monster beats solo headphones Two fantastic speakers let your rock out with your phone
You’ll find no shortage of compact, wireless speaker devices intended for use with smartphones and tablets.
Sorting out which one to buy can be difficult, though, so start with your device.
If it’s an Apple one, you will have more choices. Some of the fancier ones incorporate a wireless feature called “AirPlay” for streaming audio from your device to the speaker with excellent sound quality. Speakers with docks for iPhones and iPads are common, too.
If you have a non Apple mobile device, cross AirPlay speakers off the list. This leaves an audio technology called Bluetooth, which has slightly inferior audio quality, but is ubiquitous and works with most phones and tablets (including the Apple ones).
Bluetooth devices tend to be cheaper than AirPlay equivalents, too, though there are prominent exceptions.
AirPlay has the advantage of flexibility since it piggybacks on a home’s Wi Fi network, and is therefore controllable at greater distances than a Bluetooth device.
With all of the above as preamble, consider my two latest finds. It doesn’t come cheap at $400, either, but it’s one of the nicest such products I’ve ever used.
Above all, I like how it sounds Great!
Non Apple mobile gizmos can play via an auxiliary port, which all such speakers have Jack in with an audio cable and you’re rockin’. This arrangement is less flexible, however, since it keeps you from using your device while audio is playing.
I recommend this speaker though I’ll warn you AirPlay has been a bit quirky in my experiences with non Apple audio gear.
AirPlay setup with iHome’s $300 iW1 speaker was pretty convoluted (involving a downloadable app and a number of steps), and maintaining a reliable AirPlay connection was often problematic.
I’m having similar issues with the UE. Sometimes my iPhone can see the speaker on the shared Wi Fi network. Sometimes it cannot. This is annoying. Good thing I can dock the iPhone which isn’t an option with the iW1 and the newer $200 iW2.
This is why I love my old Apple iPod Hi Fi speaker, which has aged well and will dock any Apple handheld device, but not an iPad. AirPlay can be added via Apple’s AirPort Express Wi Fi router with few of the connectivity issues I’ve seen when trying third party AirPlay compatible devices.
You can use the AirPort Express with any non AirPlay speaker, for that matter.
It sounds awesome, though, and is highly flexible for households that might have a combination of Apple and non Apple handheld devices. An iPhone or iPod Touch can dock on top. Bluetooth means virtually all devices Apple and non Apple can connect wirelessly. Optionally, use an AirPort Express to add AirPlay capability.
The Beats is “portable” only the sense that it work run off a bunch of those huge D Cell batteries, a feature shared by my iPod Hi Fi. I did that only once with my old pal The batteries ran down pretty quickly.