After several hours of research and comparison among the forty models currently on offer, we have established that the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 offers the best value for money at the moment. Thanks to its robustness, its excellent sound and its good endurance, it is ideal to take everywhere. If you are looking for an even more compact speaker then the Wonderboom 2 is for you. In addition, it allows direct coupling of 2 devices for a very good stereo rendering.
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The Selectos editorial team spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and comparing products in order to find those that offer the best value for money.
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How did we choose?
Portable and practical, bluetooth speakers have revolutionized portable audio. Because of this, today, given the many models on the market, it is difficult to choose the right speaker that meets our needs.
To clarify your choice, it is necessary to analyze the most important characteristics:
- Sound quality : this notion of quality is relative and depends on how you consume your music. Listening at high volume requires a model that does not saturate (too much) when you turn up the sound. A distribution of classical music requires a speaker capable of faithfully reproducing the highs and the midrange. As for bass lovers, they have every interest in opting for a speaker offering an equalizer that can be adjusted precisely.
- Transportability : as Hervé Koffel ( Tech Corner ) points out, it will depend on what you want to do with it. For permanent listening, it is better to opt for a larger speaker and offering more connectivity options. If you plan to take your bluetooth speaker with you everywhere, it is important that it is small, light and easy to slip into a bag. Ideally, it should also have good resistance to external conditions (dust, splashes, shocks).
- Autonomy : for a speaker to be truly portable, it must have sufficient autonomy to support you on a daily basis, without having to constantly go through recharging. Note that the autonomy also depends on your use. At full volume, for example, it shrinks faster.
- Connectivity : although more and more speakers only offer connection via bluetooth, it may be interesting, depending on your needs, to opt for a model offering alternatives, such as the jack, a USB port or the possibility of inserting a microSD card. Note that some speakers also offer microphone functionality and can be used as a hands-free kit.
- Additional functions : the presence of an NFC chip (allowing you to connect your speaker and your source reader via one touch), a hands-free kit function, or even an ambient light function are all elements that can be anecdotal… or essential according to your needs!
By paying particular attention to these criteria, we were able to isolate around fifteen quality models.
Subsequently, we went through various in-depth tests, but also multiple user opinions (sales sites, dedicated forums, specialized blogs, etc.) on both the English and French speaking sides.
This careful analysis allowed us to establish that the 6 models below are the best bluetooth speakers currently available on the market.
Our Choice: Ultimate Ears Boom 3
With good endurance and great portability, this speaker is a very good option for its mobility. It offers good sound quality. The IP67 certification makes it usable at the beach as well as at the swimming pool.
First of all, the sound quality is obviously there. There is always a distortion present at a higher level, but really well controlled for a speaker of this size. Where it excels the most is in the bass rendering. Trebles, on the other hand, have a slight tendency to flicker.
Then, design side, it should be noted that it is a little more massive and more refined than its big sister. It is obvious that its look was inspired by another speaker of the brand, the Megaboom 3 , of which it seems to be, at first glance, the miniaturized version. The finishes are impeccable, and all frankly solid.
This speaker has IP67 certification. This means that in addition to being protected against immersion in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 m, it is completely resistant to dust. Small feature of this model, the water resistance also extends to salt water. The fact that it floats makes it even more pleasant to take in the pool.
The controls are fairly standard with the exception of the “Magic Button”, with which you can control your music and pre-record up to four Playlists (from Apple Music, Deezer Premium and from Spotify) which you can access via a long press.
If Ultimate Ears again announces a duration of 15 hours, as with the Boom 2, users record more variable data, which seems rather to revolve around 13 hours. However, this remains very significant.
By cons, we must admit that the connection disappoints a little. It indeed integrates a micro-USB port (still no USB-C) and … that’s it! Several users deplore the absence of a 3.5 mm jack port.
A little audio girl from Logitech, Ultimate Ears has managed to keep its place in the speaker market. With the Boom 3, and their entire range of associated portable speakers, the brand continues to hit hard. One watchword: quality at a low price.
Finally, it is now compatible with the Power Up charging base , which allows you to continue listening to your music while letting your speaker recharge on it. But for that you have to pay an additional sum.
The best cheap Bluetooth speaker: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
This model is mainly compact and affordable for good sound quality. Its great feature is the possibility of coupling two Wonderboom 2 to make the stereo sound or even more powerful.
Audio side, nothing to complain about! It still offers an excellent sound level and deeper bass with a richer and less skimpy rendering than on the previous iteration. The distortion is better managed which allows the Wonderboom 2 to offer surprising performance for an object of this size. Of course, the most saturated songs (orchestra, metal, etc.) will not emerge perfectly, but this is a foreseeable drawback in this price range.
A highlight is its design. It retains the already winning recipe of the first version: an audio bomb that perfectly fits the hand. It offers a spherical shape, impeccable finishes and an interesting choice of colors.
If you fear that its shape increases the risk of shock, you will be delighted to learn that it resists a fall of 1.5 m, that it floats and that it is waterproof as with dust (IP67).
The controls are kept to a minimum: ignition, bluetooth and the main button, which allows, among other things, to couple two Wonderbooms to ensure better sound coverage.
In terms of autonomy, the brand provides a superior result to the previous version with a gain of 3 hours, for a total of 13 hours of autonomy. The announced duration seems to be verified in the field and some users even note superior results.
Connectivity level, we deplore the absence of mini jack port (although this is more and more common). There is only the micro USB port (still no USB-C) available, intended for charging.
The device relies entirely on bluetooth. Latency is reduced compared to the previous version (2.5 tenths of a second against 3) but remains slightly too high to be able to fully enjoy video content. It is however hardly noticeable for the human ear and many applications (such as VLC) compensate for this lag.
In the end, Ultimate Ears continues to appear at the top of the ranking of inexpensive speakers with a surprising, trendy model, offering an improved audio quality. An object that we like to use, but also to show: this is undoubtedly that too, the future of the ultra-portable.
The best high-end bluetooth speaker: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
Transportable and usable everywhere thanks to its IP67 certification, this speaker has a superb sound rendering. Party people will be able to connect several thanks to “PartyUp”, via application. You can thus pair up to 15 speakers to extend your sound experience.
The sound quality is at a level higher than that of the Boom 3: the distortion is reduced and the bass is even better rendered thanks to lower frequencies achieved (60 Hz against 65 Hz). The treble flicker disappears at the expense of the mid frequencies, which suggest certain parasitic vibrations.
The design is similar to its little sister but it offers a larger size and a higher weight. It retains the level of finish already observed on other models of the brand. As with the Boom 3, IP67 certification is essential. This enclosure will therefore resist dust and water while floating in the event of immersion.
The “Magic Button” also makes its appearance with the same qualities… and the same lack of compatibility. We will have to see what the future still has in store for us on this point (it will have taken about a year to see Spotify compatibility emerge).
The endurance of this version is equivalent to that of the first generation Megaboom. It will reward you with twenty hours of music before needing a recharge. According to users, even at high volume (75%), the autonomy is fairly faithful to the data announced (19 hours recorded in use). It is also compatible with the optional Power Up charging base .
From a software point of view, Ultimate Ears provides an application including an equalizer allowing you to adjust the sound quality as you wish. Other options orient the “Boom” range more towards the concept of celebration. Thus, it is always possible to interconnect the brand’s models to benefit from an extended sound experience (up to 15 speakers simultaneously) and the management of the titles broadcast can be ensured by 3 different bluetooth sources.
In conclusion, Ultimate Ears continues its momentum with this Megaboom 3 by combining robustness and sound quality in this product. Well thought out and enduring, this new version is the best solution in this section for those looking for a versatile portable speaker.
A cheap alternative: Tribit XSound Go
It is the cheapest speaker in this comparison and the sound quality is still interesting. Admittedly, the sound is less than on the other models but it is surprising for a product of this price range. Especially since it has some interesting additional parameters.
At the noise level, it is distinguished by correct bass and good treble, even if these lack a little clarity, especially at full volume, due to the lack of power.
The voices, on the other hand, are particularly well restored. They are clearly audible and natural. Usually, this is often what is lacking with cheaper speakers.
Its power is lower than on the Wonderboom 2 (but its price is also half the price). Here you reach 82.4 dB. It’s good for a living room, but not enough to liven up an evening. in addition, at full volume, a small distortion is heard on the treble.
Its design is quite sober, with a classic shape. However, everything is super practical and we forget its look.
Indeed, in terms of transportability, its size and weight (380 g) allow it to be easily slipped into a bag. You can then take it anywhere thanks to its IPX7 certification. This allows it to be immersed in water for 30 minutes at 1 m depth.
The autonomy announced is 24 hours. However, tests have rather determined that it takes 10:30 to 20 hours depending on the volume of listening.
Connectivity side, we are happy to find a 3.5 mm jack. On the other hand, the loading is done by microUSB. This makes it slower since it takes around 4 hours.
With this price, we were pleasantly surprised to find a microphone to take calls. Especially since it turns out to be functional.
The buttons on the top are large and simple to use. You can easily turn the speaker on and off. You change the volume using the plus and minus. The play button allows you to start or pause a song. With the bluetooth symbol, you pair your smartphone. However, we note the absence of a button to go to the next track.
To enhance its practicality, Tribit even provides you with a wrist strap to be able to easily hang its speaker.
A mid-range alternative: JBL Flip 5
This fifth version is very satisfactory. Water resistance, sound performance and autonomy are at the rendezvous. The possibility of connecting to an unlimited number of JBL PartyBoost compatible speakers makes it the model suitable for the most epic evenings.
On the sound side, we find an appreciable fidelity of medium sounds. The bass, they manage to drop below 50 Hz. A very good result for a speaker of this type. We still note some confusion on the richer mixes.
The treble is good too, since the sound remains distinct and very pleasant. It is only by pushing the sound power a little that some of the higher frequencies start to saturate.
The Flip range has been designed by JBL to be used as a tower (vertically) or a soundbar (horizontally). However, we recommend an extended use, for better bass rendering.
Design level, as often with the brand, you find clear colors and an impeccable finish. The cylindrical shape makes the grip pleasant.
The enclosure is also waterproof, like many models these days, and supports an immersion of approximately 30 minutes up to 1 m deep (IPX7 certification).
Autonomy level, JBL has made an effort compared to its previous models, since this time it reaches 12 hours, very appreciable.
From the point of view of connectivity, the jack and access to voice assistants disappear. The commands are minimal: bluetooth, volume and play (no possibility of returning to the previous track).
Next to the classic controls is the JBL Connect button, a new feature in the Flip models which allows you to pair multiple speakers with the same technology at the touch of a button.
Unfortunately, compared to its competitor Boom 3, bluetooth leaves something to be desired, since the latency, revised down compared to version 4, remains higher. These scores mainly concern listening on smartphones, use on a PC offering much more effective results.
JBL remains one of the essential brands in the audio world. And if part of their range is geared towards professionals, the brand has always strived to produce loudspeakers for the general public at the most affordable price.
With the SoundLink Mini II, the goal is clearly revealed. Its strength is the quality of the sound especially in the bass reproduction. In addition, it seems very solid which comes at a price: its less transportability.
For sound quality, few portable speakers produce sound as faithful as the Bose Soundlink Mini II. With stable bass and clear treble, it passes the test of the most scrupulous specialist tests.
The power is also much higher than other models available on the market, and allows easy use outdoors, but not to the point of making the DJ of your evening, because we observe a distortion of treble and midrange at maximum volume.
Design level, you see directly that the finishes are solid and neat. We find a lot of metal on the chassis and the protective grilles. Suddenly, we must admit that it is a little heavier than the average (680 g), which can be annoying for a nomad speaker. Especially since, unlike other lower-priced enclosures, it is not waterproof against dust or splashing water.
Its autonomy is announced at 12 o’clock, which users seem to confirm (the old version already seemed to exceed the announced ten hours to reach 12). On the other hand, its recharging time remains quite long compared to what is found in terms of bluetooth speaker (3 to 4 hours all the same).
It gave itself a little facelift this fall 2019 (hence the mention “Special Edition”), by providing itself with a USB-C port, coming to accompany the 3.5 mm mini-jack socket, which makes it more modern than ever.
The use, as often with Bose, is very simple and intuitive. There is even a voice guide function, but its rendering is robotic and few users use it.
A multifunction key is available, which allows, depending on the intensity or number of presses, to start or pause playback, to connect to Siri or Google Now, or even to manage calls.
Admittedly, it is not the most versatile speaker (it may have cost it the first place in this section), but it has the merit of refocusing the market on the essentials: sound quality .
Sony SRS-XB12 : despite an IP67 certification (completely protected from dust and can be submerged up to 1 m in water), this speaker is very affordable. The design is compact for a fairly light weight. The sound quality is really nice. It is in the deep bass that it begins to weaken. On the other hand, the speaker microphone is clearly upgradeable.
JBL Charge 4 : with this size (22 x 9.5 x 9.3 cm), we already get a fairly heavy sound. This speaker is also IPX7 certified and therefore perfectly waterproof. However, for this higher price, we would have liked to find a microphone function to take calls.
Bose SoundLink Revolve + : between its impeccable design, its powerful and balanced sound distribution at 360 °, its good autonomy (about 15 hours), and its possibility of connecting with voice assistants (Siri or Google Assistant), it has everything an excellent speaker. But its high price and its lack of transportability (it is “only” IPX 4 certified) led us not to integrate it into our basic selection.
Sonos Move : very high-end model, this speaker offers exceptional performance. With sound quality worthy of indoor versions and the “Trueplay” function which adapts the audio according to the environment in which the device is located, you will have the best possible rendering. Its size (high weight and size) and its price excluded it from our selection but it remains a very good solution for people with the necessary budget.