If you’re a fan of music or if you just want to watch your fave vids with the best audio, this guide will help you sort through the facts, figures, and specs to determine which speaker will best meet your needs.
Here are some features you’ll need to look for before you buy a Bluetooth speaker.
Does It Support Your Apps?
Do you know that there are apps that provide lots of additional features to a speaker that wouldn’t be possible with just physical buttons on the speaker itself? Such apps enable more than one person to be the DJ, queue up songs to play on the speaker, and other cool features. But, wouldn’t it be 10x cooler if your speaker supports these apps.
How’s the Battery Life?
Next to fidelity, a portable speaker’s feature that you should look into is how long it can operate when it’s not plugged into a power source. An ideal battery lasts from 10 to 20 hours; but, remember, the bigger the battery, the heavier the speaker will be.
If your speaker has a battery, it will need to be charged. Speakers that charge their batteries via a USB port are way better than models that require an AC adapter; however, larger batteries might not offer that option. Some speakers also let you plug in a USB cable to tap their battery to charge your smartphone.
Does It Have Speakerphone Capabilities?
Want to sing your heart out? Some Bluetooth speakers have built-in microphones that enable you to use the speaker as a speakerphone in concert with your smartphone. The sound quality will be much better than what you’ll get from your phone, and you’ll be able to turn the volume up much higher. This can be very handy for conference calls with outsourced
, or if you want to sing your heart out.
A good portable Bluetooth speaker may be used outdoors, so the best models provide some protection from the elements. Ideally, the manufacturer will let you know just how much protection you can expect by providing an IP (International Protection) marking. The first digit rates the enclosure’s protection from particulate matter (e.g., dust) and the second digit rates its protection against liquids.
Mid-ranged to high-end Bluetooth speakers are capable of connecting to your Wi-Fi network, so that you can stream music from a NAS box. Wi-Fi streams offer higher fidelity than Bluetooth, even if the speaker supports the aptX codec. A speaker that provides a hardwired network connection is all the more versatile.
Does It Have a Wireless Range?
A Bluetooth speaker’s range depends on the power class of its radio, and it can vary widely and is impacted by the environment that it’s operating in. A Class 1 radio offers range of approximately 100 meters, but the number of walls between the Bluetooth source and the speaker and the type of materials in those walls will have a significant impact on how far your device can connect to your speaker. It’s much easier for radio waves to pass through drywall than masonry, for instance. Objects in the signal path, such as large metal appliances, will reduce that range even further.