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Portable Bluetooth speaker reviews

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Last updated: 26 October 2018

Portable Bluetooth speakers let you play music while keeping your smartphone or music player close at hand. We test and review more than 30 wireless Bluetooth speakers, priced from $78 to $899, from Bowers & Wilkins, Bang & Olufsen, Sony, Bose, Marshall, and more. We rate sound quality, ease of use and wireless range.

We've also tested the latest smart speakers, such as Google Home and Alexa. If you'd like to find out how they perform as home automation devices, head over to our smart speakers test.

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Our expert testers take to the CHOICE sound room to find the speakers that:

  • have the best sound
  • have the best wireless range
  • suit a large, open-plan home or are best for smaller spaces
  • weigh the least and are easy to carry around
  • are the easiest to use

Our interactive comparison tool helps you easily find the models that have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (or both), which speakers are 'ruggedised' for outdoor use, and which speakers come in under a kilo so you can comfortably carry them in a day pack. Our Recommended list will let you see at a glance which models come out on top.

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Weight (kg)

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Excluding power lead, rounded to nearest 100g.

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Bluetooth

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Bluetooth is a very simple connection in most cases because it's direct from one device to another. While the claimed range is usually limited to around 10m our testers found the figure to be much larger, in straight line tests achieving up to 30m as well as in tests where there were obstructions such as a brick wall or solid core doors where our tester comfortably played music more than 10m from the device.

Wi-Fi

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Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to connect a number of devices over a wireless network. It can also stream an uncompressed audio file which may help deliver better sound quality for some high-end speakers, although the improved quality may not be evident with most wireless speakers.  The big advantage with Wi-Fi over Bluetooth is the range, with Wi-Fi networks often able to project well over 30 metres.

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  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Listening score
  • Ease of use score
  • Range score
  • Battery time (hours)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Speaker type
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Speaker grouping
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi
  • Apple AirPlay
  • aptX (codec)
  • Auxiliary input
  • USB can charge other devices
  • Speakerphone
  • Forward/Rewind
  • Play/Pause
  • Battery life indicator
  • Carry bag
  • Carry handle
  • Dust/water resistant
  • Apps available
  • Dimensions (mm, HxWxD)
  • Weight (kg)
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