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Portable wireless speaker reviews

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Last updated: 30 June 2020
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Portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers let you play music while keeping your smartphone or music player close at hand. Smart speakers add support for digital assistants like Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Siri and voice commands. We test and review wireless speakers, priced from around $40 to over $1,000 from Sony, Bose, Ultimate Ears, Apple, Google, Amazon and more. We rate sound quality, ease of use and wireless range.

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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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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

    Price

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    Recommended retail.

    enter value/s in increments of 1 between 45 and 1299

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    Type

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    Standard speakers are used to play audio via Bluetooth, WiFi, physical cable etc from an external device. Smart speakers deliver additional features such as online information (weather, music, news and so on) and the ability to control other smart devices, via voice commands such as "OK Google," "Alexa" and "hey Siri."

      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.

          Personal assistant

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          The digital assistant included with the smart speaker.

            Included in this review

            Members-only access
            • Overall score
            • Recommended
            • Annual running cost
            • Buy now
            • Listening score
            • Ease of use
            • Range
            • Power consumption score
            • Battery time (hours)
            • Good points
            • Bad points
            • Price
            • Type
            • Brand
            • Model
            • Bluetooth
            • Wi-Fi
            • Personal assistant
            • Apple AirPlay
            • Chromecast support
            • Auxiliary input
            • NFC
            • aptX
            • Speaker grouping
            • Music service support
            • Video services supported
            • News and weather briefings
            • Smart LED integration
            • Smart switch integration
            • Set alarms
            • Create shopping and to-do lists
            • Translator
            • Calendar support
            • Voice purchasing
            • Photos
            • Mute microphone
            • Forward/Rewind
            • Play/pause
            • Battery life indicator
            • USB can charge other devices
            • Carry handle
            • Carry bag
            • Multi-user support
            • Speakerphone
            • Dust/water resistant
            • Other controls
            • What data is stored
            • Can stored data be easily deleted
            • Where is data processed
            • Apps available
            • Cord length cm
            • Dimensions (mm, HxWxD)
            • Weight (kg)
            • Availability

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