Christmas tech: five bluetooth speakers to cut the cord
Set your music free.
Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes. From the microportable, inexpensive ones you can throw in your bag for a day out to the more heavy duty speakers that require a little more stability, you can ditch the wires from most areas of your audio life with ease.
Ready to cut the cord? Here are some options
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P6
Taller than the average Bluetooth speaker and probably not one you’ll be carrying around too much, the Beoplay P6 looks more like an old-school speaker or amp than a small Bluetooth audio device. In typical Bang & Olufsen style, it has some distinctive style points: pearl blasted aluminium speaker grills, a leather carrying strap and so on. It is splash and dust resistant too. But where it counts, the Beoplay P6 really excels. The sound is deep, rich and loud, without going too heavy on the bass. Battery life is great too, with around 16 hours, depending on how loud you like to play your music.
Sonos Move Wireless Smart Speaker
The Sonos Move is, as you’d expect, designed to be portable. Well, portable-ish. It has a carry handle and a charging station, but like the Beoplay P6 it’s not a speaker you’ll through in your handbag for any impromptu party session. It’s more like something you’d move around the garden for an outdoor event, or put in the car for a picnic.
It’s weatherproof and drop resistant, the latter being important for a device that is designed to be carried from place to place. Sonos has signed up with Amazon to build Alexa into the device, so you can control it with your voice, telling Alexa to skip tracks or change the volume, while also controlling your smart home.
Audio streams over wifi and you can connect the Move speaker to your home Sonos set-up (if you have one) or use it over Bluetooth if wifi is unavailable.
Bose Soundlink Micro Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Bose knows sound, so it’s a safe enough bet that the Soundlink micro portable speaker will be worth the investment. To start with, it’s tiny - 1.5 inches high and 3.75 inches wide. You can clip it to your bag, your bike’s handlebars, put it in your pocket - the choice is yours. But despite its small size, you get good sound from the Soundlink Micro. The battery lasts for up to six hours, and it will also work as a speakerphone.
Just because it is small, it doesn’t mean it is delicate. The Bose Soundlink is waterproof too, so you can drop it in water and be confident it will come out the other side unscathed. It’s is also able to take a few knocks without smashing to pieces. Although we wouldn’t recommend deliberately trying to break it. It’s still €119.
Marshall Acton II bluetooth speaker
There are three versions of the Marshall Acton II. One is the simple Bluetooth speaker. It offers great sound, wireless connectivity and a retro look. The second offers all the same features but with Amazon’s Alexa built in for voice control, for an additional fee. And the third is compatible with Google’s voice assistant. The speaker is also compatible with Marshall’s multi-room system, and will stream music over bluetooth and wifi. My favourite thing about the Marshall range though is its looks: it is designed to look like a guitar amp.
Sony SRS-XB01 bluetooth speaker
Sony’s mini speaker does big bass. Or at least, big for its size. The portable speaker is mini both in size and (currently) on price, as it’s on sale for €24. The device links up to your phone, and will play your music for about six hours before needing a recharge. Water resistance means you can take it out and about, plus there’s a carrying strap for extra safety. It is also available in a range of colours.