It’s unlikely that the Jawbone Jambox will be shoved off its throne anytime soon; not necessarily because it’s the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker out there, but because it was here first, and it made a huge splash (in part because, yes, it sounds pretty good).
But I were to bet on a challenger, I might put my money on the smart new UE Boom. Not only is it ruggedized against drops and splashes, but it’s armed with two very unusual tricks.
Today Eton added the Rugged Rukus to their Rukus line of Bluetooth speakers. Like most of its Rukus siblings, the Rugged is solar-powered; unlike its siblings, the Rugged is splashproof. A great addition for our all-hell-has-broken-loose list.
One word cropped up over and over at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, and it wasn’t “speakerdock” (yes, that may be two words; but I’m merging them here because that’s what I’m doing). In fact, the word was “Bluetooth” — a word discordant with the very idea of a dock-equipped speaker.
And yet, amid the tsunami of Bluetooth-equipped speakers at CES, there were holdouts — adherers to the Old Way of doing things, of physically connecting a device to its speaker.
One such holdout is the Aud 5, iLuv’s first speaker dock to harbor a Lightning connector.
Yeah, that’s a bit of sarcasm up there in the hed; there’s obviously no lack of choice regarding Bluetooth speakers. This year’s CES exploded with Bluetooth, and it doesn’t seem a day goes by that a manufacturer doesn’t release another model.
Rechargeable, portable, and built to live on or under your Mac or iDevice, the Sound Cylinder (SC) speaker is a first from audio maker Definitive Technology (DT), who usually focuses their acoustic talents on high-end home theater equipment.
Sound Cylinder by Definitive Technology Category: Wireless Speakers Works With: iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac, or anything with Bluetooth Price: $200
But can Definitive Technology, with its years of experience engineering coveted boutique audio, create a portable speaker that usurps the top spot of the much-loved and most-excellent sounding Jawbone Jambox?
If you’ve ever had a party with people in various rooms of your house, maybe even outside, Bem’s Wireless Speaker Trio was made just for you.
Wireless Speaker Trio by Bem Wireless Category: Cases Works With: iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac, or anything with Bluetooth Price: $299.99
The Trio is a neat idea: connect your music source (iPhone, iPad, iPod) via Bluetooth to its base station, then move any of its three rechargeable satellite speakers anywhere in your home, up to 120 feet from the base, and they’ll fill that room with music from your iDevice or Mac.
But while Bem’s Wireless Trio is a great idea and was awesome when it worked, my tests brought to light some problems I just couldn’t ignore.
This small Bluetooth speaker looks remarkably like the iconic Jawbone Jambox, arguably the most popular ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker on the market right now. And just like the Jambox, it can be used to stream music and make calls. It even comes in what looks like the same colors — or very similar colors — the Jambox comes in.
But look more closely, and you’ll see small cosmetic differences — because this isn’t the Jambox. It’s the Urge Basics Sound Brick, and it has one very big difference with the Jambox: it’s less than one-third the price.
Now that you’ve upgraded to the latest iOS devices, you’re probably wondering what to do with all your old 30-pin speaker docks. You could get a $30 Lightning to 30-pin adapter from Apple and continue to use them, but for just $15 extra, you can get the auris and turn them into wireless Bluetooth speakers.
I’ve been in love with the iPhone for the past five years. I got the original as soon as it went on sale in the U.K. in November 2007, and I’ve had every model Apple has released ever since. My job has given me the opportunity to play with plenty of other devices over the years — including those powered by Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone — but I’ve always remained loyal to the iPhone and iOS.
That was until a couple months ago, when my contract ended and it was time to decide which smartphone I wanted for the next two years. I already have the iPhone 5 — I bought it unlocked when it was launched back in September — and I wanted an Android device to replace the Samsung Galaxy Nexus I broke late last year. So I decided to pick up the new LG Nexus 4.
I was lucky; I didn’t have to wait six weeks for the device to arrive from Google Play. My carrier had plenty in stock, so a unit was delivered to my door the day after I ordered it. I was looking forward to testing it out, but I figured I’d play around with it for a little bit, then switch straight back to my iPhone 5 for everyday use. Like the Galaxy Nexus, I thought the Nexus 4 would be mostly used for work — testing apps and writing the odd tutorial for Cult of Android.
While the iPad’s audio has always been certainly passable in most situations, the tiny speakers that Apple crammed into the device aren’t anywhere near a suitable replacement for the sound quality that can be produced from larger, more substantial speakers.
In order to bridge this gap, Belkin is showing off at Macworld this year what they call the Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater, a case for your iPad that integrates 2 4-watt speakers for a more immersive experience. Cult Of Mac’s Erfon Elijah talked to Brandon from Belkin at Macworld to learn more about the product.