With advances in Bluetooth technology and the rise of music-streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, there’s not much reason to have a wired speaker system anymore. Sure, you might want something more powerful in your living room, but for secondary spaces (bedroom, kitchen) or on-the-go listening, a portable Bluetooth system is a convenient alternative to your traditional iPod dock or stereo setup. Here are six of the best.
Jawbone Jambox, $199 One of the first popular systems to combine Bluetooth tech with sleek design and maximum portability, the Jawbone Jambox delivers a clear sound capable of filling a room (without taking up more than a few inches of space in said room). It also packs a surprising amount of bass kick, and serves as a speakerphone to boot, so switching between calls and music is as easy as answering your phone. Want something louder? Check out the Jambox Big.
Bose SoundLink, $299 Bose is synonymous with quality speakers, and its foray into the portable Bluetooth market reflects that reputation. The SoundLink offers great sound in a travel-friendly package that looks clean and simple on a bookshelf or countertop. It folds shut for easy storage or transport, and the volume level is capped so you don’t run the risk of blowing out the speaker or drowning your tunes in distortion.
Geneva XS, $250 As far as design goes, the Geneva XS is arguably the best-looking device on this list. A clamshell setup with foldout speaker, LED touch-screen buttons and a soft, leather-like exterior, the XS mimics the look and feel of a retro bedside alarm clock. It more than stacks up in the sound department, too, with a single speaker that pumps out rich, vibrant tones.
Soundmatters foxL V2, $250 Looking for something even smaller? The foxL V2 is just 5.6 inches wide, making it a truly pocket-sized Bluetooth stereo system. But with small size comes small(er) sound, so be aware that you’re not going to get the same room-filling acoustics from this device that you can expect from a larger model.
Creative D100, $80 For the price-conscious Bluetooth-seeker, the D100 is a cost-effective device that serves up clean audio from two three-inch speakers. A simple control strip on the front makes for easy use, and the whole package weighs less than three pounds, so transportation is never an issue.
Nokia Play 360, $149 It might look like a humidifier, but the Play 360 is a powerful speaker that delivers sound in all directions using its—you guessed it—360-degree speaker setup, designed to fill a room in optimal fashion. The device is also specifically compatible with other Play 360s; when two are placed near each other, they automatically switch over to stereo mode and play the same audio concurrently.
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