Bluetooth wireless speakers are everywhere today. I remember not too long ago when the options where limited and more importantly they weren’t any weatherproof options. I like to listen to music in the shower, at the beach, by the pool side, outdoors at a picnic, just about anywhere I can get it, and I’m sure loads of people also do. Thankfully we live in a time where options abound, but with loads of options come the difficulty of knowing what to buy that suits each individual need.
Thankfully that’s what we’re here for. The following are a couple of recommended wireless speakers that’ll meet not just most of your criteria but leave you with some change in your pocket.
JBL Flip 3
The JBL is a known name in the world of sound entertainment and have proved time without number that sound engineering is their forte. The Flip 3 another installment in the flip series comes with much improvement in comparison to the older models.
With an 8 watt amplified sound thumping from two drivers and two radiators. It gives you solid bass production, smooth fluid mid-ranges and an astonishing high and treble, as long as it isn’t pushed to the very maximum. It however overall gives you solid, smooth and enjoyable sound even for its otherwise lower price (You’ll definitely be getting more than your money’s worth)
It comes in a variety of 8 colours and is now splash-proof. The on board controls are slightly tweaked to have multi-functional purposes like the answer/end button doubling as a pause/play button. With built in noise and echo cancellation it can be used as a speakerphone to receive calls clearly. A new feature is the JBL Connect button and the JBL free app available for free on iOS and Android. This connectivity allows link up with multiple JBL connect enabled speakers. You can also pair up to three devices at once and listen to music on one device while receiving calls on another.
Using Bluetooth 4.1 it allows connection up to a distance of 30meters and can be stretched to 50 in a direct line with no obstruction. It also shuts down automatically when not used after 30mins or switches to stand-by mode if plugged in.
If you are in the market for a compact speaker and are also looking to save considerable money, this is it.
Minirig bluetooth speaker
The minirig has been in the market for quite a while, but it remains one of the better Bluetooth wireless speakers on the market. That only aids its credentials further. The minirig comes as a mono speaker but has capabilities for stereo sound when you connect another unit; you can connect up to 10 singular units and also a sub-woofer which is sold separately.
As a single unit it comes in a cylindrical shaped tube with thick aluminium covering which is topped by a metal mesh grill. This design allows large 3inch speakers to be fitted allowing for a fuller and deeper bass response. The minirig is built like a brick made to take a bashing and provides quality fluid sound for years of entertainment.
It comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and two 3.5mm jack ports and also features APTx which improves clarity when streaming giving CD like quality. There is a single control button which has multiple functions; it serves as a power button, and when the device is turned off you can also use this to check the level of the battery (lights up with five different colours to indicate how much juice is left in its tanks). It also serves as the control for high gain and low gain mode which is used to decide on high volume or low volume as at when required. It has no pause, play, skip or volume controls buttons.
The second most impressive feature about the minirig asides the fluidity or clarity of its sound is the battery life. Boasting 50 hours of battery life on moderate use, the minirig has been shown to last for 35+ hours with extensive usage on high volume.
Although, a bit pricey when compared to others on this list the minirig only shows that sometimes adding a few extra bucks for quality and functionality is a small price to pay.
The Envaya comes with dual 40mm full range drivers and a 40 x 83mm passive radiator. The speaker comes available in 2 colours; black and blue trimmings or in white with orange fabric underneath. It doesn’t come with a wall charger as the others in this list and is only water resistant as against others that are water proof (coming in at an iPX4 rating) which indicates splashes and not full submersion. It doesn’t appear like it but the envaya is the size of a small hand weight, sturdy and made to last.It comes with physical buttons positioned on the right side, four buttons which serve for volume control, power, a play/pause button ad a battery indicator, which lights up with different colours to signal level of battery life.
What makes the envaya one of the best picks? Asides from having an integrated microphone with noise cancelling capabilities, which enables speakerphone functionality, it also allows up to eight Bluetooth connections simultaneously(mind-blown) It then comes with advanced “MaxxAudio” technology which is studio-quality sound processing technology (did I mention that it won a technical Grammy Award)
The speaker supports NFC(Near Field Communication) for easy pairing and Apt-X (CD Quality for streaming audio).
The design of the speakers puts the envaya on par with some of its contemporaries in higher price brackets with the bass radiator placed at the rear of the speaker resulting in far more bass quantity when you require it. The treble has quite appreciable definitions and good texturing. It produces a rich, pulsing sound even at low volumes through the use of volume compensation.
Overall it’s an affordable, well designed speaker with a punchy sound and produces a stellar audio performance for all your listening needs. The lack of a wall charger cable might be a let-down for some but asides that the quality of sound on display is a definite turn on which overshadows everything else.
UE Boom 2
The UE Boom 2 is the second of its type, an upgrade of its predecessor the UE Boom; it comes packing a punch ready to make its claim in the Bluetooth speaker world. It promises and delivers a 360-degree soundstage effect. Thanks to its two 1.75inch drivers and 3inch passive radiators.
Coming cylindrically shaped like the UE boom, it is stain-resistant, shock resistant and more importantly comes with an iPX7 rating allowing immersion up to 1m for 30minutes. Unlike its predecessor it is fully waterproof. It comes in six exciting colour palettes.
A new added feature is its gesture controls, which work by taping the top of the speaker to pause your music or double-tap to skip a track forward, and three times to go backwards (this can only be achieved with you holding the speaker in your hands).
Also, the UE has an app (available on iOS and Android) which can be used to update the speaker’s firmware over the air. This can also be used to turn the speaker on and off. More importantly, the new app supports Block Party, a feature that allows up to two people nearby to connect to it via Bluetooth and play a track. With the app you can unlock a few extra features such as equalizer control, syncing seamlessly with another UE speaker and even the old boom, also can function as an alarm clock which was featured on the older version as well.
The UE Boom2 boasts of 15hrs battery life at moderate volumes, and 100 feet Bluetooth connectivity but only in a direct line of sight with no obstructions. It does however give you good quality booming sound thanks to its adaptable features through the app and comes at a reasonable price when considering the quality of sound it offers with the added iPX7 rating. It’s definitely more than a standard Bluetooth speaker, and deserves a place on this list.
The first thing of note about the Fugoo before even experiencing its expansive sound capabilities is its otherwise drab look (this is my opinion). The good news for those that agree with me is that it comes with a jacket (the style, sporty or tough). Each jacket gives the Fugoo a distinctive look. The Fugoo design is as intricate as can be; equipped with mounting holes, which accommodate accessories which include a bike mount, strap mount and multi-mount.
The Fugoo comes with six speakers, six acoustic drivers made up of two tweeters, two woofers and two passive radiators; there is a tweeter and passive radiator on each of its end. This produces the omnidirectional sound that not many in its range possess. The speakers are tilted upward by about 8 degrees adding to better sound dispersion. This ensures impressive sound quality with good balance layered with mids and highs that don’t distort. Fugoo says its Core-X technology is the secret sauce that makes it all come together, transmitting music files through the speaker to the digital signal processor (DSP) without degradation. The in-built DSP cuts out background noises and wind.
Although it isn’t as loud as some of its contemporaries, it delivers a crisp, smooth and warm textured sound. A firmware update is available which includes a loud mode, which actually increases its overall sound.
Sound quality aside the Fugoo comes with an IP67 rating, which makes it not just waterproof but mud-proof, shock proof (it is able to survive a spill from 6feet) snow-proof and dust proof. Provided with a micro-USB port and a 3.5mm port each of which the appropriate cables are shipped along with the speaker.
The Fugoo combines quality sounds with quality features , a voice prompt is noticed when devices are connected or removed , a virtual prompt is also noticed when the power button is pushed with an array of LED lights. There’s an in-built microphone and echo cancellation for hands free calls and also full support for Siri and Google Now activated by holding down the O button. The Fugoo has basic playback controls, a power button and volume up and down controls placed on the top of its core/jackets.
Another fun accessory is the Fugoo remote which can be strapped to your wrist or worn on a lanyard, with Siri/Google Now /Cortana support. It is also waterproof. (Note: the Fugoo accessories are not inclusive asides the one jacket it ships with)
It’s advertised to run for 40, but this is realised only if you cut the volume in half. The battery life runs for roughly 20 hours at a loud volume, this is still above and beyond most other wireless speakers on the market and is a great point of note in the case of the Fugoo.
The great thing about the Fugoo, it’s affordable, delivers soft, warm and clear sound, is weatherproof and a great speaker overall. If you’re active or “outdoorsy” this will be handy for all your activities, be it in the winter or in the summer time.
This is the end of the first part of this series; look out for the concluding section