How to choose a portable speaker

When choosing a portable speaker, you should pay attention to connection standard and some other technical specifications devices.

How to choose a portable speaker

How to choose a portable speaker: what to look for

Key criteria when choosing a portable speaker are:

  1. Connection standard (wireless, wired, reading external drives);

  2. Battery capacity and type of built-in batteries;

  3. Number of speakers and other acoustic characteristics;

  4. Additional functionality.

  5. The manufacturer is also important.

Main selection criteria

Type of connection

There are three types of connecting a portable speaker to a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device:

  1. Wired (via line input);

  2. Wireless via Bluetooth;

  3. Wireless via AirPlay.

In addition, some speakers also support connection. external drives – memory cards, USB flash drives, even hard drives low power or separate power.

Line in has maximum compatibility. Portable speakers equipped with this jack can work with almost any multimedia device that has an output for headphones – portable player, radio, mobile phone, smartphone, tablet, etc. In addition, this standard connection requires less battery consumption – as the most speakers, and the device connected to it.

The disadvantage of a line input is that it requires wired connection, so drop the column and head off the device “for a walk” connected to it will not work.

Bluetooth is the most common communication standard used in portable speakers. Implies wireless connectivity by appropriate protocol.

Wireless connectivity has many advantages over wired. Firstly, you do not have to carry an AUX cable with you. Secondly, you can leave the column in any one place, and take a smartphone connected with you – outdoors Bluetooth 4.1 has a range of about 40-50 meters. AND finally, when you turn on the column is automatically connected to smartphone, because it stores data for authentication.

The disadvantage is the low autonomy of devices connected via bluetooth. Both smartphones and speakers discharge quickly enough. – in about a few hours. However, this time is enough for most cases.

When choosing such a column, you should first draw attention to the standard bluetooth used. The higher it is, the it’s better. Bluetooth 4.1 provides better autonomy and greater radius of action than 4.0. However, the current standards of this both the telephone and the wireless protocol must support portable speaker. If any of them use Bluetooth 4.0, the transfer will be carried out according to this standard.

Additionally, Bluetooth speakers can be equipped with an NFC module. FROM With this technology, the pairing of the speaker and the phone will occur very fast – literally with one touch. Function is enough useful, but is it worth it to overpay for it – a separate question. After all pairing in most cases occurs once all the time column work.

AirPlay Connectivity – Another Wireless Standard communication. Only it uses not Bluetooth, but Wi-Fi. High speed data transfer theoretically allows playback on speakers Hi-fi music. Practically speaker quality is overwhelming in most cases not high enough to hear the whole soundstage of music in a similar bitrate.

The disadvantage of such columns is obvious – in fact, they cannot be taken out outside the apartment. When using “in the field” will have to pick up a local Wi-Fi network on another smartphone.

MicroUSB or Lightning speakers, similar linear input devices save battery power smartphone and its own built-in battery. However they must communicate by cable with a mobile device.

Speakers equipped with SD and USB connectors can play music from memory cards and flash drives, respectively. This allows use them even without connecting with a smartphone. The function is convenient, but only if appropriate media is available information.

Speakers with FM radio, as the name implies, can play public radio stations. The practical benefits of this function is not very much, but at least such a device will miss you with a shrunken smartphone and missing external drives with music.

Battery capacity and type of batteries installed

The power source for portable speakers can serve as installable batteries in sizes AA, AAA or even D; like that built-in batteries, most often lithium-ion.

Installed batteries are most often used in budget portable speakers. Battery life directly depends on the quality of these batteries and averages few hours. Recharge rechargeable batteries in in most cases they cannot and therefore after “landing” just replaced by new ones – which increases the cost of use column. But, going on a trip, you can take with you several spare batteries.

Speakers with a built-in battery are more practical. At a discharged battery the device can simply be connected to computer, power supply, power bank or car adapter to recharge. There is only one “but” – during charging the vast majority of portable speakers just don’t work.

Battery life of portable speakers with built-in battery depends on the capacity of the latter. She can indicated in milliamp hours (however, manufacturers rarely indicate the exact value of this parameter), and in directly battery life. Last parameter more adequate.

However, if the battery capacity is indicated in milliampere-hours, it is worth remembering – the higher it is, the longer the portable will work column. It is desirable that it be more than 2000 mAh.

Acoustic characteristics

acoustic characteristics

There are two acoustic parameters that should be addressed. attention when buying a portable speaker – the number of speakers (sound configuration) and the total power of the device.

The number of speakers determines the soundstage. So u portable speakers with mono it will be flat anyway (even if some frequencies prevail), but with stereo – surround. There are three types of sound configurations:

  1. Mono. A single speaker is used that emits a flat speaker. sound. However, this configuration is sufficient for most cases – unless, of course, the performers added a couple to the song effects that can only be distinguished on stereo channels;

  2. Stereo. Two speakers are used that produce surround sound. A universal solution for fans of a wide sound stage and various effects;

  3. 2.1. Two speakers are complemented by a subwoofer that produces deep and saturated bass. Unfortunately, speakers with such a sound configuration quickly discharges the internal battery. But the width scenes and overall audio quality will delight even the burnt music lover.

For most cases, a portable speaker with enough mono or stereo.

The power of the speakers determines the ultimate volume. Than she the more – the, accordingly, the music will play louder. Not less, this parameter is not too objective, so it’s worth pay attention only secondarily.

In addition, high power speakers discharge more the battery and therefore are characterized by a short battery life work.

It is worth noting that the budget models of portable speakers with high-power speakers can greatly distort the sound – appears “growl” or other unpleasant factors seem unnecessary reverb.

Additional functionality

additional functionality

Among the additional features of portable speakers you can highlight:

  1. The presence of a mount or carabiner allows you to place column on the wall, belt, belt, etc. It makes use device more convenient. Speakers with a pen.

  2. Work as a power bank is found only in speakers that are equipped with a built-in battery. They are capable in a critical situation, recharge the smartphone. Of course, after this operation column battery life will decrease.

  3. Dust and water protection – the most important functions for those who want take a portable speaker with you on picnics or in suburban trips. Or at least to the bathroom. Moisture protection and dust is indicated by IP certificate. Higher two-digit number after this symbol – the more reliable the device resists the action aggressive external factors. The vast majority of protected portable speakers certified to IP66. Such a device completely impervious to dust and withstands short-lived water contact. But speakers with a degree of protection IP68 can even briefly “drown”.

  4. Connection mode combines two speakers into one “stereo system”. The function is quite useful, but one stereo device is usually costs less than two mono.

  5. Built-in equalizer allows you to fine-tune sound quality for individual preferences. He can be as band (you can set the intensity of individual sets frequencies), and equipped with presets (separate packages parameters for each genre). The presence of a built-in equalizer can to compensate for the shortcomings or increase the advantages of sound portable speaker scenes.

However, in the absence of an equalizer built into the column, you can use installed on a smartphone, player or other source of sound.

Top manufacturers

The best manufacturers of portable speakers are:

  1. JBL. Largest portable wireless speakers that known for the widest range and very good quality of its products. For example, he became a pioneer in the market completely. waterproof devices;

  2. Sony Produce portable speakers for fans of tangible bass. Acoustics use branded magnets and high-quality electronics, including integrated sound cards and virtual amplifiers for the most pleasant sound;

  3. Harman / Kardon, Bose, Marshall – top manufacturers, producing high-end acoustics. Accordingly, portable columns for their authorship provide rich, bright and clean sounding without an overabundance of any of the frequencies (if this is not the performer conceived, of course). The main drawback is very high price, an average of 200-300 dollars;

  4. Xiaomi. The leader of the budget market. Releases cheap but not much lousy wireless speakers. Ideal choice for use with branded smartphones, since the MIUI equalizer often contains loudness presets for certain branded accessories.

  5. You can also highlight the company Beats, which produces a very Popular portable speakers. But they have an important drawback – very high and always overpriced. In addition, quality the sound is provided by literally one single model – Pill 2.

  6. Ultra-budget manufacturers such as Sven, Defender or 3Q, characterized by amazing “instability.” Sometimes they produce both high-quality speakers and frank nonsense. Therefore, before buying a column from one of these companies is meticulously examine reviews.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose radio and secrets of choosing a vinyl player.


Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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