Best Bluetooth accessories right now (roundup)
Teach your smartphone new wireless tricks with one of these great Bluetooth gadgets.
Do you like wires? Neither do we. And thankfully, you don't really need them anymore when you're using a smartphone.
No matter your preference -- iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry -- any decent modern smartphone is equipped with wireless Bluetooth capability. In addition to hands-free calling with headsets and stereo headphones, phones can also be used as wireless music sources for an increasingly large array of Bluetooth speakers -- perfect for listening to MP3s on the phone, or Web-based audio services like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, iTunes Match, or anything else.
As someone who uses Bluetooth gadgets daily, I'd frankly feel lost without my handy assortment of hands-free mobile toys. And I've collected a list of some of CNET's favorites.
Headphones and headsets
Best Bluetooth sports headphones:
Denon AH-W150 Exercise Freak
The Denon Exercise Freak headphones are built to back you up with wireless audio during workouts. Not only are they comfortable, they provide a secure fit plus are sweat- and splashproof.
Best Bluetooth headphones at any price:
Need the Porsche of Bluetooth stereo headphones? Look no further than the Parrot Zik. It offers a luxurious design, comfortable fit, and plenty of slick features, including wireless audio streaming, noise cancellation, and touch-sensitive controls on the right earpiece.
Best audiophile Bluetooth headphones under $200:
Harman Kardon BT
The Harman Kardon BT headphones stand out from the pack not just because they're wireless. This pair of cans possess a distinctive retro design, memory foam around the earpieces, noise-canceling, and excellent audio quality.
Best monaural Bluetooth headset:
Plantronics Voyager Legend
Settling on a serious workhorse of a Bluetooth headset isn't easy. For a hands-free device to be truly worthy, it should offer superb audio quality and noise cancellation, plus be light and comfortable to wear all day. The Plantronics Voyager Legend handles that with ease and is extremely compact despite its boom mic design.
Best-sounding Bluetooth speaker:
Sporting a sleek and sophisticated design, impressive sound for its size, and a rechargeable battery, the Sony SRS-BTX500 is one seriously advanced Bluetooth speaker system. Add to this its superb audio quality plus NFC pairing, and there's no reason it shouldn't be on your short list.
Best overall travel Bluetooth speaker:
JBL Charge portable Bluetooth speaker
Need a great portable speaker to take around town or on holiday trips? The JBL Charge packs a real audio punch that belies its compact size, comes with a nice travel case, and can charge other devices through its USB port.
Best Bluetooth speaker under $100:
If you have only $100 to splurge on a wireless speaker system, we strongly suggest you give the JBL Flip some consideration. Similar to its cousin the JBL Charge, the Flip is compact, sounds great, and ships with its own carry case. Read the full review of the JBL Flip.
Best Bluetooth speaker under $50:
Philips SoundShooter Wireless
With looks bound to stop you in your tracks, the Philips SoundShooter Wireless boasts explosive sound that's much bigger than its pint-size dimensions. The handy gadget also doubles as a speakerphone and lasts for 8 hours on a single charge.
Other Bluetooth accessories
Best Bluetooth audio accessory:
Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver
Don't toss your powerful home audio system just to get wireless sound in the living room. Belkin's Bluetooth Music Receiver offers a cheap and easy method to give cordless audio capabilities to stereo systems. It even works with a basic set of powered speakers, essentially anything with a 3.5mm headphone jack or RCA inputs.
Editors' note: This story was originally published on March 20, 2012, and has been updated periodically with new products (most recently, April 30, 2013).