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Best Bluetooth speakers 2018: Top portable speakers to buy today

By reviews / 5. November 2018

Bluetooth speakers come in all different shapes and sizes from larger options that have the power to fill your whole living room to smaller portables that are great for taking to picnics or moving from room-to-room.

Finding the right speaker for you and your needs is no easy task so we’ve rounded up our pick of the best portable speakers currently available to buy. You’ll find a mix of styles, power, sizes and budgets, all of which have been reviewed in full by us here at Pocket-Lint.

There can be some crossover with Wi-Fi or wireless speakers, but in this roundup we’ve concentrated on units that are predominantly designed to stand alone. 

The best Bluetooth speakers to buy today

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

The UE Megaboom is a standout product; one only really limited by the high price point. But even the high price can’t muddy the raft of good points that see it swim along – literally if you dunk it in the bath, thanks to waterproofing and floatability.

This bass-booming cylinder sounds great (with even better bass than before), looks great, and is tough enough to tackle music in the office, for that summer picnic or festival, or whatever else you happen to throw at it. It’s Bluetooth speaker bliss. 

  • Ultimate Ears UE Megaboom 3 review

B&O BeoPlay A1

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

It’s small, but the B&O BeoPlay A1’s big sound makes it stand out in the portable Bluetooth speaker market. We may have baulked at its price tag at first, but given how good it sounds, we think it’s worth every penny.

Sure, there’s no Wi-Fi, AirPlay, waterproofing or 360-degree design like some of its competitors, but the solid battery, build quality, extra bass punch and sheer audio clarity give this speaker the upper hand when it comes to sound quality. The BeoPlay A1 is well worth saving up for.

  • B&O BeoPlay A1 by Bang & Olufsen review

Bowers & Wilkins T7

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

Bowers & Wilkins was right to wait for CSR’s aptX technology to improve wireless audio transmission over Bluetooth before debuting its first portable speaker. It’s an excellent example of style and substance that the brand can be proud of.

Apart from the fact the price will be out of reach for some, the only other downside is not so much of Bowers & Wilkins making, but of aptX’s device integration. Unless you have a compatible smartphone handset, you won’t get the benefit of the best-possible CD-quality audio, assuming your source files are up to scratch. That said, even if not, the T7 still sounds excellent.

  • Bowers & Wilkins T7 review

Libratone Zipp

View offer on Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Libratone Zipp is a total rework of the original speaker that dates back to 2012. The new quirky zip-up design is fun, while the physical size – which perhaps makes it a bit too large to cart around outside of the house – lends well to stomping bass and audio output.

That’s the rub of it really: for only about ¬£50 more than many smaller portable competitors, the Zipp gives an extra wallop of sound. If you’re after an at-home portable speaker then Libratone seems to have things neatly zipped-up here.

  • Libratone Zipp review

B&O Beolit 17

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

The B&O Beolit 17 was introduced to replace the Beolit 15 (below) and arrives with the exact same measurements. However the design of the speaker has been refreshed to an excellent degree and we think its the more handsome of the two.

Inside it’s all change too and the drivers have been updated to produce an even better sound than ever. The soundfield is larger and more detailed than its predecessor and the volume it can go to is nothing short of astounding. 

  • B&O Beolit 17 review

Ultimate Ears Boom 3

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

The UE Boom 2 was excellent – taking one of our favourite portable Bluetooth speakers, the original UE Boom, and makes it even better. There was also IP67 waterproofing and a sharper sound.

The Boom 3 takes this on a notch – for a cheaper price, too. 

If you’re looking for portable, premium sound wherever you are, then the UE Boom 2 hits the nail on the head. Have reasonable expectations for bass delivery and it’s one seriously hot Bluetooth speaker.

  • Ultimate Ears UE Boom 3 review

Marshall Kilburn II

View offer at Amazon US | AO.com

The powerful Kilburn II has recently been joined in the Marshall range by smart speakers that are Alexa-powered, but the beauty of the Kilburn II is its simplicity and portability.

The Kilburn II is truly a wall of sound; a bass blaster that turns it up to 10 (not 11 sorry). Mind you, if you get up to anything like that volume level you’ll be doing well to still be next to it. 

We have listened to cleaner-sounding models and if you need 360 sound then plump for the UE Megaboom 3 instead. Battery life is also impressive at around 20 hours. And naturally, being a Marshall product, the whole speaker has a very distinctive look and feel. 

  • Marshall Kilburn II review

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

If you want to invest in UE’s range of portable Bluetooth speakers, but want something smaller than the Boom 2 or Megaboom, the Wonderboom is the boom for you. It’s palm-sized, and like other speakers in the range, is protected against knocks, bumps, drops and splashes thanks to its rubberised casing. It can float too, so you can comfortably take it in the pool with you.

And when you turn it on, prepare yourself for an explosion of sound that belies its size. It can tackle all genres of music with aplomb, and will add life to any social scenario.

  • Ultimate Ears UE Wonderboom review

Denon Envaya DSB-250

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

Denon is a well-known name from the world of Hi-Fi. And true to these roots, Envaya is a  great-sounding speaker that balances fidelity and power. In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best-sounding small wireless speakers around. 

By the way, Denon has three models available, the 250BT being the largest and naturally the beefiest. The Envaya Mini (150BT) and Envaya Pocket (50BT) slot in underneath.

The DSB-250 is semi-rugged, with IP67 water resistance. It can handle being submerged in water a metre deep for half an hour.

  • Denon Envaya DSB-250 review

B&O Beolit 17

View offer at Amazon US | Amazon UK

The B&O Beolit 15 is a different prospect to most Bluetooth speakers of this size (230 x 189 x 135mm), in that it’s portable. With a battery that lasts up to 24-hours that all-day picnic could turn into an all-night party. Though whether you’ll really want to lug all 2.7kgs of it around, we’re less convinced.

Where the Beolit 15 really delivers is in audio quality: it’s loud, clear and delivers booming bass with crisp high-end that gives it as much pop as its champagne colour scheme. With so many other stay-at-home Bluetooth speakers available for less cash however, and with just as good sound delivery, the case for the Beolit is its portability.

  • Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15 review

Bose SoundLink Revolve

View offer on Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Bose SoundLink Revolve is a classy, elegant looking speaker, although we wouldn’t expect anything less from Bose. The sound, like the design, is just as you’d expect: high-quality and well-balanced.

Don’t let its small stature fool you, the SoundLink Revolve is capable of filling even the most generously-sized rooms and an optional battery base means you can make the Revolve fully portable. 

  • Bose SoundLink Revolve review

Sony SRS-XB40

View offer on Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Sony SRS-XB40 Bluetooth speaker is a lot of fun. It’s standout feature is an illuminated light ring around the speaker grille that can be a strobe light at one moment and a chilled, relaxing hue the next. It combines nicely with the sheer amount of bass the XB40 offers, with “Extra Bass” in the name, what else would you expect?

While it’s not the absolute cleanest sound ever, especially compared to some others in this list, it can go incredibly loud and remained composed while doing so. It’s portability and tough, rugged water-resistant body only add to its appeal. 

  • Sony SRS-XB40 review

V-Moda Remix

View offer on Amazon US | Amazon UK

The V-Moda Remix offers something many other speakers don’t and that’s a fully customisable build at the order stage if you order direct. V-Moda offers plenty of different options so you can create a speaker well-suited to your tastes.

Fortunately, it’s not all just a gimmick, as the Remix sounds good too. It doesn’t have the benefit of 360-degree sound, but the direct profile it produces is loud and clear. 

V-Moda has added other features such as a headphone amplifier and a long-lasting 10-hour battery life into the mix too, to make it a really versatile speaker. 

  • V-Moda Remix review

Original source: https://www.pocket-lint.com/speakers/buyers-guides/139173-best-bluetooth-speakers-top-sounding-portable-bluetooth-speakers-to-buy

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