Wireless Speakers Review
Why Buy a Wireless Speaker?
Wireless speakers are all about convenience. You can pull your smartphone out of your jeans pocket, connect to your wireless speaker via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and begin listening to your music at a high quality that your phone or laptop speakers could never produce.
The best wireless speakers, such as the JBL Authentics L8, the Marshall Stanmore and the Korus V600, provide an exceptional level of sound quality along with simple, convenient connection options. To learn more, keep reading and then check out our articles on wireless speakers. Additionally, you can look at our reviews of portable speakers and Bluetooth speakers.
Wireless Speakers: What to Look For
The wireless speaker market has expanded rapidly over the last few years, and with so many options available, you'll want to make sure you don't waste your hard-earned money on a poorly designed speaker. We tested a variety of wireless speakers to help you buy the best wireless speaker for your needs in terms of sound quality, design, connectivity options and help and support.
There is no substitute for a great sounding speaker. It will unlock the mix of your favorite songs, and you'll hear details you never knew existed. Producers mix tracks on high-end speakers, so when you listen to a song, you'll be hearing it the way the artist intended.
A couple metrics will help you determine speaker quality. The first is frequency response. Frequency response refers to the range of sound that the drivers can replicate. The human ear can hear sound from approximately 20Hz to 20KHz. Look for a speaker with a bass response of at least 60Hz and a treble response of at least 20KHz.
Another commonly used metric is sensitivity, sometimes called efficiency. To measure this, manufacturers power a speaker with one watt and measure its sound in decibels at one meter away. The theory is, the less a speaker has to work, the better it will sound. Most manufacturers will provide the speakers sensitivity in their marketing materials. Look for a speaker with a sensitivity of at least 89dB.
Of course, the best way to determine sound quality is to simply listen. We put together a diverse soundtrack of sonically rich songs, listened to them on a hi-fidelity set to get a baseline and then listened to that same soundtrack on each speaker we reviewed. Read our reviews to see specific examples of songs that displayed strengths or weaknesses of these all-in-one wireless sound systems.
All wireless speakers will have Bluetooth, which is the most common wireless protocol. Some enable one-touch Bluetooth paring through a technology called NFC, which allows you to simply tap your device against the speaker to trigger Bluetooth pairing. This precludes the need to shuffle through menu interfaces to manually pair a music player and a speaker.
Some speakers have Airplay, which will allow you to use your Wi-Fi connection to stream music from a host of Apple devices. DLNA performs many of the same functions as Airplay, but on Android and Windows devices.
The best wireless speakers also can perform with wires. Look for a 1/8-inch auxiliary input so you can connect smartphones, tablets and laptops to the speaker. An optical input is also a great feature because it will let you use the speaker as a stereo sound bar for your television.
Aesthetic is a subjective criteria, so find a speaker with a look that appeals to you. A modern speaker won't fit in a traditional décor, and vice-versa. Ease of use is another important aspect of design. Look for a speaker that has simple and intuitive controls. Some models even allow you to connect with mobile devices with one tap.
Some wireless speakers have a rechargeable battery built into the housing. If you'd like your speaker to be portable, look for a battery with at least five hours of life.
Help & Support
Many of these wireless technologies are new, so it's a good idea to buy from a company with a helpful support team. Phone support is an excellent feature to look for because it means the company cares enough about customer support to have dedicated representatives. Also, look for a product with at least a one-year warranty.
A good wireless speaker will make listening to your favorite music easy and enjoyable, and you'll be able to get better quality sound than you can from mobile devices or laptop speakers. Our reviews and side-by-side comparisons detail the best elements of each speaker to help you figure out what speakers are right for you.