Bluetooth Speakers

The Allented Mr Ripley

holden
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Oct 2, 2003
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Tell me about 'em. Looking for something to play streaming music from my laptop or phone. Sound quality is certainly a consideration, but at home I can jack my devices directly into my receiver when I care about fidelity; the bluetooth speaker will be used out on my deck, or taken with me on vacations, etc. I'm willing to pay up to $150 if it's worth it, but if a bargain can be had, I'm all for it. Any thoughts?
 

Corsi

isn't shy about blowing his wad early
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Dec 3, 2010
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I have the Creative D80.  Sells for ~$40 on Amazon.  Sound quality won't blow you away, but it's decent.  Easy to use and reliable.  The D80 runs needs to be plugged in, but the D100 (~$45-$50) can run on battery.
 
Both units have very positive reviews.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Wireless-Bluetooth-Speaker-Black/dp/B004X28I0A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389709911&sr=8-1&keywords=bluetooth+speakers+creative+d80
 
http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Wireless-Bluetooth-Speaker-Limited/dp/B00GDF7AT0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389709856&sr=8-2&keywords=bluetooth+speakers+creative+d100
 
edit: Probably a bit too big to take on vacations, but definitely small enough to take out to the deck.  A Jawbone JAMBOX is probably your best bet for portability.
 

jercra

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Jul 31, 2006
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I have the JBL Flip (not the Flip 2 but the original).  I bought it after someone came to my house with one and I was blown away with how great it was for how small it was.  There is a Flip 2 but it's apparently not as good, sound-wise, as the original.
 

IpswichSox

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Jul 14, 2005
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Seconded for the Flip.  I have one here at the office and also have one at home that my wife mostly uses for parties on the deck etc. Easy to use and set up, nice battery life, no dropped signals.  I think it also comes in a bunch of colors, but I got both of mine in black.
 

InsideTheParker

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Jul 15, 2005
27,455
Pioneer Valley
Since you mentioned "laptop or phone," be sure that one speaker will work with both. I have a cheap one that works fine with my phone and tablet, but can't connect to my Dell laptop.
 

loshjott

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Dec 30, 2004
9,039
Silver Spring, MD
Not to hijack too much, but what is the relative benefit of bluetooth vs. wifi. If I want to keep my phone in my pocket while working around the house for a couple hours, walking from room to room, etc., also using the phone for other purposes, it seems like a bluetooth speaker wouldn't work but a wifi speaker would, just due to range.
 
Why opt for bluetooth over wifi?
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
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Jul 19, 2005
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Whatever you buy, make sure it has a recent version of bluetooth.  I think everything post 2.1 has improved pairing and eliminates the need to enter a pin.  Also, if your laptop doesn't have bluetooth embedded, you can add a cheap USB dongle so you don't have to plug it in.
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
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Jul 19, 2005
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loshjott said:
Not to hijack too much, but what is the relative benefit of bluetooth vs. wifi. If I want to keep my phone in my pocket while working around the house for a couple hours, walking from room to room, etc., also using the phone for other purposes, it seems like a bluetooth speaker wouldn't work but a wifi speaker would, just due to range.
 
Why opt for bluetooth over wifi?
 
Portability.  If you want to take this with you to the beach or camping all you need is your phone and the speaker.
 

johnmd20

figuratively like ebola
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Dec 30, 2003
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Small Jambox would be ideal for your purposes. Powerful, great sound, phenomenal battery, and in your price range. And you can pair it easily with bluetooth or use the enclosed male to male cable.  It is ideal for the beach because it is very light.
 
The Big Jambox is 300 bucks and it is powerful enough for a party but that isn't nearly as portable or cheap.
 

zenter

indian sweet
SoSH Member
Oct 11, 2005
5,641
Astoria, NY
I was gifted a Jambox a couple years back. Love it - good fidelity and loud sound. Pretty good for speakerphone, too. The annoying thing is the noises it makes when adjusting volume, battery low. I turned off the voice, but this couldn't be changed. Not a huge deal, but an annoyance.
 
I know there are other great options out there, but if you can find a deal on Jambox, you'd be in good shape. (Can't speak to Mini or Big version.)
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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I got the UE BOOM for Christmas. They're pretty awesome for the size. Might be over your budget though.   


Seconding this, I think it sounds much better than the jambox. The water resistant casing is nice, too.
 

RSN Diaspora

molests goats for comedy
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Jul 29, 2005
7,235
Washington, DC
The Allented Mr Ripley said:
Tell me about 'em. Looking for something to play streaming music from my laptop or phone. Sound quality is certainly a consideration, but at home I can jack my devices directly into my receiver when I care about fidelity; the bluetooth speaker will be used out on my deck, or taken with me on vacations, etc. I'm willing to pay up to $150 if it's worth it, but if a bargain can be had, I'm all for it. Any thoughts?
 
If you're willing to go a bit higher than $150, the foxL Platinum speaker that I just got for Christmas is amazing. Their aptX Bluetooth is a little less expensive at $199, and probably just as good.
 
If you want to go more budget, I have the Logitech Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, and it does a very good job. Plus, it's shaped like a boom box, so you can go all Lloyd Dobler if you feel like it.
 

SocrManiac

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Apr 15, 2006
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Somers, CT
I've been refraining from commenting as I actually have a knife in this fight, but at least check out the Bose Soundlink Mini. There's nothing that will touch it that size for sound quality.
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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If the best sound at the $199 price point and similar size is what you want, the SOEN Transit blows the competition out of the water.    Bose's typically* shitty sound quality is no different in the bluetooth arena, IMO--the Soundlink Mini is pretty competent only in the low bass ranges, but gets pretty muddled in the mids and trebles.
 
I'd go with the UE Boom or Jambox unless I really wanted the SOEN's sound quality--they're not focused as much on the best sound (though both sound better than the Soundlink Mini, IMO, unless your music is unrelentingly bass-heavy), but they have over twice the battery life of the SOEN and Bose offerings and offer better 360 degree sound (nice if you are listening somewhere where you don't need to crank it too loud, you can just plop it on the table between everyone and still get okay sound).  And the UE in particular has a much more rugged design.
 
 
*But not universally: some of their car stereo systems are very good deals
 

86spike

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SocrManiac said:
I've been refraining from commenting as I actually have a knife in this fight, but at least check out the Bose Soundlink Mini. There's nothing that will touch it that size for sound quality.
 
I bought one of these at Xmas.  It is fucking sweet.
 

TFP

Dope
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Dec 10, 2007
18,323
I have the Big Jambox and absolutely love it, my girlfriend has the mini Jambox and also loves it. Can't speak to the regular Jambox but I imagine it would be more than capable for your needs. 
 

Domer

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Apr 21, 2010
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02148
I've been thinking about purchasing a portable bluetooth speaker for the past week or so. One thing I noticed was that the Jawbone Jambox has an abnormally high amount of one and two-star reviews on Amazon. When it works, it gets rave reviews on its sound quality, but it also seems to have some serious quality control issues backed up by poor customer service from the company.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004E10KI8
 

nolasoxfan

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Jun 11, 2004
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foulkehampshire said:
I got the UE BOOM for Christmas. They're pretty awesome for the size. Might be over your budget though.   
I am about to purchase the UE Boom mini for use @ home & office.  Best Buy has them @ $89.00 USD, which seems like a fairly low cost option.
 
Note:  portability is key for me, thus the focus on smaller bluetooth options.
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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nolasoxfan said:
I am about to purchase the UE Boom mini for use @ home & office.  Best Buy has them @ $89.00 USD, which seems like a fairly low cost option.
 
Note:  portability is key for me, thus the focus on smaller bluetooth options.
 
I have the boom mini, too.  It's not near the sound quality of the bigger options, but it's nice for what it is--easy to toss in the travel bag, and gives you passable sound on the go.  Very nice to have in the hotel room or whatever.
 

FullaPoloni

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Jul 15, 2005
111
South Shore, MA
Woot.com has a woot-off going on right now with Pyle bluetooth speakers.  I can't speak to their quality and they switch deals every couple of hours.
 

OfTheCarmen

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Jul 18, 2007
3,690
Got my wife the Bose mini for xmas, she loves it.  I think it sounds perfectly fine, and the convenience is great.
 
I'm certainly not a crazy audiophile, so there may be nuances that I'm missing but it's a great little piece of equipment in my mind.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Dec 9, 2003
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Auburn, MA
OfTheCarmen said:
Got my wife the Bose mini for xmas, she loves it.  I think it sounds perfectly fine, and the convenience is great.
 
I'm certainly not a crazy audiophile, so there may be nuances that I'm missing but it's a great little piece of equipment in my mind.
 
I got one this summer before my vacation. Love the battery life. Can't recall one time I have had it run out of juice. 
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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Vinho Tinto said:
 
I got one this summer before my vacation. Love the battery life. Can't recall one time I have had it run out of juice. 
The UE and Jambox both have about twice the battery life that the Bose and Soen do.
 

vintage'67

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Jul 15, 2005
324
This deal is over but will likely be back, so I'll pass this along:  we got this for our bathroom and so far it's been great.  Sounds seems pretty good for the price, but our listening environment does not place a premium on sound quality.
 

crystalline

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Oct 12, 2009
5,713
JP
I've had terrible luck using Bluetooth speakers (a Big Jambox) with Android and with a Mac; popping and clicking galore even when physically close.
In contrast AirPlay works great when tethered to an Airport via an audio cable, and I have no good wireless options for Android.
 
I've basically given up on bluetooth audio streaming.  (Any suggestions would be welcome.)