Bluetooth technology allows you to wirelessly connect your digital music player, mobile phone, laptop, or tablet to external speakers, giving a big boost to the sound quality and volume of your device. Bluetooth speakers will also work with desktop computers and some home A/V equipment, but they are primarily designed with portability in mind.
Some will fit in your pocket and have batteries that last all day. Once you complete a simple pairing process, any of our recommended Bluetooth speakers is ready to go. By consulting sites such as Macworld, CNET, The New York Times, iLounge, and Phone Arena, we’ve come up with this list of the top rated bluetooth speakers of 2011:
Soundfreaq Sound Platform ($180)
Currently, the Sound Platform by Soundfreaq is the top rated Bluetooth speaker dock, getting good reviews from CNET, iLounge, Pocket Lint and MacLife. CNET gives it a overall rating of “Very Good”, saying:
You’ll have a hard time finding a more stylish and feature-packed speaker choice in this price range. The inclusion of Bluetooth support makes it an attractive buy for iPad and smartphone owners.
Amazon reviewers also liked the Sound Platform, it received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, from over 100 reviewers.
Soundmatters FoxL v2 Bluetooth ($200)
Top Review Sources:
- Macworld: 4.0/5.0 “The FoxL’s sound is jaw-droppingly big, in dramatic inverse proportion to its size”
- CNET: 4.0/5.0 “The fidelity and build quality make it a worthwhile purchase for serious audiophiles on the run”
- New York Times: “This fascinating, coat-pocketable metal speaker oozes quality”
The Soundmatters FoxL v2 Bluetooth shocks reviewers by generating robust sound despite its small size. This candy bar-shaped wireless speaker includes technology to improve its wireless range and signal quality (two issues that particularly affect Bluetooth speakers), plus a built-in speakerphone for teleconferencing. The FoxL v2’s bass can be forceful enough to overpower its small frame, resulting in the device vibrating its way across a table if you don’t use the included rubber mat. Also available to stabilize the unit are a kickstand and rubber feet. The physical buttons are limited: an on/off switch and volume control. You’ll rely on your music player to switch tracks or pause playback. The FoxL v2 includes a rechargeable battery, AC adapter, mini-USB port (for slower, computer-based charging), and a 3.5mm line-in port. Battery life is estimated at five hours.
The Soundmatters FoxL v2 Bluetooth is available on Amazon.
Altec Lansing InMotion SoundBlade ($190)
Top Review Sources:
- Macworld: 4.0/5.0 “There’s none of the tinniness found in many speakers of this size”
- Amazon: 4.0/5.0 (90+ reviews)
- LAPTOP Magazine: 3.5/5.0 “The SoundBlade’s strongest asset is its sound separation”
The tablet-like Altec Lansing InMotion SoundBlade is on the larger side of Bluetooth speakers, but it makes the most of its size with expansive sound. Bass response is excellent for a Bluetooth speaker. Aside from its top-notch sound quality, the SoundBlade impresses with great ergonomics: the black buttons on the top edge are clearly labeled and include all the necessary functions (volume, play, pause, seek, and accept call). When not plugged in, the SoundBlade can operate for 24 continuous hours on six AA batteries. There is also a 3.5mm jack for wired sources, plus a pop-out stand in the back.
The Altec Lansing InMotion SoundBlade is available on Amazon.
Creative D100 ($65)
Top Review Sources:
- CNET: 4.0/5.0 “Impressive low-end range…[makes] it a worthwhile addition to your next outdoor get-together”
- iLounge: B+ (Recommended) “Sonically, the D100 is surprisingly robust for its price”
- Amazon: 4.0/5.0 (70+ reviews)
The Creative D100 is a compelling value. It is capable of filling a room with undistorted music at high volume, delivering sound quality that is a few notches above what reviewers expect at this price point. The D100 operates on AC power or on four AA batteries for up to 25 hours. The D100 matches the wireless range of much more expensive models, and its pairing procedure is among the easiest out there. There is a 3.5mm auxiliary port for wired connections. While more expensive models offer smaller and sturdier housings, the D100 is tough enough to move around frequently and comes in your choice of four color schemes: black/black, green/white, blue/white, and pink/white.
You can purchase Creative’s D100 on Amazon.
SuperTooth Disco ($122)
Top Review Sources:
- CNET: 4.0/5.0 “A solid alternative to the classic three-piece computer speaker set”
- Amazon: 4.5/5.0 (20+ reviews)
- Phone Arena: “We’re actually surprised to hear such rich tones being pumped out…but even more [surprised] when it’s able to powerfully echo throughout a room”
Reviewers like the SuperTooth Disco because its sound quality, battery life, and design make it seem like a bargain for its relatively low price. At a foot long and about 2.5 pounds, the Disco is less portable than many other Bluetooth speakers, yet its responsive bass and room-filling volume make listeners forget about its form factor. Reviewers also appreciate the rechargeable battery, which allows the Disco anywhere between three and ten hours of continuous playback (depending on volume). Like all the speakers reviewed here, the Disco includes a 3.5mm jack for wired inputs, plus a selection of physical buttons you can use to control playback directly from the speaker. Pairing is straightforward, though keep in mind that you can’t use the Disco as a speakerphone.
The SuperTooth Disco is available on Amazon.
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