Today, we lis­ten to music almost all the time from smart­phones and oth­er mobile devices, the speak­ers of which are far from per­fect. And it is most pleas­ant to lis­ten to your favorite tracks in good qual­i­ty, for which a good loud speak­er is of fun­da­men­tal impor­tance.

Portable speak­ers are con­ve­nient because you can take them with you any­where, unlike large-sized stereo sys­tems. At home, they can be placed any­where and used with a smart­phone, lap­top or smart watch. We will help you choose the most suit­able col­umn.

Speaker size and weight

To begin with, it is worth decid­ing where you plan to lis­ten to music and how large a speak­er you need. Thus, you can choose either a sta­tion­ary speak­er for your home, or a minia­ture one that you can take with you any­time and any­where.

For exam­ple, the Urbanears Baggen speak­er sys­tem weighs 6.6 kg and is designed for home use, despite the fact that it works with­out wires.

But the JBL Clip 3 is a typ­i­cal small portable speak­er that weighs 220g and has a loud sound. At the same time, even by the design of the device, it is clear how the speak­er is designed to be car­ried with you: there is a spe­cial mount on the case in order to hook the speak­er to a bag or sports equip­ment.

There­fore, before choos­ing a speak­er, you need to under­stand exact­ly where and how you are going to lis­ten to music: on the road, at home, on trips or on walks.

Sound quality and volume

There is noth­ing sur­pris­ing in the fact that you want to buy not just a col­umn, but a speak­er with high-qual­i­ty sound, with­out rat­tling and with a wide range. How­ev­er, you will not always have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to check the speak­er before buy­ing.

That is why it is worth pay­ing atten­tion to sev­er­al para­me­ters in the char­ac­ter­is­tics. There are four main para­me­ters in total: out­put pow­er, fre­quen­cy range, acoustic type and imped­ance. Let’s con­sid­er each in order.

Out­put pow­er is mea­sured in watts and refers to the num­ber of watts a speak­er puts out, which in turn exerts pres­sure, the same one mea­sured in deci­bels, that cre­ates loud­ness. Most small speak­ers can­not pro­duce enough pow­er, hence the vol­ume is low­er. A pow­er of 15–20 W will be enough to pro­vide a vol­ume of 80 dB. And this vol­ume is quite enough to lis­ten to music on the street. At the same time, it is bet­ter if this is not the max­i­mum pow­er of the speak­er, since sound dis­tor­tion appears at max­i­mum vol­ume.

A good exam­ple is the Mar­shall Stan­more speak­er, which has a pow­er of 80W. In turn, this pro­vides a vol­ume of 100 dB. It is suit­able for lis­ten­ing to music out­side.

But the Xiao­mi Mi Portable Round­box speak­er with a vol­ume of 53 dB is more suit­able for rooms, since the pow­er is 2W. It is also worth not­ing the ratio with the dimen­sions, Mar­shall weighs about 5 kg, and xiao­mi — 58 g.

The fre­quen­cy range dis­plays the fre­quen­cies that the speak­er is capa­ble of repro­duc­ing. And here it is nec­es­sary to pay atten­tion to the fact that the human ear per­ceives the range from 20 Hz to 20000 Hz. At the same time, with age, the range is reduced, so it is not at all nec­es­sary to chase fre­quen­cies that we will not hear.

But for high-qual­i­ty repro­duc­tion, which is impor­tant, for exam­ple, for orches­tral com­po­si­tions, sound­tracks and com­plex mul­ti-instru­men­tal music, range cer­tain­ly mat­ters. Mar­shall Woburn is capa­ble of repro­duc­ing a range of 35 — 22000 Hz, which, although 15 Hz less than the hear­ing range, is still the clos­est to nor­mal sound. That is, with such a col­umn, you will have almost no lost fre­quen­cies either at the bot­tom or at the top.

The acoustic type shows us how many chan­nels the sys­tem con­sists of. Chan­nels are a famil­iar con­cept to many, they are what we are talk­ing about when we talk about the 5.1, 2.1 sys­tem, etc. In the first case, these are 5 speak­ers and one sub­woofer, in the sec­ond case, 2 speak­ers, etc.

For cheap­er mod­els, man­u­fac­tur­ers choose mono sound, which of course is infe­ri­or in qual­i­ty to the rest. But still, most mid-range Blue­tooth speak­ers use either stereo or 2.1. These speak­ers do not replace a full-fledged audio sys­tem, but still pro­vide excel­lent play­back qual­i­ty. Divoom Voom­Box — two-chan­nel sound is just used. With a pow­er of 15W and a range of 100–20000Hz, it is able to pro­vide quite loud and sur­round sound.

The last para­me­ter, of course, is the imped­ance. It is an ana­logue of elec­tri­cal resis­tance, it refers again to the pow­er of sound. All you need to know about this con­cept: the high­er the resis­tance, the low­er the pow­er. That is, the best sound is usu­al­ly accom­pa­nied by a low imped­ance.

Battery life and charging speed

Since we are deal­ing with portable equip­ment, it is also fun­da­men­tal­ly impor­tant to know how long the speak­er can work with­out mains pow­er. Most speak­ers, of course, can play music and charge at the same time, but still, if you take the device with you, then you don’t want to charge it all the time. Bat­ter­ies vary, and typ­i­cal bat­tery life is between 5 and 14 hours, depend­ing on the mod­el and wattage of the device. The aver­age dura­tion is 6 hours.

JBL Flip 4 with its com­pact size and inex­pen­sive cost allows you to lis­ten to music for 12 hours with­out recharg­ing.

Additional functions

There are more than enough addi­tion­al func­tions for var­i­ous columns. For exam­ple, the Dreamwave Genie mod­el is spe­cial­ly equipped with a but­ton for using the voice assis­tant on a smart­phone. At the same time, the pres­ence of a micro­phone allows you to answer calls and talk to the speak­er no mat­ter how far you are from your smart­phone.

In prin­ci­ple, almost all mod­ern portable speak­ers are equipped with a micro­phone, which allows them to act in some sense as an ana­logue of a smart speak­er. They will be able to rec­og­nize com­mands and allow you to answer and some­times even make calls.

Some speak­ers, such as the Soul Storm, are designed for hik­ing, com­mut­ing, and lis­ten­ing to music out­doors. It is for this that the col­umn has a spe­cial case with a con­ve­nient fas­ten­ing and a rub­ber­ized sur­face. Thanks to this, it can not only lie on a hard sur­face, but also be on the water, while not stop­ping work. So it’s per­fect for sum­mer hol­i­days.

The portable speak­er Divoom Time­box is equipped with a screen that dis­plays the time and a radio receiv­er, so it can also be used as a radio alarm clock. In addi­tion, this device has its own base of relax­ing melodies, which are designed to help the user fall asleep.

Some speak­ers are designed both for trans­porta­tion and to com­ple­ment the inte­ri­or. The Nyne Edge speak­er has an inter­est­ing design — mod­ern and even a lit­tle futur­is­tic. Due to its large size, the col­umn is not very suit­able for use on walks, but in the house it copes with its tasks per­fect­ly well.

Hull and control

Most com­pact speak­ers only have a pow­er but­ton, so all vol­ume and play­back order con­trol is done from the play­back device. But speak­ers such as Xiao­mi Mi Blue­tooth Loud­speak­er offer the abil­i­ty to adjust the sound direct­ly from the speak­er.

Mar­shall speak­ers pro­vide vol­ume, bass and fre­quen­cy con­trol, all right on the cab­i­net.

So in most cas­es, you still get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­trol the lis­ten­ing process, albeit not com­plete­ly.

Ulti­mate­ly, before final­ly mak­ing a choice, pay atten­tion to the list of the most impor­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics for you, depend­ing on them, make a deci­sion.