A round up of the best portable Bluetooth speakers
Over the past few years portable Bluetooth speakers have come a long way. The way we live our lives have changed dramatically thanks to the technology around us. Having the ability to take your music with you is nothing new. The ability to take your music with you and still maintain that all-important sound quality has only been achieved within the last few years.
Whenever a new technology takes off you end up with manufacturers providing you with great quality products, and you get other manufacturers who are after making a quick profit. This is no different with portable Bluetooth speakers, so you need to make sure you don’t end up buying something that sounds awful.
This isn’t an easy task because the market is saturated with portable Bluetooth speakers. So this buying guide brings to you some of the best portable Bluetooth speakers available in 2017. We have tried to get a good collection of speakers from different price ranges, and all the speakers in this guide provide excellent sound quality.
JBL Flip 4 portable Bluetooth speaker
Design & Build
The first speaker we take a look at is the JBL Flip 4. When it comes to JBL you generally cannot go wrong, and this is definitely the case with the JBL Flip 4. The main difference from the JBL Flip 4 and the JBL Flip 3 is that it’s waterproof. The JBL Flip 3 was splash proof, but the Flip 4 can be totally submerged in water and it will still work. This is an important feature when you consider you might be looking at taking your portable Bluetooth speaker to the beach or on holiday, where contact with water is almost definite.
The JBL Flip 4 looks like most portable Bluetooth speakers, so it will not excite you with originality. However, it still looks sleek and is small enough to be a truly portable Bluetooth speaker. The speaker is protected by hard wearing rubber on both ends of the speaker, and this hard wearing rubber runs down the whole side of the JBL Flip 4. This means you can safely throw this speaker into your bag without having to worry too much about damaging it.
The JBL Flip 4 offers great sound, but it isn’t the best sounding portable Bluetooth speaker in this guide. However, for the price you get good controlled bass, and this doesn’t change when the volume is cranked up to the max. The midrange sound from the Flip 4 isn’t as rich as others we looked at, and vocals can sometimes get lost.
The sound from the JBL Flip 4 is where the Flip 4 stands out, and even at high levels the JBL Flip 4 stays in control. This means whether you’re having a party in your house or down the beach the Flip 4 is guaranteed to get the party started. You can link two separate phones to the Flip 4 at the same time, which makes it easy for people who want to share being the DJ.
One of the great benefits of the JBL Flip 4 is how small the speaker is, which makes it a truly portable speaker. When you add the portability of the speaker to the impressive sound you get from such a small speaker, then you will find it hard not to be impressed. The battery doesn’t suffer from such a small speaker either, and you can easily get 12 hours of music from the JBL Flip 4 before it’s time to say the party is over.
Ultimate Ears (UE) Boom 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Design & Build
If you haven’t heard of Ultimate Ears (UE) then it’s most likely that you haven’t been looking for a decent portable Bluetooth speaker. As this manufacturer makes some of the best portable Bluetooth speakers available right now.
The design and build of the Ultimate Ears 2 is definitely what makes it stand out from the crowd. Unlike the original UE Boom the UE Boom 2 is water resistant and it can be fully submerged in water and still come out fully working.
The UE Boom 2 is a great portable Bluetooth speaker out of the box, but you will definitely be missing out if you don’t download the app ‘UE Boom’, which adds some excellent features to the speaker. The app allows you to name your speaker, and you can also use the app to set alarms should you want to wake to music.
The app also allows you to link your UE Boom 2 to another UE Boom, which means you can have a party in your home in two separate rooms with the same music playing. The app also allows you to change the song by simply tapping the speaker. You can also tap the speaker twice to skip a song, or tap it three times to go backwards. This is a great little feature, which will definitely come in handy when you’re down the beach or on holiday. You can also use the UE Boom 2 as a speaker phone, and it can easily pickup your voice when making calls.
You would be forgiven for being utterly shocked with the sound that comes out of such a small speaker as the Ultimate Ears Boom 2. It’s hard to believe they could improve on the Boom 1, but they have. This is most noticeable in how the UE Boom 2 delivers sound to the whole room, which is almost jaw dropping. This was an issue with the UE Boom 1, and this has definitely been addressed in this latest model.
The Bass delivered by the UE Boom 2 is nice and tight and responds well to your music. It isn’t the type of bass that will blow you away, but because of that you end up with bass that is controlled and well proportioned. The mid and high range offered from the UE Boom 2 is delivered with style, and it makes listening to music an absolute joy.
One of the best things about the UE Boom 2 is the app that is available from iTunes and Google Play. Install ‘UE Boom’ onto your phone and you get extra controls that other portable Bluetooth speakers cannot offer. The app allows you to adjust the equalisers, so if the default sound isn’t to your liking you can easily change the EQ. This allows you to adjust the bass, middle and high range to suit your ear, or to match the music genre playing. This also means you can make the perfect adjustment to the EQ, so the vocals are delivered with perfect clarity.
The UE Boom 2 offers an excellent 15 hours of music, which is more than enough when you consider the size of the speaker. The UE Boom 2 isn’t the cheapest speaker on offer in this guide, but it’s most possibly one of the best when it comes to sound quality. Link that with the magnitude of options available through its App, and you end up with one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers available.
JBL Charge 3 portable Bluetooth speaker
JBL have been making decent quality speakers for many years, and they continue this trend when it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers. So it’s no surprise that a JBL speaker is featured in this buying guide more than once.
Design & Build
As the name would suggest one of the great features of the JBL Charge 3 is that you can charge your devices whilst listening to music. This is definitely something most people would take advantage of when you consider how much battery is consumed by the latest smartphones.
This also means you don’t need to worry about the music stopping due to your smartphone battery losing power. This is just as well, being that the JBL Charge 3 can provide you with a whopping 20 hours of battery life.
One thing you need to know about the JBL Charge 3 is that it isn’t a small speaker. So don’t be shocked when you realise that a separate bag might be needed to carry the speaker to the beach. It also weighs in at 1.75 pounds, so it isn’t the lightest portable Bluetooth speaker either.
That being said the JBL Charge 3 does offer amazing battery life and is also water proof, but best of all, that big speaker means big sound.
It’s fair to say that the JBL Charge 3 can deliver big sound, and will have no problem filling even the largest of rooms with your music. The bass the JBL Charge 3 delivers is powerful and deep, so deep in fact, if you had your eyes closed you would be convinced it was coming from a full on sound system.
The JBL Charge 3 has exposed woofers on either side of the unit, which gives you a visual aid on just how much bass the speaker is whipping into shape. The JBL Charge 3 has been designed to work both vertically and horizontally, but being that you’ve got exposed woofers; having the JBL Charge 3 sitting vertically has an impact on the music quality. So you should definitely try and keep the JBL portable Bluetooth speaker vertical if you want the best sound.
The JBL Charge 3 can handle all types of music genre with ease, and you can easily play music loudly without any distortion. This is what makes the JBL Charge 3 stand out. It may be pretty big when you consider it’s a portable Bluetooth speaker, but it definitely makes up for this by offering impressive bass, and music played at high volumes without loss of quality.
Ultimate Ears (UE) Roll 2 portable Bluetooth speaker
Ok, so this is the second UE portable Bluetooth speaker in this buying guide, and this is because just like JBL, Ultimate Ears are also manufacturing some pretty decent portable Bluetooth speakers at the moment.
The main difference with the UE Roll 2 compared to the other portable Bluetooth speakers on offer here is the price. However, don’t let the cheaper price put you off, as these speakers offer great looks and fantastic sound to match.
Design & Build
The UE Roll 2 portable Bluetooth speaker offers a small compact speaker that is waterproof. Having a waterproof portable speaker is really important when you consider these speakers will be used outdoors, so it’s no surprise that all the speakers on offer here are waterproof.
However, we haven’t put this speaker or any of the other speakers in this guide for being waterproof. Just like the other speakers here the UE Roll 2 offers amazing sound.
The UE Roll 2 is the most portable of all the speakers in this buying guide, and comes with a handy little strap. This means you can easily hang the speaker from suitable surroundings, and you could even hang the speaker in the shower. What better way to wake up in the morning than having decent quality sound whilst having a shower.
The battery life of the UE Roll 2 is around 8 to 9 hours, which is slightly less than the others here, but when you consider the true portability of this speaker you cannot complain. The small compact lightweight design means this speaker can be taken just about anywhere. Weighing in at just 330g and a circumference of just over 5 inches means it will fit into almost any bag without you even realising.
The UE Roll 2 can also take advantage of the UE app, which allows you to adjust the equalizer, so you can get a sound to match your taste. It also allows you to add an extra speaker so you can get true stereo sound.
You might be quite surprised by the sound this little speaker can provide, it is no match to the others on offer in this guide, but for the size it’s rather impressive. When it comes to the high and mid-range this speaker easily delivers, and listening to music with vocals is an absolute joy.
When it comes to the bass you shouldn’t expect this little speaker to offer the same as the other speakers mentioned here. The very size of the UE Roll 2 would make that impossible. However, the UE Roll 2 still manages to provide enough bass to make listening to music pleasurable. Also, over excessive bass on small units can make the music sound unclear.
The UE Roll 2 mid and high range are delivered in style. The sound this little speaker offers is sensational when delivering mid and high range, and you’ll be impressed with the controlled rhythm this portable Bluetooth speaker provides.
If you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker that offers deep impressive bass then you should avoid the UE Roll 2. If however, you’re looking for a speaker that delivers a lively sound with exciting yet controlled rhythm, then this speaker is the one to get.
All of the speakers in this buying guide offer a great quality sound and build. So there is no outright winner, as it all depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a great sounding speaker on a budget, and not too fussed about excessive bass then you might want to consider the UE Roll 2.
If you’re interested in the UE Roll 2 but concerned about the bass. Then you might want to consider the JBL Flip 4. This is the next cheapest speaker in this buying guide, and it offers a far more substantial bass range than the UE Roll 2.
If on the other hand, you’re more interested in a portable speaker that offers total clout, then you might want to consider the JBL Charge 3. The JBL Charge 3 is the biggest speaker in this guide, and is the least portable, but it does offer big room sound and jaw dropping bass.
The overall winner has to go to the UE Boom 2. This speaker provides so many functions through its app, which makes it superior to the other speakers in this guide. The sound you get from such a small portable Bluetooth speaker is simply remarkable. The issues of the UE Boom not giving full 360 sound has been addressed with the UE Boom 2. You now get a speaker that is capable of filling large rooms with exceptional sound both in the mid and highs, and the bass offered in such a small speaker is also impressive.
The UE Boom 2 isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely the speaker I would be putting in my rucksack before heading down the beach for a party.