CNET Top 5
Portable Bluetooth speakersLooking for a completely wireless speaker that sounds great and can go anywhere? Here are your five best options.
When youÃ¯Â¿Â½re shopping for a great wireless speaker that can work with your phone or tablet, donÃ¯Â¿Â½t forget about the most annoying wire of all -- the power cord. Rechargeable Bluetooth speakers can be a great, flexible option that you can take with you around your house, out in the yard, or bring on vacation. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Donald Bell, and on todayÃ¯Â¿Â½s Top 5, IÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be counting down the best options in portable Bluetooth speakers, ranked by CNET Editors David Carnoy and Matt Moskovciak. Starting things off at #5: the JBL Flip. Very affordable at $99. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s compact but delivers good sound. You can also use it as a speakerphone, which is a surprisingly rare feature. You have to recharge it with an AC adapter instead of a USB cable, which is a bummer. Also, the carrying case makes this thing look a little scandalous... Try not blushing during that baggage check. Or, you could man-up to #4: the JBL Charge. For just $50 more you get bigger speakers, bigger sound, double the battery life, and a USB port for using that battery life to charge other stuff. No speakerphone on this one, but do you really want a phone call interrupting your Motorhead marathon? Seriously, for $150, the JBL Charge packs a mean punch and is cheap enough to throw in the back of the truck without having a heart attack. Coming in at #3: the Logitech UE Boombox. The UE stands for Ultimate Ears, a company Logitech acquired a few years back and now serves as their Premium Audio brand. This guy takes you up another $50 to around $250, but once again weÃ¯Â¿Â½ve doubled the number speakers. You get 8 drivers on this thing, and it is frickinÃ¯Â¿Â½ loud, with some respectable low end. 6 hour battery life, though no USB charging. Also, no speakerphone -- this oneÃ¯Â¿Â½s strictly for blasting jamz and looking cool, sorta. But the ultimate Bluetooth statement comes in at #2: the Jawbone Big Jambox. This oneÃ¯Â¿Â½s also $250, but you get a Jawbone quality speakerphone, and the pride in owning something crafted by design superstar Yves Behar. Of course, no amount of star power can make up for the fact that this thing is about as portable as a brick. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s pretty, but not exactly the kind of thing you bring out to a bar-b-q. Speaking of which, before we get to our #1 portable Bluetooth speaker, letÃ¯Â¿Â½s take a minute to acknowledge the kind of small, affordable, rugged speaker that would be perfect for a Bar-B-Q. Our top pick for under $50 is the Philips SoundShooter. Looks like a grenade because itÃ¯Â¿Â½s sound is daÃ¯Â¿Â½ bomb! Actually, itÃ¯Â¿Â½s just ok, but at $50 itÃ¯Â¿Â½s a great value, works as a speakerphone, charges over USB, and doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t look like a dildo. YouÃ¯Â¿Â½re welcome. But if you want the absolute best when it comes to portable Bluetooth audio, look no further than #1: the Bose SoundLink Mobile Speaker II. The best sound quality of the bunch and I would argue the most portable design. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s easy to grip, and it has a built in magnetic cover that folds back into a stand. The look is a little too buttoned up for my taste, but itÃ¯Â¿Â½s an extremely practical design. WhatÃ¯Â¿Â½s not practical is the price: $300, unless you can find it on sale -- which you wonÃ¯Â¿Â½t. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s Bose. So there you go, 5 speakers, plus one to grow on -- all perfect for taking around the house or on your next vacation. But for even more Bluetooth speaker recommendations, head over to our complete listing of over 15 excellent options over on CNET.com Until next time, IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Donald Bell, thanks for watching.