Bluetooth Speaker Reviews

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Michael Berk  |  Jun 28, 2012  |  0 comments

Another week, another exciting new line of Bluetooth portable products. This time around, the name behind the speaker is Braven (the company formerly known as Spar), who recently announced three new full-featured models in the Six series. We of course couldn't resist calling in the company's flagship, the $189.99 Braven 650, for a look.

Brent Butterworth  |  Apr 25, 2012  |  0 comments

I don’t want to call Paul Barton a brilliant speaker designer, because that might imply that he lucks into occasional flashes of inspiration. No, Barton — founder and chief engineer of PSB Speakers — succeeds because he does the complicated and time-consuming work of building his products using the best science and engineering available. He doesn’t base his design decisions on pet theories, casual observations, or the latest line of B.S. circulating among online audio forums. And to my knowledge, he’s never allowed market trends, cosmetics, or form factors to ruin the sound of his products.

This is why I was so excited to find out last year that Barton was designing a new iPhone/iPod Touch dock for NAD, PSB’s sister brand.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jun 11, 2013  |  0 comments

Thanks to the runaway success of the Jawbone Jambox, it seems most of the new Bluetooth speakers coming out are cute little things that can barely muster enough volume to hear in the next room.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 21, 2013  |  0 comments

Compact Bluetooth speakers are all small enough to toss into a suitcase-but they're not all tough enough to survive the trip. But I knew the Braven BRV-1 was different when I first pulled it out of its package.

With rubber bumpers covering most of its surface, rubber control buttons, and a bolted-on perfed metal grille, it looked tough enough that I could toss it onto the wooden floor of my office. So I did. Not necessarily a smart thing to do with a review sample, but when I went to mate my Samsung G3S phone with the BRV-1, everything worked just fine. I repeated the demo for my fellow Tech^2 blogger Geoff Morrison and frequent West Coast headphone tester Will Huff, and the BRV-1's still working, still not showing a scratch.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 28, 2013  |  0 comments

I've dreamed of a bicycle sound system for years. I've tried several, even jury-rigged a few of my own, but always ended up discarding them 'cause they sounded lousy, fell apart, or were just a hassle to deal with. But two trends might make decent cycle-sound systems possible.

First there's Bluetooth, which lets you stream MP3s, Internet radio, and podcasts from your smartphone. Then there's the recent explosion in relatively high-quality miniature sound systems like the Soundmatters FoxL and the Jawbone Jambox.

The $99 NYNE Multimedia NB-200 is one of the first Bluetooth speakers designed specifically for cycling. Its driver layout-two 1.5-inch drivers with a 3- by 1.5-inch passive radiator-is somewhat similar to that of a FoxL. While you can get a bike mount for the FoxL, the NB-200 was designed from scratch as a bike speaker. The enclosure has slots that match up with a couple of handlebar clips.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jul 09, 2012  |  0 comments

The original Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker has won raves from us and seemingly everyone else who reviews portable audio gear. That’s partly because of the Jambox’s great sound, partly because of its cool industrial design, and partly because of its flashy programmable features. But even the most shameless marketing guy wouldn’t say the Jambox’s 1.25-inch drivers rock.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 07, 2012  |  0 comments

If you’ve ever tried to jazz up a party with the speaker built into your iPhone, you know how pathetic that can sound. These days, everyone is coming out with portable speaker systems (don’t call them boomboxes!) for MP3 players, but they all require one thing: Power. Now, we all love power, but AC power isn’t always available where we want to party (eg. poolside or the beach).

Brent Butterworth  |  Aug 22, 2013  |  0 comments

One thing about capitalism: If you're successful, people will immediately copy what you're doing.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 28, 2013  |  0 comments

Hey, who decided we should adjust volume by pushing buttons instead of turning a knob? Whether you have to push the button repeatedly, or push, hold, and wait to hit the right volume, is that really easier than twisting a knob? No, it's not. Unfortunately, I know of only one Bluetooth speaker maker who realizes this: Native Union.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 19, 2013  |  0 comments

It’s that time of year again. Birds are singing, the sun is shining, temperatures are warming, and people are starting to move outdoors again. (Okay, fine, I know I live in Miami, but really, I feel your pain, Buffalo!)  When I go outdoors, I love taking my music with me. JBL has two new products designed to take music to new locales, both indoors and out.

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