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?
- Tim Cook to host Hillary Clinton fundraiser
- Report: Apple to update Apple Store app with personalized recommendations
- Report: Apple now prioritizing autonomous driving system in car project
- WSJ: Apple’s ‘hard-charging’ approach unsuccessful in negotiations with TV networks
- Video purports to show official Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter
- New iPhone pre-orders to start Sept. 9?
- Apple has sold one billion iPhones
- Parkopedia to provide detailed parking information for Apple Maps [Updated]
- Microsoft releases Pix camera app for iPhone
- Adobe launches new Lightroom viewer for Apple TV
- Elgato Avea Flare Portable Mood Light
- Moe Bull Stand for iPad Air 2 + 9.7” iPad Pro
- Netatmo Tags for Welcome Smart Home Camera
- iDevices Socket HomeKit-enabled Light Adapter
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartPlug for Apple HomeKit
- Marbotic Smart Letters for iPad
- Ecoxgear Sol Jam Bluetooth Speaker
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case + Hand Strap for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Braven BRV-1M Bluetooth Speaker
- Braven BRV-Blade Bluetooth Speaker
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app