Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers under $300
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I’m looking to buy some powerful speakers, preferably with Bluetooth capability and portability. Ideally I don’t want to spend over $300. I bought the Jawbone Jambox, but the volume didn’t go high at all—these were truly disappointing speakers. My top priorities are that it produces great, loud sound and that it doesn’t need to be plugged into the wall all the time. Can you help suggest which speakers to buy? Thank you!
A: The Soundfreaq Sound Kick SFQ-04 (iLounge Rating: A) seem like your best choice here.
The Sound Kick SFQ-04 impressed us sufficiently with both its great price and sonic performance to receive our Overall Best of Show Award for CES 2012 and receive one of our very rare full “A” ratings. Despite being half the price at $100, the Sound Kick outperforms the Jambox in just about every way: twice the volume with sonic performance that “utterly destroys” the Jambox, making it sound like a flat toy radio in comparison.
More details can be found in our review, but to summarize, the Sound Kick includes Bluetooth capabilities and a 2200mAh rechargeable battery that provides 5 to 7 hours of playback. A USB port is also provided that can be used to power or charge an iPhone or iPod, which can be done both when the Sound Kick is connected to AC power or from the device’s own rechargeable battery, provided the speaker isn’t being used at higher volume levels. Wired connectivity is also available via an aux in port.
Another option worth considering if size and price aren’t crucial is the Logitech Wireless Boombox (iLounge Rating: A), which retails for $50 more than the Sound Kick and is slightly less portable at 15” wide.
The Wireless Boombox does provide better sound quality with a wider frequency range than the Sound Kick—both in the highs and lows—and performs better with off-axis sound. The maximum volume levels between both products are comparable, however, and in the case of the Wireless Boombox, you’re essentially trading off portability and price for better sonic performance.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- New comments hint at forthcoming streaming TV service from Apple
- Apple Music available on Sonos starting today
- Screen protector installation now available at Apple Stores
- Russia mulling tax increase on App Store purchases, other Apple services
- Lawyers threaten to sue Apple over ‘Error 53’ codes disabling iPhones
- Apple releases iOS 9.3 beta 3, tvOS 9.2 beta 3, watchOS 2.2 beta 3 to developers
- Indie game ‘The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’ rejected by Apple over violence toward children
- Apple likely to receive approval to open retail stores in India
- Study finds Apple Watch is best fitness tracker for privacy, security
- Conflicting reports over pink color to be featured in iPhone 5se
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case for iPad Pro
- Edifier MP700 Rave Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Just Mobile HoverDock for Apple Watch + HoverDock for iPhone
- VRS Design Dandy Layered Case for iPad Pro
- Just Mobile TENC for iPad Pro
- Native Union DOCK Lightning
- Native Union DOCK for Apple Watch
- Hitcase Pro+ Action Pack and Snap for iPhone 6/6s
- Urban Armor Gear Trooper for iPhone 6/6s
- NEBO CaseBrite for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!