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5 Cool Must-have Speaker Gadgets

by Salil Tembe2014/06/30

We all have portable media devices which we may use for listening to music or watching movies. Some watch movies on the go while travelling and often face the difficulty to hear the sound because of the outside noise and what not. If you watch movies on your tablet with a bunch of friends surrounding it, everyone will have some difficulty listening to the audio if inbuilt speakers are  used. If you often face such situations then having an external speaker with inbuilt amplifier is a must. I am going to review 5 cool must-have speaker gadgets that are out there on the market. It is going to be amazing to read, because couple of speakers I am listing down use the newest technology for wireless audio playback and I am sure you have not heard about it.

What I am going to list below is for those casual listeners who do not go on criticizing every small problem with the frequency response and other technical stuff. In short, these devices are not for audiophiles.

We will go from worst to best speakers with the number one at the bottom. For the ranking, I am considering bang-for-the-buck factor, that is, how much juice these speakers give out for the money you put in.

#5. PartyStarter Bluetooth Speaker

partystarter

Do you like some lights with your music? The PartyStarter comes with synchronized lights which dance with the music that’s being played. It is nothing that great, just a fancy addition. When you add LED lights to your product, the power consumption automatically goes up and this device is no exception. The battery lasts only 1.5 hours, at the most 2 hours. Of course that battery life I mentioned is when you keep the lights on. It lasts an hour longer if the lights are shut off. You can stream your music via Bluetooth connection and charge the battery via a USB port. In my point of view, it is just a fancy speaker which can be given as a Christmas present to someone. The main point here is, do the speakers perform good? Yes they do unless you are playing your music at full volume. The music listening experience was OK for casual listening. There were other devices I have used which were of the same form factor and they could shake good volume of air with lot of intensity. This speaker did not really reach up to that level. The music quality deteriorates when you use the speakers at maximum volume. It also does not have any bass. Buying this speaker was a major disappointment for me considering the price. The speaker is £24, considering it’s price and performanc the device gives the least bang-for-the-buck and hence, it is #5 on this list.

 

#4. iHome Cup holder Bluetooth speaker

ihome cup holder

Nicely designed cup shaped iHome bluetooth speaker connects wirelessly to any bluetooth enables device. It has easy pairing functionality, and you can stream music to it from over 30 feet. It comes with great features such as ARSR Trubass technology, 360 degree sound dispersion and call answer feature as well. It can be charged with a USB charging port and they also provide 3.5mm jack for audio input option. The device is just another bluetooth speaker with lot of meat packed in it. It reproduced bass very neatly unlike other devices mentioned here. There are control buttons on the top of the speakers to use call answer function, volume up/down and power. They have also given the option of travel lock which turns off the device completely with a physical switch to save every last bit of power. The only reason for making this go on number 4 is the price. It is available for £33 from Amazon, although there could be discounts on it to lower its price down. The build quality seems to be excellent with one exception. The charging port is not so well built and feels like it might break. Although the device is packed with awesome audio enhancement technologies, the sound volume is not that great. It does not go too high. To be precise, it goes a little bit louder than iPad. Overall, this device is great to be put in your cars or on your desk. It is priced at about £33.

 

#3. X-Mini ME – Portable Micro Speaker:

x-mini me

 Have you ever seen portable speakers the size of a golf ball and still able to cause an earthquake in the house? X-mini Me comes with dimensions of just 1 and 3 quarters of an inch by 1 and a half inch! They say it can get you kicked out of the club if you use it there and to verify their claims I actually tested it out (and I regret it). Okay, enough of sarcasm, you might have already got the point I am trying to express. This speaker has the strength to vibrate a good volume of air for the size it comes. Being so small it produces sound loud enough to hear even quiet dialogues in a movie that too on a busy street! You have to plugin the 3.5mm jack to play music. The speaker itself looks like a tiny camera lens with a firm rubbery feeling texture. They also provide you with a speaker cover which helps you avoid dust accumulation on the speaker.

The speaker has a great sound output quality for the working frequency range. The only down side being not able to reproduce bass properly. I would personally use this tiny speaker for watching movies rather than listening to music because of lack of bass. Another good thing is the 5 to 6 hours of battery life which should be enough for short flights or road trips. You can also charge it using your car charging adapter if you need to.

It is priced at just £17.99!

#2. Touch Speaker Boombox: 

touch speaker boombox

Yet another product featuring NearFA technology. A slightly bigger version of the Touch Speaker we reviewed above. This one features a single speaker unlike the one above. With Boombox you are definitely going to get mono output. The Touch Speaker Boombox being large, the bass sounds pretty decent. Dialogues in the movie is crystal clear and music is just as vibrant as it should be. It is a nice device to have during journeys and for listening music while doing homework, workout or however you might want to use. The only thing I did not like about the Boombox is it’s weird design which makes it a bit difficult to pack it in a bag. Touch Speaker mentioned at the #1 rank below easily fits in with other rectangular stuff in my bag, just like a mini lunch box! Priced at only £24.99

This speaker has all the good advantages of NearFA technology which includes no need of pairing and no need of using 3.5mm jack if you got a device with external speakers. I have noted down all the great things about NearFA technology in following text, so be sure to go ahead and read about it. Boombox has good frequency response. It could play bass intensive music and gave a decent listening experience. The battery life is pretty awesome, lasting for about 10 hours which makes it a great choice to have these speakers in a car. The only bad thing about them is the mono speaker. So, don’t expect stereo sound from this one.

 

#1. Touch Speaker:

touch speaker

For the number one device in this review, Touch speaker gives us the highest bang-for-the-buck. One of the most easy to use devices with plenty of battery life and decent audio output from its 2 high quality speakers. Now remember I was talking about the new technology? Here it is, Touch Speaker uses something called NearFA™ or Near Field Audio.

NearFA is a great technology where you just have to play music on your phone and place the device on the Touch Speaker.

No clutter of wires is the main advantage here. The gadget is designed to have a compact body. It works with any electronic device having external speakers. If your device does not have one, then you can always plug in your 3.5mm jack. One thing I liked about these speakers is long working duration with a single charge which proves to be good for long journeys. One might expect hissing sound from such cheap gadget, but I found there is no hissing sound whatsoever which is definitely a good thing.

Touch speaker is priced at £14.99

An in depth review about Touch Speakers will be put on this blog shortly, so stay tuned.

With this information, go ahead and make a decision to buy one of these cool must-have speaker gadgets. Devices mentioned here are chosen so as to give wireless audio streaming capability, good battery life and portability. People often face problem that their smart devices do not output enough sound, and that is when you start feeling the need to have one of these devices.

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About The Author
Salil Tembe
Salil is an electronics engineer who loves to play around with the technology. He has a passion for expressing his love for technology through writing. Also, he firmly stands for open sourcing everything that makes our lives better, so that it can get even better.

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