­tooth? Are you in­vested in Ap­ple’s ecosys­tem and there­fore only need Air­play? Or are you think­ing of a multi-room sys­tem? Most wire­less speak­ers come with ei­ther one or a com­bi­na­tion of wire­less meth­ods, so choose which one suits you and your cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment best.

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