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How To Choose A Bluetooth Portable Speaker

Today’s smartphones are portable music powerhouses – there are services such as the MUVE music service that’s bundled with RadioShack No Contract phones, or Spotify for other phones, that allow you to enjoy unlimited access to millions of songs, right from your phone, no computer needed. However, when it comes to sharing all that music, the built-in speakers in most of today’s smartphones leaves much to be desired. Thus, we’ve seen a big trend towards small, portable speakers that connect to your phone via Bluetooth, without needing any cumbersome wires. There are a several different Bluetooth speakers out there, and it can be tough to determine which one is best for you.

At RadioShack, we want to help you get the right Bluetooth speaker, so below you’ll find some of the top Bluetooth portable speakers, along with the differences, to help you make the right choice when it comes to your portable party.

 

Full Size Portable Speakers

One of the most popular styles of Bluetooth portable speakers is the ‘block’ style, named for its form factor. These speakers typically contain multiple stereo speakers for maximum output and are great for a small outdoor get together, such as a pickup basketball game or pool party. These block-style speakers obviously connect to your phone via Bluetooth, but can typically also connect with a 3.5mm auxiliary cable, for things like an iPod or other MP3 player that may not have Bluetooth built-in.

AUVIO Bluetooth Portable Speaker

 

AUVIO Bluetooth Portable Speaker

AUVIO Bluetooth Portable Speaker

This speaker contains two speakers and with a total output of 4W total (2W per speaker), with a frequency response of 100MHz-16KHz. It also has a built-in microphone, so you can use it as a speakerphone, and there are music playback buttons on the top, so you can easily pause your music, adjust the volume, or skip to the next track. These buttons also allow you to answer and end phone calls, if you’ve got it to connected to your phone. The internal battery should provide up to 6 hours of continuous music and it recharges with the included USB cable.

Soundfreaq SFQ-04 Sound Kick Bluetooth Speaker

Soundfreaq Sound Kick

Soundfreaq Sound Kick

The Soundfreaq Sound Kick has a boxy style, and includes some extra audio features, including their UQ3 spatial enhancement and XKICK chamber, which collapses for easy travel, but pops open to provide more full sound quality (and also serves as a stand). This speaker has gotten rave reviews from various tech blogs, and has a built-in speaker for up to 7 hours of continuous music, as well.

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Wireless Speaker

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill

The Beats by Dr. Dre Pill is unique in that it looks like…well….a pill. The Pill features four speakers, capable of outputting incredible of sound. It also features heavy bass support, as most Beats by Dr. Dre audio products do. You can use the Pill as a speakerphone, but note that there are only volume buttons on this speaker – all other controls, including answering and ending phone calls, must be done from your phone. The Pill also has a built-in battery, which should offer up to 7 hours of continuous jams.

 JBL Flip Portable Speaker

JBL Flip

JBL Flip

The JBL Flip is shaped like a big soda can, and has two drivers capable of outputting 5W each, for 10W of total sound. It also has a built-in bass port, so it should sound great no matter what type of music you’re enjoying. Like the AUVIO and the Pill, the JBL Flip can also function as a speakerphone, with a built-in microphone. It does have a volume rocker and call answer/end button, as well, which is handy. The Flip’s internal battery is rated for 5 hours of continuous music, as well.

 

Smaller pop-up speakers

The only downside to the larger ‘block’ style speakers can be their size – they don’t really fit well in a small bag and can get cumbersome to carry around with you. That’s where these smaller ‘pocket-sized’ portable speakers come in. These speakers are typically a similar size to a hockey puck, and are extremely easy to carry around. With this smaller size, though, comes a small sacrifice in volume – these speakers are better suited for a quiet room or other small area. They do typically offer better sound than your phone’s built-in speaker, which is why they’re really popular.

AUVIO Expandable Bluetooth Speaker

AUVIO Expandable Bluetooth Speaker

AUVIO Expandable Bluetooth Speaker

These smaller speakers, such as the AUVIO Expandable Bluetooth Speaker, typically have a single speaker, which is part of the reason for the lower volume output. This particular speaker has a functional design – expanding the speaker turns it on and activates the Bluetooth connection. It has a built-in rechargeable battery as well, but with a shorter play time at only 3 hours. The AUVIO Expandable Bluetooth Speaker connects to your phone via Bluetooth, but also has an auxiliary input port, for devices that don’t have Bluetooth, such as an iPod.

JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth-Enabled Speaker

JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

This little speaker is shaped like a coaster, with a convenient handle at the top. You can use this to attach the speaker to your belt or a backpack, for easy portability. Like it’s big brother, the JBL Flip, this little speaker has a built-in bass port, and it can be daisy-chained, or connected to other JBL Micro Wireless speakers, to help amplify the sound. The JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth-Enabled Speaker connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and it also comes with a cable to connect it to other devices that may not have Bluetooth available. The built-in battery should provide up to 5 hours of continuous music before needing to be recharged.

When you need to share your music, RadioShack is here to help, and we’ve got a selection of different options, based on where you’ll be using your speaker and the things you expect to do with it.

Leave a comment below and tell us which one would work best for YOU!

We’ll pick 5 random commenters to get the speaker of their choosing!

One comment/entry per person. To enter, leave a comment below, telling us which speaker would work best for you. Contest begins at 8:00 am CT on March 4th, 2013 and ends at 11:59 pm CT on March 30th, 2013. Winner will be chosen randomly by RadioShack and announced after 12:00 pm CT on April 5th, 2013. Winners will be contacted via email and will each receive 1 speaker of their choosing from the list above. No substitutions for prizes.

No payment or purchase necessary to win. Neither a purchase nor payment will improve your chances of winning. While you’re pretty cool in our book, you are not a winner of this contest yet. Void where prohibited. Must be a resident of the 50 United States to win. Employees of RadioShack and their families are ineligible.

Comments

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34 Comments

  • Jade

    Because it has big sound in a small package, I think tghe Soundfreaq Sound Kick would work best for me.

  • Rob

    The AUVIO Bluetooth Portable Speaker because it has great sound, controls on unit and great price point compared to other out there.

  • Angela K. Ulrich

    Beats by Dr. Dre Pill – The extra bass support really appeals to me.

  • Lewis F

    If money was no object I would say the Beats by Dr. Dre would be my choice. Otherwise the value speaker is the Soundfreaq SFQ-04 Sound Kick.

  • Dwayne

    I like the JBL flip

  • Ashley Randall

    The JBL with 10 watts of output for up to 5 hours looks like the best speaker to fill the room and keep the party going.

  • Erica

    The beats PILL! I love Beats!! I love that RadioShack sells beats!!

  • Evan

    Beats Pill to match the Beats Studios I just bought at The Shack!

  • Carolina Dhabolt

    I would love the Soundfreaq SFQ-04 or the Beats Pill since they can last up to 7hrs. Love my music!

  • Fred Harbold

    Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Wireless Speakers (Black)
    Is the best all around

  • Mike Check

    The JBL micro would be the ticket for me. I like to be able to crank my music to 11 just as much as the next person, but I’m on the go so much that having a wireless speaker that can brighten up my world would suit me much better than a pair of headphones.

  • Sean

    I like the Beats by Dr. Dre, I have seen it in stores,and have heard the Sound quality,very Good! It’s just right for setting up on my Desk,and listening to at anytime with any type of music or Talk Radio.

  • Diane Davies

    Way too cool- the Soundfreaq SFQ-04 Sound Kick is a perfect fit in my beach bag. Long enough battery life for a rockin day at the Jersey Shore.

  • Philip Rosenthal

    I purchased the Auvio Bluetooth Portable and I’m happy with it for in-home use. It quickly and easily pairs with both Apple products and Android. Outdoors where there is a lot of noise it doesn’t put out sufficient volume. I listened to the Beats Pill in a Radio Shack store and was very impressed. Good sound, very good volume and it paired very easily.

  • Fizz

    I would love The Pill. I have the Monster Beats earphones and love the products. I love bass and using the microphone feature would really be very helpful for my lifestyle. I’ve been interested in the larger one that’s part of this product line too!

  • That's It

    I would like to see a TV oriented sound system that is bluetooth capable (as well as the ability to be wired).

  • Vic

    The Soundfreaq sounds freaky good, for its great sound and battery life!

  • Richard

    We’ve come full circle — from boombox to personal sound to boombox. I’ll go for the Soundfreaq

  • alan r. coles

    JBL,micro best for me,put in my pocket.

  • Manlio Rivera

    I think the Flip Jbl portable sounds good for me cause is loud 10 wtts as portable device and I trust on Jbl technology sounds! for our lovely ears.

  • Tom

    Would love the Soundfreaq SFQ-04.

  • Jeff

    The Auvio block luetooth speakers are great for portable dvices such as phones, tablets,notebooks and mp3 pkayers because of their rich stereo sound. The features and sound sold me on purchasing them such as they can be used as a speaker phone.

  • Doug

    I think the best choice for me would be the Soundfreaq SFQ-04 Sound Kick Bluetooth® Speaker.

  • keith covell

    I would have to choose he JBL flip. JBL has never disapointed me.

  • Beverley Hissam

    The ….Soundfreaq SFQ-04 Sound Kick Bluetooth® Speaker would work best for me!

    Hope I win!

    Thanks.
    Bev

  • Eva Hayward

    I would be most apt to use the JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth-Enabled Speaker. I like the design and the size of this speaker would make it easier to take it anywhere.

  • Oscar Quijano

    The Pill of Beats by Dr.Dre is the choice for me. Great sound and battery life makes it the best out there for me.

  • Julius Obrusniak

    I am surprised that two other speakers that I own were not considered in this review. The Jambone ‘Jambox’ and athe ‘Matrix’ both of which have exceptional freq. response, power output, bluetooth, and battery life.

  • JR

    Beats – go for the bass.

  • Robin Mack

    I would go with the JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth-Enabled Speaker due to its versatility–Bluetooth and wired functionality; can be added to other speakers and has a rechargeable battery. I already have a portable block speaker and would like to try something different.

  • Richard Fisher

    The JBL has a neat sleek body, long battery life and can double as a phone speaker.

  • Kenia

    I <3 the Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Wireless Speaker. Just the right size and it lasts long too. They will be great to take anywhere. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Juan velez

    Hi i just wanna know whats better the jbl flip or the auvio portable speaker thanks

  • Alan Valenziano

    I think the AUVIO Expandable Bluetooth Speaker will works best for me. I love the design too.