My favorites in budget Bluetooth sound

Crave's Eric Mack, a self-proclaimed Bluetooth addict and bargain hunter, rounds up some of his top low-cost wireless headsets and mobile speakers in preparation for holiday shopping.

Bluetooth sound is all around, but the best budget options aren't always clear. Beacon Audio

I'm a proud member of the Bluetooth cyborg army. I'm the guy who always seems to be talking to himself in the car next to you at red lights, and I'm the dude at the gym working out to Spotify, podcasts, or Audible with a flashing thing in my ear. Since going wireless for almost all my audio needs, I've never looked back and have actually become a bit of a connoisseur, particularly when it comes to budget Bluetooth options.

What I've discovered over the past few years is that Bluetooth, in my opinion, is a pretty mature technology and there's not a whole lot of extra value to be found in the very top-of-the-line headsets and speakers, even for power users like myself. The latest and greatest Bluetooth audio accessories tend to add a lot of gimmicky features -- along with iterative audio quality improvements, sure, but they're not always immediately noticeable -- that hardly justify paying two or three times the amount for a previous generation or less fancy peripheral.

Please note that I'm not a cheapskate in all aspects of my digital life. I still tend to go for flagship smartphones to connect my Bluetooth(teeth) to and find it worth spending the extra cash for them, most of the time.

While the available choices in Bluetooth sound have exploded recently, and I certainly haven't tried every product out there, check out the below slideshow for a sampling of those that I've spent lots of time with for my budget-conscious connoisseur's take on the world of wireless sound. Also, find even more examples in CNET's roundup of portable Bluetooth speakers and the best Bluetooth headsets.

About the author

Crave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer, radio producer, and podcaster based in Taos, N.M., but he lives in Google+. He's also managing editor of Crowdsourcing.org and has written e-books on both Alaska and Android. E-mail Eric.

 

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