Portable & Mobile Speakers Buying Guide

The quality of sound coming out of portable and mobile speakers can be quite astonishing. Such big audio from such a small speaker! Here's how you can maximise that audio by choosing the right portable or mobile speaker for your individual needs.

Bluetooth equals easy connection

Most of the portable and mobile speakers on the market connect through Bluetooth. Thanks to the simple method of pairing a Bluetooth-enabled device with a Bluetooth-enabled speaker, making a quick connection is relatively easy. You should be able to play your favourite tunes in no time at all. With many Bluetooth speakers, music files are compressed and this can lead to a slight reduction in sound quality according to those who are really serious about their music. But for most of us, the quality of portable and mobile Bluetooth speakers is now so good that the music we hear coming through them sounds just fine.

The fullness and flexibility of Wi-Fi sound

Speakers that operate as part of a Wi-Fi network, such as Sonos speakers, stream uncompressed music, a major selling point for audiophiles. Wi-Fi speakers also offer great flexibility, thanks to the advantages of networking. One song can be played on all the speakers in the house, or different songs can be played on individual speakers in each room. Two speakers in close proximity can even be used as a left/right channel for a striking stereo effect. Of course, you need to connect to a network, which can be more time consuming than Bluetooth pairing, but the resulting flexibility and sound make that time well spent.

Durability is a factor

Look for a well-built speaker, tough enough to handle the bumps of a road trip and the rigours of a wild party. Strong outer casing should protect the more delicate components inside, so take note of speakers that provide protective housing, and check what the warranty covers while you're at it.

Wireless and waterproof

If you're planning to use your speaker at the beach, or by the pool, you should consider buying speakers that are splashproof, or even waterproof. Speakers are not born equal when it comes to these factors, so look for ones that are made to be used in a waterside environment.

Long play battery life

Taking a speaker away from its comfort zone - that is, the nearest power point - requires good battery life. When you're by the pool, at the beach, or near the barbecue, you want your speaker to keep pumping out the music for hours on end. Consider how far away from power points you'll be when using your speaker, and seek out one with excellent battery performance.

Low cost can be high quality

High-quality audio equipment has a history of high price tags. This is not so much the case with mobile and portable speakers, thanks to increasing competition in the marketplace. While the more expensive models will deliver superior sound, longer battery life and a wider range of features, you can still enjoy decent quality from a low-cost speaker, which broadens your purchasing options, particularly if you're on a budget. 

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