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.