THE CHOSEN FEW: Bluetooth Speakers
Bluetooth speakers are the fastest-growth market in the audio industry. After flaky beginnings, they’re now portable and reliable enough to chuck in a bag and they’ll not only aid your musical tastes but enhance your iPad movie and gaming. In fact, they could just be a stylish adornment to your living room.
1. Beats by Dr Dre Pill XL
With Dr Dre as creative director and founder, it’s no surprise the Pill XL delivers the sort of bass that will rattle windows. Similar to the Megaboom in its design with a sleek cylindrical shape, it’s a supersized version of the original Pill. Dressed in black only, it sports a masculine look, and weighs in at a hefty 1.5kgs but it’s still portable enough to take along to the beach and with a respectable 15 hours battery life, it’s a long-lasting companion.
Point of difference Bass, how low can it go? Well, put it this way, listening to hip-hop at full-volume will see no discernible loss in ear-splitting sound
2. Big Jambox by Jawbone
Jawbone was the Godfather of Bluetooth speakers with the original Jambox, leading Beats and UE to ape their compact, perforated metal designs - the ultimate compliment. The Big sticks with the tried and tested boxy design that won so many admirers. It’s also a little lighter than the Pill at just over 1kg and its range is a respectable 28 metres. Sound wise, it punches above its weight and shouldn’t struggle to fill a mid-sized room.
Point of difference Premium materials, easy-to-use controls and sharp lines make the Jambox a classy option.
3. Bose Soundlink III wireless
Bose has a long heritage in audio and the Soundlink Wireless aims to continue that legacy against young upstarts Beats and UE. Its design is handsome and muscular but it lacks flair or any fun factor. We’d say add a funky cover that comes as a (paid-for) accessory. It’s also a whopper, at over 1.5kgs, so you won’t be lugging it round too much. Battery life has been given a huge bump from its predecessor, at 14 hours and the sound quality isn’t too shabby.
Point of difference If you want a speaker that looks sophisticated in the home and will draw admiring glances at dinner parties, the Soundlink is your pick.
4. Sony SRS-X5
For those on a more modest budget, the SRS-X5 is a canny choice. With a deep bassy sound that belongs in speakers in much higher price-brackets, its only negative is a battery where you can only squeeze eight hours of play-time. It’s a good-looking unit however, with a glass top and matte plastic finish. This little number is probably best suited to bedroom, or smaller rooms.
Point of difference It’s significantly less expensive than the other models on test and you don’t compromise too much on performance.
*All speakers are available from Virgin Megastore.