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What does it take to host the open air par­ty of the year? First of all, a great com­pa­ny, but you can’t do with­out a pow­er­ful blue­tooth speak­er. Yes, in gen­er­al, with it you can lis­ten to loud music any­where: on a walk, in a car, on a hike, on the beach. And at home, such a speak­er will come in handy — to ampli­fy the sound of a lap­top or smart­phone. Let’s look at mod­ern portable blue­tooth speak­ers, eval­u­ate their char­ac­ter­is­tics and choose the best one.

Pho­to: chicagovoices.com

Characteristics of portable speakers

In the top devices, we will eval­u­ate:

  • Design. The appear­ance of the col­umn should be mod­ern and styl­ish. In our rat­ing, some mod­els are equipped with light­ing effects, while oth­ers sim­ply have a cool design.
  • Frame. Ide­al­ly water­proof and impact resis­tant.
  • The weight. The lighter the speak­er, the eas­i­er it is to car­ry around.
  • Sound. Audio qual­i­ty is, of course, sub­jec­tive. But we will look at the fre­quen­cy range and how the device han­dles the play­back of tracks.
  • Auton­o­my. A good portable speak­er will have enough charge for 12 or more hours of oper­a­tion. And the more mod­ern the Blue­tooth ver­sion, the bet­ter it will com­mu­ni­cate with your smart­phone.
  • Addi­tion­al func­tions. Dif­fer­ent mod­els of speak­ers have a micro­phone, a 3.5 mm jack and oth­er chips.

top bluetooth speakers

Digma S‑32

The body of the Dig­ma S‑32 is dec­o­rat­ed with LED lights that change col­or to the beat of the music. Pho­to: youtube.com

Portable col­umn Dig­ma is made of rub­ber­ized plas­tic. All con­trol but­tons are locat­ed on the top of the device. Dig­ma is small and weighs 300 grams, it is con­ve­nient to take it with you — it even has a hook for a lace. The case is not water-repel­lent, so if it starts to rain, run to save the col­umn.

Dig­ma has stereo sound and repro­duces fre­quen­cies in the range of 75–15000 Hz. At the upper lim­it, the col­umn rat­tles, but it stays sta­ble on the sur­face. The over­all vol­ume is low.

The col­umn works up to 15 hours with­out recharg­ing at medi­um vol­ume, it can also run on bat­ter­ies. The Dig­ma S‑32 has an input for a mem­o­ry card, an FM radio mod­ule, a micro­phone and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Design: 4/5
Body: 3/5
Weight: 5/5
Sound: 2/5
Auton­o­my: 5/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 5/5
Aver­age score: 4/5

JBL GO 3

In addi­tion to the red ver­sion, JBL GO 3 has 11 more col­ors. Pho­to: rtings.com

The JBL GO 3 speak­er sys­tem is a portable device with a rub­ber­ized loop for attach­ment. Thanks to it and the low weight of the col­umn (only 200 grams), it is con­ve­nient to wear it on your fin­ger. The case is made of plas­tic and is pro­tect­ed from water.

On the case there are but­tons for vol­ume con­trol, pause and on / off. With a fre­quen­cy range of 110–20,000 Hz and a mono chan­nel, JBL sounds loud and clear. It has pow­er­ful bass and high-qual­i­ty high fre­quen­cies. After a full charge cycle, it works for 5 hours, syn­chro­niz­ing with the play­back device via Blue­tooth 5.1. The speak­er has a built-in micro­phone.

Design: 5/5
Body: 5/5
Weight: 5/5
Sound: 5/5
Auton­o­my: 4/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 3/5
Aver­age score: 4.5/5

Hyundai H‑PAC520

Hyundai H‑PAC520 is made in the form of a tablet, with a plas­tic body and black or blue den­im fab­ric. Pho­to: quke.ru

The speak­er from Hyundai is a com­pact portable speak­er. The con­trol but­tons are locat­ed on the side pan­el, and the strap is also fixed there. The col­umn is pro­tect­ed from dust and mois­ture, it is very light and weighs about 200 grams. In a word, Hyundai H‑PAC520 is designed specif­i­cal­ly for walk­ing and trav­el­ing.

The col­umn is syn­chro­nized via Blue­tooth 5.0 and works up to 9 hours with­out recharg­ing. The sound qual­i­ty in the fre­quen­cy range of 90–20000 Hz is high, the bass is not too promi­nent. Addi­tion­al­ly, the col­umn has a 3.5 mm audio out­put, FM radio and a microUSB card slot up to 32 GB.

Design: 5/5
Body: 5/5
Weight: 5/5
Sound: 4/5
Auton­o­my: 4/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 5/5
Aver­age score: 4.6/5

Sharp GX-BT280

The col­umn tube is avail­able in black, red and blue, and there are no addi­tion­al design effects. Pho­to: technuovo.com

The Sharp GX-BT280 col­umn is made of plas­tic and pro­tect­ed from mois­ture. There are only three but­tons on it: adjust the vol­ume up / down and play. Sharp weighs 400 grams, and it is not very com­fort­able to wear due to the lack of fas­ten­ing.

The GX-BT280 has mono sound in the range of 80–20000 Hz. Bass fre­quen­cies are notice­able only when using two or more speak­ers at the same time. Sharp has up to 12 hours of bat­tery life, you can also use it with bat­ter­ies.

The device has a 3.5 mm jack and Blue­tooth 4.2 for syn­chro­niza­tion with smart­phones. A micro­phone is built into the case, and with the help of the Duo sys­tem, two speak­ers will cre­ate stereo sound. When inac­tive, Sharp auto­mat­i­cal­ly turns off.

Design: 2/5
Body: 4/5
Weight: 4/5
Sound: 3/5
Auton­o­my: 5/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 4/5
Aver­age score: 3.6/5

Marley Chant Mini

The Mar­ley Chant Mini col­umn looks like a Cuban musi­cal instru­ment — a bon­go. Pho­to: 9to5mac.com

The Mar­ley Chant Mini is a styl­ish speak­er avail­able in a vari­ety of col­or com­bi­na­tions. The case is resis­tant and pro­tect­ed from mois­ture. But due to the fact that the mid­dle part is cov­ered with fab­ric and the body is par­tial­ly wood­en, it is sil­ly to take this col­umn into the pool. Four but­tons con­trol pow­er, sync and vol­ume. The speak­er is fac­ing up. The col­umn weighs about 350 grams, but due to the spe­cif­ic shape it is incon­ve­nient to car­ry around.

The mono sound from the Mar­ley Chant Mini is loud, and the fre­quen­cies (90–20,000 Hz) are clear­ly defined. It works up to 6 hours on a sin­gle charge and is syn­chro­nized via Blue­tooth 4.1. There is a micro­phone on the case.

Design: 5/5
Body: 3/5
Weight: 5/5
Sound: 3/5
Auton­o­my: 2/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 2/5
Aver­age score: 3.3/5

Sony SRS-XB12

Mod­el Sony SRS-XB12 in addi­tion to neu­tral black is pre­sent­ed in five col­ors. Pho­to: sony.ru

The speak­er from Sony is small and made of plas­tic. The case is pro­tect­ed from mois­ture, the pan­el with but­tons is almost imper­cep­ti­bly locat­ed on the side. On the body there is a mount for a cara­bin­er or belt, and the device weighs 200 grams.

The upward fac­ing speak­er is respon­si­ble for the sound. It repro­duces fre­quen­cies from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. It also sup­ports TWS mode for cre­at­ing stereo sound through two speak­ers and Extra Bass for low fre­quen­cies. The sound is loud and rich.

Sony syncs with a smart­phone or play­er via Blue­tooth 4.2 and works up to 16 hours from a sin­gle charge. The case has a micro­phone and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Design: 4/5
Body: 5/5
Weight: 5/5
Sound: 4/5
Auton­o­my: 5/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 4/5
Aver­age score: 4.5/5

Sony SRS-XB23

Anoth­er speak­er from Sony with a large selec­tion of col­ors, includ­ing gold and peach. Pho­to: sony.ru

The case of this Sony mod­el is made of plas­tic and met­al and is pro­tect­ed from mois­ture. All con­trol but­tons are locat­ed on the side, a cord is pro­vid­ed in the kit to make the speak­er con­ve­nient to car­ry. How­ev­er, the device weighs a lot com­pared to oth­ers — more than half a kilo­gram.

Sony SRS-XB23 repro­duces fre­quen­cies from 20 Hz to 20 kHz in stereo. The sound qual­i­ty is very high, with loud rich bass. From one charge the col­umn can work up to 12 hours. The con­nec­tion takes place via Blue­tooth 5.0.

The Sony SRS-XB23 has its own equal­iz­er app and built-in micro­phone. The Par­ty Con­nect func­tion is used to con­nect mul­ti­ple speak­ers at the same time.

Design: 5/5
Body: 5/5
Weight: 4/5
Sound: 5/5
Auton­o­my: 5/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 4/5
Aver­age score: 4.6/5

JBL Link Portable

JBL Link looks more like a sta­tion­ary speak­er. Pho­to: allhomecinema.com

This is a portable speak­er that can be smart: JBL Link dif­fers from oth­ers in our rat­ing by the pres­ence of Alice, a voice assis­tant from Yan­dex. The col­umn weighs just over 700 grams, it is pro­tect­ed from mois­ture and even equipped with a dock­ing sta­tion.

Touch but­tons on the plas­tic and fab­ric case can be used to adjust the sound and func­tions — Blue­tooth, Mute (silent play­back) and on / off. The sound of the speak­er is loud and clear, in mono for­mat and the fre­quen­cy range is 65–20000 Hz.

From a sin­gle charge, JBL works for about 8 hours, and is syn­chro­nized both via Blue­tooth 4.2 and via Wi-Fi. In addi­tion to all the addi­tion­al func­tions list­ed (“Alice”, appli­ca­tion, Wi-Fi), there is also a micro­phone.

Design: 3/5
Body: 5/5
Weight: 3/5
Sound: 4/5
Auton­o­my: 3/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 5/5
Aver­age score: 3.8/5

Harman Kardon Neo

This speak­er from Har­man is shaped like a clutch bag, and there are sev­er­al col­or options in the mod­el line. Pho­to: tech360.tv

The case of this Har­man mod­el is shock­proof, made of elas­tic mate­r­i­al and pro­tect­ed from mois­ture. The device weighs 250 grams, and thanks to a spe­cial strap, the col­umn is easy to car­ry and hang wher­ev­er you want. The con­trol but­tons are on the side of the case.

The col­umn gives a mono sound in the fre­quen­cy range of 130–20000 Hz. It works loud­ly and cre­ates a sense of sur­round audio.

One charge is enough for 10 hours of Har­man Kar­don Neo. It syncs only via Blue­tooth 4.2. The set of addi­tion­al func­tions of the speak­er is not very wide: a micro­phone and a 3.5 mm audio jack on the case.

Design: 4/5
Body: 4/5
Weight: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Auton­o­my: 4/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 3/5
Aver­age score: 3.8/5

Marshall Emberton

Mar­shal­l’s portable speak­er is made of plas­tic, but in a tra­di­tion­al design for the com­pa­ny. Pho­to: amazon.com

Mar­shal Ember­ton is pro­tect­ed from mois­ture, but does not have a fas­ten­ing and weighs a con­sid­er­able 700 grams, so it is not very com­fort­able to car­ry it in your hands.

On the case there is a pow­er but­ton, a joy­stick for adjust­ing the vol­ume and a charge indi­ca­tor. Thanks to the stereo chan­nels, the Mar­shall Ember­ton gives you a spa­cious and loud sound. Fre­quen­cy range — from 60 Hz to 20 kHz. The col­umn is syn­chro­nized with the play­back device via Blue­tooth 5.0 and works up to 20 hours on a sin­gle charge.

Ember­ton has few addi­tion­al func­tions: there is a micro­phone and a bat­tery charge indi­ca­tor.

Design: 5/5
Body: 5/5
Weight: 3/5
Sound: 5/5
Auton­o­my: 5/5
Addi­tion­al fea­tures: 4/5
Aver­age score: 4.5/5

Best portable acoustics: results

Device mod­el Design Frame The weight Sound auton­o­my Addi­tion­al func­tions Aver­age score
Sony SRS-XB23 5 5 four 5 5 four 4.6
Hyundai H‑PAC520 5 5 5 four four 5 4.6
Sony SRS-XB12 four 5 5 four 5 four 4.5
Mar­shall Ember­ton 5 5 3 5 5 four 4.5
JBL GO 3 5 5 5 5 four 3 4.5
Dig­ma S‑32 four 3 5 2 5 5 four
Har­man Kar­don Neo four four four four four 3 3.8
JBL Link Portable 3 5 3 four 3 5 3.8
Sharp GX-BT280 2 four four 3 5 four 3.6
Mar­ley Chant Mini 5 3 5 3 2 2 3.3

Accord­ing to the results of the rat­ing, it turned out that there are no ide­al portable speak­ers. Even in the best mod­els, you have to choose between addi­tion­al fea­tures and weight or stereo sound and auton­o­my. We give the first place to the Sony SRS-XB23 col­umn. Let it be larg­er than the oth­ers, but it is dis­tin­guished by loud and high-qual­i­ty audio. In sec­ond place is the Hyundai H‑PAC520, a small speak­er with great fea­tures. How­ev­er, any of the top five acoustics (with a score above 4 points) will be a good choice.

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