Gear Guide: Bluetooth Speakers

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Whether you’re ready or not, the warm summer months are here at last, and with it brings long days by the pool, short games of ping pong, and a BBQ cookout almost every weekend. And in the middle of all the festivities is the music, played through a whole new generation of speakers that can withstand the elements, fit into your bag, answer your phone calls, and also sound pretty amazing too. Here’s a breakdown of our ten favorite portable bluetooth speakers, in no particular order, for your listening enjoyment.

Logitech UE Mobile Boombox

Logitech UE Mobile Boombox

Logitech’s UE Portable Speaker closely resembles the Jawbone Jambox in terms of powerful sound and portability—at a lower price. while its compact design is its number one asset, it also features wireless bluetooth technology that allows you to stream your favorite playlists from any of your smart devices up to 50 feet away, a built-in speakerphone for answering phone calls mid-song, and a rechargeable battery that will seamlessly play your music via the dual one-inch drivers for up to ten hours. BUY IT

Lowdi Bluetooth Speaker

Lowdi Bluetooth Speaker

With a semi-rugged exterior and a more than capable audio system, the Lowdi Bluetooth Speaker ($130) is an excellent mid-level wireless bluetooth speaker with top-level performance. It features Lowdi’s AD2P+ aptX® audio software that delivers up to 85 decibels through the two 3 watt speakers. Additional features include Bluetooth® 4.0 for streaming your favorite music wirelessly from any of your smart devices, an internal rechargeable battery capable of up to 8 hours of continuous play time, and a durable rubber casing that prevents scratches and other damage from the occasional mishap. BUY IT

Gear Guide:  JBL Flip bluetooth Speakers

JBL Flip Bluetooth Speaker

Packing aggressive sound in a small package, the JBL Flip Wireless Speaker ($100) comes equipped with dual 5-watt amps that power the 40mm drivers, a built-in bass port, and an accompanying speakerphone for answering incoming phone calls. Like many others, this speaker streams wirelessly to all of your smart devices via bluetooth technology. Although the JBL Flip has received rave reviews among the audiophile community, there is a downside to its performance that is hard to ignore–—Its fully-charged battery only gets you about 5 hours of play time. If you can live with that moderate inconvenience, then the JBL Flip is a more than capable wireless speaker for playing your music on the go. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/ BUY IT

Jawbone Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth Speaker

Jawbone Jambox

Although its pricing is higher than most bluetooth speakers in its class, the extra dough spent on the Jawbone Jambox is well worth the quality sound and performance it will continually deliver. Along with bluetooth connectivity, the Jambox Portable Speaker also doubles as a speakerphone and features a pair of high-quality stereo drivers, a 3.5mm jack for connecting to your laptop or PC, and a rechargeable battery that delivers up to 10 hours of listening enjoyment. [via] BUY IT

Jabra Solemate Bluetooth Speaker

Jabra Solemate

The Jabra Solemate ($150) is a good mix between ruggedness and portability. Its crisp, bass-intensive sound is powered by two acoustic tweeters, a powerful subwoofer, and a proprietary bass radiator that delivers a sound comparable to its more expensive counterparts. Along with standard bluetooth connectivity, the Jabra Solemate features a shoe-like tread on its bottom that not only protects it from everyday wear and tear, but also houses its 3.5mm cord. BUY IT

Beats By Dre Pill Speaker

Beats By Dre Pill

Delivering the same powerful sound as their headphone counterparts, the Beats by Dr. Dre Pill ($200) includes bluetooth and streaming capabilities with your smart devices at up to 30 feet, standard 3.5mm jack analog connections for connecting to your computer or MP3 player when you’re not on the go, a built-in speakerphone for taking important phone calls during a song, volume and song track controls straight from your smartphone, and an ultra-portable design you can take anywhere. Available in red, black, or white. BUY IT

Braven 625s Bluetooth Speaker

Braven 625s Speaker

Designed with a 1700 mAh power cell, the Braven 625s Portable Bluetooth Speaker performs a multitude of tasks for up to an impressive 16 hours, including playing music, receiving calls, and speakerphone capabilities for your smartphone. Since it may be rather difficult to keep an MP3 player charged after 16 hours of continuous play, the 625s was designed to charge any smart device on the go via USB port. Other features include a built-in LED light and a water resistant dry bag for safe transport in all weather conditions. BUY IT

Ultimate Ears Logitech UE Boom

Logitech UE BOOM

Unlike most bluetooth speakers that play music in one direction, the UE BOOM is a 360º speaker that delivers a powerful, crisp sound in all directions for up to an impressive 15 hours on a single charge. If you’re looking to really amp things up, multiple speakers can be paired together with a single tap via the downloadable UE BOOM App, thus increasing the volume and the reaching distance of the dual 1.5-inch full range drivers. Each speaker is clothed in a colorful acoustic skin with a plasma coating that renders it water resistant for when the party really gets epic. BUY IT

Braven BRV-1 waterproof Speaker

Braven BRV-1 Bluetooth Speaker

One look at Braven’s BRV-1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker and its clear that it takes the prize as the most rugged speaker on this list. Along with 12 hours of listening enjoyment coupled with bluetooth connectivity and a built-in noise cancelling mic for answering phone calls mid-song, the BRV-1 features an IPX5 certified water resistant and shock absorbent exterior housing for portable use in just about any conditions imaginable. BUY IT

Philips Shoqbox Rugged Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Philips Shoqbox

With a rugged design similar to Braven’s BRV-1 Speaker mentioned above, Philips Shoqbox was definitely designed for audiophiles taking to the outdoors this summer. Inside the shock-proof and water-resistant exterior rubber casing lies twin neodymium speaker drivers and a rechargeable battery capable of up to 8 hours of play time via bluetooth. BUY IT

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