So you’ve been looking for a good Bluetooth enabled speaker. Most of the ones you’ve already looked at may be functional, but they’re so plain-Jane that you’d be ashamed to have this in your home or be seen carrying it when you’re out and about. What makes these Bluetooth speakers different is that they’re not only functional and won’t drop the Bluetooth connection, but they’re also cool-looking enough to impress discerning friends who can admire a really cool sound setup.
This is how cool a speaker can be. The Airman is anything but plain-Jane with sophisticated color options that can dance to a beat, give a rainbow hue to your dance parties, or just provide a single color that gives a muted sophisticated look. It’s actually pretty impressive that it can handle 16 million colors — think of it as an inexpensive party light that doesn’t come across as so overly cheap that it can only handle primary colors, if you like. Load it with your playlist with the capacity to support a TF card of up to 32 GB or connect it to your Bluetooth-enabled device for up to 10 hours of music on a single battery charge. The Bluetooth only really works up to ten meters, but that’s not terrible if you just remember to take the iPod out of your pocket and place it somewhere near this speaker. The included instructions are a bit lacking, but setup is intuitive enough that it might not matter if you’ve set up a Bluetooth speaker before. The sound quality is pretty good for a cheap speaker that doubles as a party light though songs that rely on heavy bass don’t necessarily sound the best when coming through its speakers. A slight note here: It’s meant for indoor use, or at the most in an enclosed pool area, and might not do well in outdoor environments like the beach where sand and grit can get into the holes and the ports.
It’s got Bluetooth and your choice of four color schemes. It’s got Hi-Fi speakers, treble, bass and volume controls plus a blue LED light around the speakers that looks really cool in the dark. Yadda yadda, right? But what’s cool about this one is that it looks like a miniature version of the kind of speaker you’d see at that rocking nightclub party without overdoing it on the size or the price. You can charge it with a USB cable while staying connected to your devices with your choice of Bluetooth or an AUX audio cable. The downside with the USB charger is that the USB isn’t an option for audio input. The lack of SD card input and radio capacity may be a bummer for some people though, if you care, you might be able to get it to play your favorite podcasts through a Bluetooth connection. Battery capacity is awesome and you can still use it while it’s on the charger. It’s bulky enough to make it obvious that it’s not meant to be a portable speaker, but that hasn’t stopped users from taking it out to the beach where they listened to it for 6 to 10 hours without needing to recharge it. It doesn’t automatically turn itself off, so if you want to save on energy usage, don’t forget to turn it off and pop it on the charger when you’re done. Sound is very good for a compact device in the under-$30 price range though the music can get distorted at the higher end of the volume range. It is possible to swap out the battery and the light if you need to, but this is only recommended if you’re pretty handy.
If we’re already into the holiday shopping season and you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker as a last minute gift, you may want to look elsewhere because federal regulation is a futz that might hold up shipping on this one and it can only be shipped to the contiguous 48 states. However, if you’re one of those people who likes to get your Christmas shopping done a few months early to avoid the craziness, you’ll probably be all right and users generally agree that it’s worth the wait. Inputs for this one include Bluetooth, FM radio, USB, micro-SD, AUX and a microphone. It’s got an 8-inch woofer and amplifier that sounds awesome even when you sound terrible as a karaoke singer. As I like to say, if you’re untalented, you might as well be awesome at being untalented. This one just looks friggin’ cool and is way fun for outdoor karaoke parties, softball games and the occasional tailgate party. It can be rolled on its attached wheels like you would roll around a wheeled backpack and set it up on the fly. It’ll hook up to your Bluetooth-enabled karaoke machine, excuse me, iPod for all kinds of hilariously untalented fun. Sound is decent for a compact portable Bluetooh speaker. The battery lasts pretty much all day, or at least until everybody gets worn-out by the karaoke. You’ll be the popular one at all the parties when everybody starts asking you to bring that cool little speaker.
People who see this one may think that it doesn’t look much like a speaker at all. That’ll be your chance to blow them away by turning the cylinder on. It’s amazingly easy to carry around with the included strap and comes with SD and USB inputs along with the Bluetooth. It won’t play while charging or plugged in and you may want to just leave it plugged in overnight before you take it anywhere to make sure it’s got a full charge. If the flash drive or SD card doesn’t work with this speaker just do this: 1) Copy all your music files over to your laptop. 2) Format the flash drive or SD card as a FAT32 filesystem. 3) Copy your music files back to the flash dive or SD card. That’ll usually work — though of course you’re probably buying it for the Bluetooth. Once you’ve done that, just carry it everywhere that’s appropriate for loud music and stick it on the charger before you hit the sack because this tiny little speaker delivers big sound without a lot of distortion.
It’s fun, it’s cheap, and the top includes some pretty basic controls (volume and “skip track”) that are big enough to be easy to push even if you’re wearing gloves. Yes you can get speaker strips that the seller claims are the same product, but if you want to stand out, get the cube. Inputs include a micro-USB port and 3.5mm audio cable. If you crank this to full volume, be prepared for a nosedive in the battery life, but playing at about medium volume can stretch the battery to about 8-12 hours. If you don’t care, though, you can play the 1812 Overture at full volume and the cannons will come through loud and clear. Material quality is very good for a cheap Bluetooth speaker. Audiophiles might nitpick, but hey, you’re spending $25 on a Bluetooth enabled speaker to take with you to the ballpark or the beach volleyball tournament. You can charge it with a normal phone charging cord, so no need to worry about forgetting a special charger for this speaker. If you have other people in the house, you might want to buy multiples of these or you’ll be fighting over it whenever you and the family are scattering to two or three different locations.
Karnotech® Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Built-in Mic
If you look at it edgewise and squint, you might think it’s a Borg Cube. Nope, it’s just a speaker that is more likely to assimilate sound than assimilate you. You’ll know it’s starting up when you see the flashing light and hear the startup sound. (I love the colors of the flashing light. It looks creepy in a cool way and even more Borg-like.) It comes with a USB charging cable and AUX cable. It’s also microSD-compatible and has FM radio capacity. Max volume is LOUD, so be prepared if you don’t remember what you had the volume set to the last time you used it. Songs tend to sound much clearer if you don’t crank the volume. You can pause the music, go forward or back a song, and increase or decrease volume using controls on the rubberized feet. It can be turned into a speakerphone, but it doesn’t seem to function very well as such and you might sound all distant and staticky to the person on the other end. The radio just works. To get the most out of this, though, place it on your desk in your office and connect your iPod through Bluetooth. This will definitely get a second look from co-workers who like your style.
Music Angel JH-FD19 Levitating Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speakers
“Friggin’ cool!” I know, right? This one is for people who want a Bluetooth speaker that is anything but discreet. It might be a bit pricier than other options, but you’re paying for both the awesome look and the awesome sound. The ball levitates as it delivers awesome 3D surround sound. It can be tricky to find the perfect spot for it to actually levitate, but once you do, try not to bump it because, trust me, this is awesome. Both the ball and the base light up with an LED glow that makes it look out of this world. It has five lighting options and can be turned off if you prefer. You do have to make sure it’s fully charged before you try connecting a Bluetooth device, but that’s not a major con if you’re buying this as a gift for kids that are gonna want to be gathered around this nifty speaker for hours anyway whenever they host a party with friends.