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Portable Bluetooth speakers: Big Jambox, Bose SoundLink, Nokia Play 360 compared

More and more of us are storing or streaming music on our mobile phones and as the summer outdoor season starts you may be considering a wireless speaker solution. I had the chance to take a look at three speaker options and ended up purchasing a pair for my own entertainment after checking out these three options.
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1 of 22 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

More and more of us are storing or streaming music on our mobile phones and as the summer outdoor season starts you may be considering a wireless speaker solution. I had the chance to take a look at three speaker options and ended up purchasing a pair for my own entertainment after checking out these three options.

Make sure to check out my full ZDNet Mobile Gadgeteer blog post for my experiences on using the three different speaker systems, including a video walk through of the systems.

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2 of 22 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Here you can see the three speakers out of the retail package. The red one is the Big Jambox, the gray/silver one is the Bose SoundLink, and the round one is the Nokia Play 360.

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3 of 22 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

These are the contents of the Nokia Play 360. Inside the retail package you will find a handy carrying case, wall charger, 3.5mm stereo cable, and Quick Start Guide.

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The speaker channels sound out the top of the Play 360 with the outside casing all in colored aluminum. There are volume down and up buttons on the front adjacent to the Nokia branding.

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There is a large button that you use to make the Bluetooth connection. The ring around the button lights up to show the connection status.

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The power button is on the left, the microUSB port in the center, and the line-in port is on the right.

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You can remove the bottom of the speaker and replace the battery. Nokia also included some simple diagrams to help you use your speaker.

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The Big Jambox comes in three different colors and as you can see all the included accessories are colored the same as the device itself. The box is rugged as well.

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The Big Jambox has a large battery so you need to use the included charger for the most economical charging. You can use microUSB, but it trickle charges very slowly. Jawbone also includes a stereo cable and a microUSB cable in the same color as the speaker you select.

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The 3.5mm stereo cable, 30 inches in length, is used to connect to devices that do not have Bluetooth support. I have found this useful for connecting to a DVD player while watching movies on a projector.

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11 of 22 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

I love that the Big Jambox has six control buttons on top so you can control your media without ever touching your mobile phone. This is the only unit of the three that supports this capability.

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12 of 22 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

There are buttons for power and pairing, along with ports for stereo connection, microUSB, and DC charging. These are found on the right end of the Big Jambox.

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13 of 22 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

You will find several rubber footpieces that help hold the Big Jambox from sliding around on a table. The wire mesh material surrounds four sides, while the ends are rubber/plastic solid material.

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Here you can see how the Big Jambox sizes up to the original Jambox. I like the original Jambox for traveling on the road.

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The Bose SoundLink comes with a stereo cable and wall charger.

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The line-in, microUSB, and DC charging port are found on the back. The microUSB port is used for updating the software on the speaker.

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There are six buttons on the top of the Bose SoundLink. The left three are for power, auxiliary selection, and Bluetooth selection.

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The right three buttons are for mute, volume down, and volume up.

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19 of 22 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The front cover flips down to reveal the speaker and then rotates around to act as a support. The speaker turns off when you close the flap and it offers protection for the speaker. Above the speaker you can see a thin black area that contains the indicator lights detailed in my post.

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Here you can see the flap under the speaker acting to support the speaker in its upright condition.

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Wireless speaker image gallery thumbnail 1

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Wireless speaker image gallery thumbnail 2

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