We raved about the UE Boom, but the newer, slightly larger and majorly louder Megaboom is an even more impressive Bluetooth speaker. Packing the same durable cylindrical design and two tone colour palette as its little brother, the Megaboom takes things up a notch with a whopping battery life that lasted us many days of office listening. UE claims you’ll get 20 hours of juice and we definitely agree. 360 degree sounds pushes the noise from all sides and it’ll easily fill a room, while the Bluetooth connection has a decent 100ft range. Multiple devices can be connected at once, so everyone can have a turn and if you’re lucky enough to own two Megaboom speakers (or one Megaboom and one Boom) you can join them together. The set-up for this was a little tricky and it often failed to connect, but when it did it was pretty impressive.
It’s safe to say that it sounds fantastic. It handles the majority of music types with ease and there’s plenty of bass and if pushed, the volume will go really high without leading to any distortion. It’s IPX7 rated too, so it can join you in the shower or the pool.
£249.99 | Ultimate Ears
House of Marley Liberate BT
Just like the majority of House of Marley kit, the Liberate BT is constructed from recycled materials, here notably fabric. It looks great and rather distinctive, if we do say so ourselves. There’s good sound too thanks to four 1-inch speakers and a built-in mic lets you do voice calls, too.
£119.99 | House of Marley
Monster SuperStar Backfloat
Built for the pool, or, as we’d probably mostly use it, the shower (sadly, we don’t have a pool), the Backfloat is shock-proof and durable, boasts a noise cancelling mic and strong sound with a good hit of volume.
£159.99 | Monster
Ultimate Ears Boom Wireless
Packing a rather impressive 15 hour battery life, this weather resistant speaker could last all night, ensuring the music for your party never stops. NFC support means pairing is done in a tap, and you can even use it is a speakerphone for your phone calls.
Balanced sound and deep bass comes from all angles, thanks to the 360 tech and there’s a companion app for iOS and Android if you want to further delve into the settings, or joing two up together for full stereo sound. The real headline feature here though is the volume - this thing is loud! But even if you pump it up all the way, you won't lose any of that sound quality. One of the best Bluetooth speakers we've tried this year, no doubt about it.
Libratone Zipp w/ BT 4.0
Wrapped in colourful Italian wool, this AirPlay, Bluetooth, DNLA and Spotify Connect compatible, highly portable speaker screams fun and is feature packed. FullRoom tech ensures your whole room is filled with fantastic sounding, crisp audio and the eight hour battery makes this great for outdoor parties or just going sans cable. The covers themselves can be easily replaced if you fancy a bit of a colour change.
Skullcandy Air Raid
Boasting a durable, water-resistant build, up to 14 hours of battery life and Bluetooth connectivity, Skullcandy looks to have a winning portable music system here. 360 degree sound pumps music in all directions, thanks to two 50mm driver and if you like things loud, you won't be disappointed, as this thing cranks it up high, without leading to distorted tunes.
£129 | Skullcandy
One thing you might notice about Bluetooth speakers is that they all tend to, well, look a bit alike. The folk who designed the Spaced360 must have thought the same thing, as this three-pronged device is truly futuristic looking. It sounds great too, with airSOUND tech the noise is pumped in 360 degrees, giving it a room filling feeling. NFC is a nice addition, for quick phone pairing, plus the battery should last for around 14 hours.
£250 | Spaced360
JBL Charge 2
Aiming to be your party speaker of choice, the JBL Charge 2 boasts a clever social mode that lets three people take it in turns playing their music from different phones to the same speaker. Passive radiators push strong bass levels and the built-in mic is great for conference calls. Inside there's a decent sized battery that'll give you around 12 hours of juice, plus it'll also keep your phone charged too.
Nude Audio M
Not quite the smallest member of the Nude Audio family, yet the M is still compact enough to slip in your back pocket or add to your bag without a noticeable increase in weight. There’s Bluetooth, a rugged build and the sound quality, especially for something this small, is really quite impressive. Bass is strong and audio is clean and crisp.
Nude Audio L
While the larger size of the L doesn’t completely relegate this to stay at home only speaker, it clearly isn’t as portable as the M. No matter though, the L has much improved sound, pumping up the volume while keeper the impressive acoustics. The design is spot on too, with a rugged silicone outing and clever detailing. An impressive Bluetooth range means you don’t have to be right next to the speaker for it to work.
Nude Audio Super M
Currently racking up the investment on Kickstarter, the Super M is a powerful little speaker, with sound blasting out from both sides. It’s also rugged, sand proof and waterproof, has a speakerphone function and just like the other models features nice little design additions. We’ve had a sneaky play with a prototype, but we’ll reserve full judgement for when this baby goes retail. Hint - it’s going to be good.
Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 2.0
With its rugged looks and arsenal of features, this is a handy little gadget made for the great outdoors, especially given its weight of only 290g. Boasting the best hi-fi around, louder than a bear's roar (yes, really), you can connect the Turtle Shell to your laptop, phone or anything with a Bluetooth connection and hear it all in high definition, with an impressive range of 32 feet. If you're still living in the dark ages, you can plug in a 3.5mm audio or USB lead. It claims to be waterproof - but don't go testing that out by dropping it in the pool.
BOOM Urchin Speaker
The shock and water resistant Urchin is designed for use anywhere and everywhere - we just use it in the bath, but you probably didn't need to know that. It lets you stream audio wirelessly for up to 8 hours and the protective silicone skin is easily removed and washed if you get it mucky.
Ruark Audio MR1 Bluetooth
Want some seriously high quality speakers that also happen to be super compact? Then we think you can’t get much better than this pair from British audio brand Ruark. These feature hand crafted wooden enclosures, custom designed driver units and best of all, Bluetooth with aptX tech for high quality music streaming from your phone, tablet or computer. Even though they are on the small side, they sound fantastic – with precise notes, great bass and you can pump up the sound pretty loud too. Three colours are available – brown, white and black and there’s even a rechargeable battery available separately, that ditches the need for it to be plugged in. A fantastic all rounder.
Creative Muvo 10
Even though it comes in at price point much lower than its rivals, the Muvo 10 doesn’t skimp on added features, like NFC connectivity and an impressive eight hour battery life. Audio is taken care of thanks to large full-range drivers, plus there’s BasXPort tech for improving the bass. There’s a carry handle on the side for easy transportation and if that isn’t enough, it can also work as a speakerphone for voice calls.
These wireless NFC mini speakers aim to deliver genuine split-channel stereo sound. It’s a bold move. Does it actually work? Almost… Pairing is pesky, largely because the two speakers have to pair to each other as well as the source. Sound quality, particularly bass, is surprisingly good, providing you have a suitable surface for the music to resonate through – the jets vibrate to spread sonics. It does inevitably sound tinny on some tracks, especially if you turn up the volume, but nine hours of battery and the option to use each speaker individually makes the jets pretty fly.
Nixon The Blaster
The Blaster is around twice the weight of the Mini jambox, but still slips easily into a backpack. Its slinky, minimalist design helps it stand out, while its water resistance and impressive twelve-hour battery life score points in its favour. Bluetooth setup is easy, although the heartbeat that sounds through the speaker during pairing is mildly unnerving. As is the cheery “see you later!” sign-off when powering down. Sound quality isn’t bad if you’re sat squarely in front of the speaker, but it is very linear. Step to the side and the sound drops off instantly. A party for one, then.
With dedicated tweeters for sharp sounding high notes and custom built drivers for the midrange, these wireless speakers pump out some rather impressive noise. BasXPort tech takes care of the bass, plus there are plenty of ways to connect this pair up to your music source. You’ve got Bluetooth for those wireless connections like your phone or tablet, plus more conventional inputs like line-in and a headphone jack as well.
Nakamichi Speaker Ball
These two Bluetooth speaker balls provide stereo sound, with punchy audio and impressive depth, along with offering a variety of bright colours. Set-up is simple, hands-free calling is supported and the built-in battery keeps the tunes going even when a mains plug is out of sight.
£82.99 | Nakamichi
This speaker is actually the work of Marshall Headphones, rather than the legendary amp maker itself. Intended to be a compact speaker for a small space, rather than a portable, the tank-like build makes it possible to deliver some strong audio. Pairing is swift and sound is rich and powerful with plenty of bass that can be upped further using the dedicated control dials. Unlike the other Bluetooth devices on test, the Stanmore sports RCA inputs as well as a 3.5mm jack, so you can hook up your AV gear, plus an optical input for the likes of Apple TV. Versatile and loud, but rather pricey.
Logitech Ultimate Ears Mini Boom
Many of these speakers are small, but the Mini Boom is really small – aiding its portability no end and making it great for slinging in your bag. The mixture of metallic and rubberised materials also gives a really sturdy feel. For a speaker of this price, the sound quality is good, though not really ground breaking. Pairing two Mini Booms together clearly improves the audio, though you’ll have to shell out more for that. Volume is loud and bass is really good.
From bargain chic, to pricey sophistication. This speaker is full of curves and wood and is definitely not portable, though that’s probably not the point. Internally you’ve got two 3-inch drivers, soft dome tweeters and an Intersil’s D2 Audio DSP-controlled digital amplifier with 50 watts of power.
$300 |Buy it now from Wren
Beats Pill 2.0 by Dre
With an update to the original Pill, version 2.0 adds in the ability to amplify your tunes, as well as charge accessories – which is a nice touch. Everything is pretty much the same, including the vast array of colour options, NFC connectivity and dinky design. Sound is big, loud and bassy and perfectly suited to a bit of RnB.
Gear4 HouseParty Rise Wireless
Great for bedside tables across the country, thanks to an inbuilt alarm and FM radio, this is another speaker that’s designed more to stay in the same place, rather than be portable. There’s USB charging, a line in port and support for aptX.
Jawbone Jambox Mini
Dinky in size, big on sound, the Jawbone Jambox Mini is a slimmed down version of their popular Jambox Bluetooth speaker. Jawbone has managed to shave about a third off the depth of the device, when compared to its predecessor thanks to using an aluminium unibody design. It looks swish, packs a 10-hour battery life and will be available in loads of colours.
Jabra Solemate Mini
This durable, portable Bluetooth speaker is a shrunken down version of Jabra’s trainer styled Solemate. Jammed into the pretty small shell is an internal battery capable of running for eight hours, NFC and an integrated cable, while two powerful, front-facing speakers provide the bass driven sound.
Harman Kardon Esquire
Clad in a mixture of aluminium and leather, this Bluetooth speaker actually doubles as a portable conference system, while still letting you relax to your favourite after work tunes. There’s a noise cancelling mic, two drivers and bass port, along with NFC support for quick pairing. An internal battery should give you 10 hours of juice and the three USB ports ensure your smartphone and other devices never run out of charge.
Harman Kardon Onyx
Harman Kardon is aiming to pack this spherical Bluetooth speaker with plenty of oomph, including a total of 60 watts of power through four speakers. Sound is enhanced by Digital Signal Processing and Dual aluminium passive radiators, while a companion app for your smartphone gives you ultimate control over the system. A luxurious finish –with leather and stainless steel complete the speaker.
Ditching the usual design of a Bluetooth speaker, the Spark from JBL is infact built to resemble a hanging light, or maybe even a megaphone. Two 40mm drivers provide the noise, enough to fill a small room, though the portability factor is lost somewhat by the lack of rechargeable battery.
Loewe Speaker 2go
Sporting a classic design and impressive audio credentials, this slightly bulky speaker from Loewe may be a tad pricey, yet it still won us over. NFC is in toe for quick pairing with your device and it’s engineered so the sound easily fills a room. Six top mounted LED lights indicate the current volume in a very swish manner – to complete the look. There’s an output of 40 watts thanks to two mid-range 10w speaker drivers and a single 20w woofer, while the apt-X codec ensures your digital music will still sound top notch.
Bose Sound Link Mini
The latest portable speaker from Bose packs an enormous amount of features, while keeping a sleek, svelte construction. Keeping the classic Bose sound in-tact, this Bluetooth speaker has an eight-hour battery, a nifty charging dock and you can add a dash of colour through a variety of shells. It’ll even remember the last six devices you’ve connected, allowing for a streamlined set-up.
Jawbone Big Jambox
As the name implies, Jawbone has taken their iconic Jambox speaker and made it a whole lot bigger, beefing up the sound quality in the process. What it gains in audio crispness it loses in portability; this isn’t a speaker you’re going to be chucking in your bag. A 15 hour battery life is a nice addition, as is LiveSound – which makes your music, games and movies much more immersive.
Cambridge Audio Minx Go
This dinky speaker is the cheapest on our list, yet it still produces very impressive sound and looks pretty good too. Like a shrunken down version of its brother, the Minx 100, the Go is sleek in appearance, yet subtle enough to go unnoticed nestled on a bookcase. Inside either the black or white shell are five speakers, including two Titanium tweeters and and twin 2-inch woofers which work together to produce fantastic, crisp audio that can easily fill a room.