This article explores our picks for the top 5 portable speaker systems of 2014.
While it’s nice of today’s smartphone manufacturers to pair their phones’ music libraries with a small speaker for public enjoyment, the truth of the matter is that these speakers are decidedly underwhelming. Their extremely small size, lack of a subwoofer, and focus on amplifying voices rather than musical notes, make them good in a pinch but not good when great music and amplification is required on the go. A few manufacturers are looking to change all of that, with portable speakers that leverage both wired and wireless technology to provide ample base and clear notes to consumers with discerning ears.
5. XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule Speaker
The XBOOM Mini Portable Music Capsule is probably one of the most unique portable speakers on the market. Its round design allows it to broadcast music in all directions at once, and its size allows for a subwoofer just large enough to provide real bass in indoor and outdoor environments. What makes this speaker particularly unique, however, is its ability to use a 3.5mm headphone jack to effectively “daisy chain” with other XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule Speakers. The device then uses all connected speakers at once, creating a richer and fuller sound that is only limited by the number of speakers a consumer wishes to purchase.
In addition to its unique ability to extend its reach throughout larger rooms with a simple audio cable, this speaker can work with just about any portable device o the market. Whether it’s an iPhone, an Android device, or something a bit less popular, the speaker’s universal compatibility means that one speaker can amplify the tunes stored on virtually any device, new or old.
4. SHARKK Mini Portable Speaker
SHARKK is a leading name in portable audio, and its Mini Portable Speaker is evidence of why: The product is extremely compact, with universal connectivity through a 3.5mm headphone jack that makes it easy to connect any smartphone, tablet, or other music player. It pairs this universal compatibility and wired setup with a built-in, rechargeable battery. From empty to full, it charges in about 3 hours. At full capacity, users will enjoy the ability to play 8 continuous hours of music before the battery requires a recharge to keep going.
Another great thing about SHARKK’s corded, portable speaker is that it comes with an expandable top. This innovative design allows users to expand the speaker as much as they wish, using all of the room they have available, to enjoy richer sounds. As the speaker expands, clarity improves and bass gets stronger. As the capsule decreases in size, music is automatically adjusted to make the best use of limited space and keep sounds rich even in a tighter environment.
3. SHARKK Bluetooth Speaker (Mini)
SHARKK’s corded speaker isn’t the only portable option produced by the company. For those who prefer not to be bogged down by audio cords during their mobile listening experience, the company makes its Bluetooth Speaker. Using Bluetooth connectivity phones can stream music from their built-in audio library as well as from apps like Pandora, Spotify, and Slacker Radio. Because it uses Bluetooth, the speaker can also directly control the music being played. Play/pause and next/last controls make it easy to adjust the music without ever turning the phone’s screen on.
In addition to saving battery via low-power Bluetooth connections and remote control capabilities, the speaker can actually help phones maintain a charge using its built-in battery charger. Thanks to USB connectivity, the speaker’s built-in lithium-ion battery can charge both the speaker and any connected device, which is a clear indication of SHARKK’s commitment to the mobile experience.
2. JBL Charge Portable MM Speaker
JBL’s Charge is a portable speaker designed for the aesthetically minded. Like the SHARKK Bluetooth speaker, the Charge comes with a built-in lithium-ion battery that can be recharged whenever the need arises. The JBL offering has longer battery life than its SHARKK competition, offering a full 12 hours of continuous listening enjoyment before the use of a power cord is required. Like the SHARKK speaker, JBL offers device charging via the built-in battery by using a USB port.
JBL’s sound quality is second to none in this segment, with the speaker giving off rich bass paired with clear audio and vocals. Its white design matches perfectly with Samsung Galaxy devices and Apple’s iPhone, iPod, and iPad, making this an easy buy for most on-the-go music enthusiasts.
1. JBL Micro Wireless Ultra-Portable Speaker
For a Bluetooth enhancement to the JBL Charge, consumers will want to check out the company’s Micro Wireless speaker. Designed to be ultra-portable, as its name implies, the speaker uses Bluetooth to stream audio and control it from afar. A built-in lithium-ion battery allows for quite a few hours of continuous listening, while an ample bass port gives this speaker a larger sound than its physical dimensions might lead observers to believe.
JBL’s design work on this speaker is commendable, from its round and ultra-light design to the Smart Cable design for its power cord. The cord simply wraps up and stores in the bottom of the speaker, able to be carried along in case a charge is required. Unlike other speakers, the cord won’t drag behind and be a nuisance during otherwise mobile use.
Go Mobile with Great Portable Speakers
From Bluetooth speakers to those that use 3.5mm audio cables in entirely new ways, today’s options for mobile music enjoyment are better than ever. Choose the option with the cords, or lack of cords, that works best for on-the-go listening and enjoy bypassing the typical smartphone speaker.