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Video: Bluetooth Speakers Review

Ken Nail has written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. He's an avid music listener, whose favorites are classical and film music. When not chained to a desk, Ken spends most of his time training for triathlons and marathons, and likes getting outside for backpacking, downhill skiing, and bicycle touring. He attended West Virginia University, where he received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History.

More from Ken Nail

Wireless Bluetooth® speakers let you enjoy content from your smartphone and other Bluetooth devices without having to plug in your device or wear headphones. Crutchfield A/V writer Ken takes a look at five different portable Bluetooth speakers in this video review.

Video Transcript

If you own a smartphone, you probably enjoy listening to music and other programming on it, but maybe you don't want to be tied to a set of headphones or have to dock your phone to a device to listen to it. That's where Bluetooth speakers come in. Using your device's built-in Bluetooth, you can stream your music and other programming to the speakers and cut the cord. Bluetooth speakers come in a variety of sizes but I chose five fairly portable devices and took them home for a few weeks to get my general impressions of them. Here's some of what I found out.

Monster's ClarityHD Micro is designed with portability in mind. It's got these nice rounded edges, and it comes with a carrying bag. You can even attach this lanyard. And, it's pretty small and light. Now sound-wise, the ClarityHD Micro doesn't have quite the bass response of some of these other models. However, it does make up for it with a really nice, crisp high end. So if you're listening to talk programs or music that's heavy on the vocals it might serve your needs very well.

At the small end of the size scale is the Soundmatters foxLv2. This device is small — very good if you want something you can take on the road or put about anywhere in your house. It's got a nifty little hinged back here, so you can sit it about anywhere. Now, the sound is impressive for the size. You have two main drivers her,e and then also the battery here in the back is cleverly designed to work as a passive radiator so you get a surprising amount of bass out of this.

Bose's SoundLink is something of a different animal than these other models. First off, the SoundLink is bigger, and in that case, bigger means bigger sound. I found that the SoundLink gave me fuller sound in medium-sized and larger rooms. The SoundLink also comes in two models. There's a nylon encased one. There's also a leather model. The leather one costs a little bit more. In each case, you can open it up and then sit it right down on this nifty stand. So it's pretty portable even though it's a little bit larger. So if you're looking for something that might work better in a larger room, looks good in the living room, this is a nice one to consider.

Now one of the more interesting models, style wise, is the Beats by Dr. Dre Pill. Now this little guy is designed for traveling. It even comes with a handy zippered case you can slip it right into and take it on the road. And it has a nice little stand that you sit it right down. It has four speakers, and the sound was good. It had solid bass, nice mid-range, and pretty balanced highs. Overall, it was one of the more balanced sounding models that I tested out. Now one of the things I liked about this was just overall user experience. It paired easily. It had good range. And it was just an easy model to pick up, slip in your pocket, take with you on the road, put it out anywhere in the house.

Now a model that kind of breaks the mold is the Tivoli Audio PAL BT. Now this model is not only a Bluetooth speaker. It's also an AM/FM radio. It even has its own retractable FM antenna on the back. Now you're probably gonna either love or hate the sort of chunky retro look, but it does have the advantage of good sound from this single mono speaker. Certainly, it's not going to be as portable as something like this, but with the choices of different colors, this is a nice call if you want to put something in the kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom.

You'll find lots of detailed information on all these models on our website. So chat, email, or give us a call. We'll be happy to help.

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