The 10 Best Bluetooth Speakers
10. Creative Muvo Mini
9. Fugoo Tough
8. Sony XB20
6. Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 Ultra
5. JBL Flip 4
4. Beats Pill Plus
3. Ultimate Ears Boom 2
2. JBL Clip 2
How to Choose a Bluetooth Speaker
Since Sony released the first Walkman in 1979, we've grown accustomed to the privilege of bringing our personal music with us everywhere we go. If we wanted to share that music with more than one friend, lugging along a boom box was necessary. With today's technology a smart phone with built-in speakers can serve as both Walkman and boom box, but the sound these devices deliver leaves a lot to be desired. You simply can't get a good sound from a small, flat device designed to fit in your pocket.
When choosing the best Bluetooth speaker for your needs, you'll want to find the perfect balance between speaker quality, portability and price. For the pickiest audiophiles who want rich, crystal-clear sound, you'll want to stick with major brands, and you definitely get what you pay for. Some important features to look for are high quality drivers or a separate subwoofer for great bass. These devices will tend to be larger and heavier. If portability is your priority, a more compact, less expensive speaker will be appropriate, but remember that the smaller the unit, the less sound it can output.
Depending on how you plan to use your Bluetooth speaker, there are a few other features you might want to consider. Athletes and outdoorsman will find there are rugged speakers available that stand up to dirt, dust and even water. If you frequently host get-togethers, look for a unit that offers multi-host sharing so that guests can share their music. You can even have several people DJ your parties at once. This feature is also popular for families, so that everyone can be connected at once. Design quality is important for speakers that will be used in place of a home speaker system. Some have a striking style you will want to display as a centerpiece, or you can find unobtrusive designs that will blend with their surroundings.
The Difference Between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are two different standards for wireless communication that each have their pros and cons. Because Bluetooth is more useful for low-bandwidth applications where speed is not an issue, the only media it can support is audio. Wi-fi enables a faster connection and is better suited for full-scale networks where large amounts of data, including audio, video and image files, will be transmitted.
The primary advantage of Bluetooth technology is that it is relatively inexpensive and doesn't require any additional equipment to connect your devices. A wireless network requires the purchase of a separate wireless router. Wireless speakers connect to your home network, but often rely on AC power. They are usually meant to provide music to a specific room in your home, while most Bluetooth speakers are compact, battery-powered units that are perfect for travel or moving from room to room.
When configured properly, a Wi-Fi network is more secure than a Bluetooth connection. This is why Bluetooth technology is more commonly found on devices that do not store and transmit sensitive information like mobile phones and fitness trackers. In contrast, you'll find Wi-Fi is primarily used with laptops, computers and servers.
A Brief History of Bluetooth
In the mid-1990's, the wireless technology for low-power, short-range radio connectivity was invented by engineers at the Scandinavian company Ericsson. Many leading corporations were developing competing technology for exchanging data between mobile phones and other devices when they recognized a need for a universal standard.
Intel engineer Jim Kardach worked to bring the various companies together. At the time he was reading a book about the Vikings featuring the reign of Harald Bluetooth, a 10th century king of Denmark who was best known for uniting parts of Denmark and Norway into one nation. He proposed the name Bluetooth for the new technology that was going to be responsible for uniting competing communication protocols. The company logo also has the same roots. The symbol is actually a combination of Harald Bluetooth's initials written in Scandinavian runes.
Bluetooth is now managed by a consortium of over 30,000 companies called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. The member companies, drawn from the areas of telecommunication, computing, networking and consumer electronics, are required to make their products meet Bluetooth SIG standards in order to market them as Bluetooth devices.