I road tested these Bluetooth speakers, all available for under $100. Some were great for travelling, some looked great on my desk, some worked well as a hands free phone kit and one even charged my phone whilst it played music.
Features: Built in 4000mAh battery to charge your phone whilst playing. Power output of 10W ( 2 x 5W end mounted speakers)
Pros: The LuguLake II speaker at 456g (1.1lbs) feels very solid and well constructed. The aluminium shell would be a great addition to your office desk. The stand supports your phone in portrait or landscape orientation. The device automatically switches off after a period of inactivity.
Cons: The high quality finish of the speaker might get scratched if taken on your travels. There is no power adaptor or wall plug included in the box. The product description leaflet could be edited to improve some of the English phrasing and make it more readable.
Overall impression: This gives great sound due to the end-mounted speakers. The fidelity and range is good and the production quality is really good for the cost. The sound quality is great. You will need to buy a protective case if you want to take it on your travels as the finish could easily be scratched. A good charger / speaker combo in the mid-range price.
Features: Maximum power of 4W. It boasts 15-20 hours of playback time. I ran out of phone battery before the speaker battery died. Standby time is 300 hours.
Pros: The EasyAcc is a nice compact speaker which feels solid. It has a carrying pouch and solid rubber buttons on top to play, pause, and change the volume. Tapping the volume buttons skips to the next or previous track. The speaker also acts as a hands free device to answer and manage calls. The manual is written in good English.
Cons: The speaker did not immediately appear in the list to pair with my 1520. Turning the speaker on and off and turning my Bluetooth stack off did not work. I had to reboot my phone to get the speaker in my list, pairing was then easy.
Overall impression: I could travel with this speaker. At 300g (10.6oz) it doesn’t weigh too much. It is well made, and looks like a miniature Sonos speaker. The sound is good, bass gives a good reverb and the battery life is excellent.
Features: Power output of 6W (Two speakers each of 3W)
Pros: The Inateck speaker external rubber case seems rugged and would be suitable when travelling. The Bluetooth v4.0 connection includes audio for hands free calls and redialling. At 390g (13.75oz) it felt solid and well made. Bluetooth button can be used to pause music playback.
Cons: If the speaker is switched on it does not show the green indicator light. The instruction manual, although written in excellent English and German does not mention that the device needs to be switched off to show this.
Overall impression: The sound did not seem as resonant or as loud as some of the other speakers, although I like the ability to change the volume on the speaker itself. In the user manual there is a warning, not to charge the speaker using anything other than a PC USB port, or a phone USB charger. I was concerned that I would inadvertently use the wrong charger. The speaker phone worked well on calls and texting using Siri or Cortana voice assistants.
Features: Power output of 5W through one speaker. Device automatically turns off after 15 minutes if it can not pair with another device
Pros: The iClever speaker looks expensive, made from highly polished metal. There is a solid feel to the device, it weighs 361g(11.1 oz), and a long playing time of up to 12 hours. It was really quick to pair. As the speaker is on top of the device it gives a good spread of sound
Cons: I had to turn it off using the power button on the bottom for it to see my phone again – just a minor issue. Constantly picking the speaker up to forward or rewind the track, or adjust the volume meant that the high gloss surface soon became marked with finger prints.
Overall impression: This is a lovely looking device with a very stylish design. For a tiny Bluetooth speaker, this really has a nice sound. The bass makes the table vibrate. It has good output as a speaker phone and works well with voice assistants such as Siri and Cortana. My only gripe is the controls on the bottom of the device, necessary for speaker placement.