3 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Bluetooth Speaker

Ever since smartphones have started to appear in homes all over the world, innovators have been developing tools that interact with them. You can either choose to use the phone itself as a replacement for an entire ensemble of electronics, or you can add electronics to it for enhancement. Bluetooth devices have turned the phone into a portal for all sorts of different added functionality. Speakers, in particular, have become highly popular with certain crowds, making them one of the most-purchased accessories for mobile devices in the market. Before you buy one of these, though, there are a few things you should know.

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Perhaps this might be a no-brainer to you, but maybe you saw one of those advertisements that make a Bluetooth speaker seem like a movie theater in a box. Indeed, some top-of-the-line speakers – and even some of the basic ones – possess a significant amount of stopping power. They’re impressive for their size, but don’t buy one thinking you’re going to get an earth-shaking experience.

If you’re looking for dimension, however, you’d do well with something like the Pure Jongo S340B. Get something with a subwoofer if you want some boom. If you know what you like, go with it. Fortunately for us, the marketing behind Bluetooth speakers isn’t full of gimmicks.

Even though Bluetooth speakers are pretty much a normal pair of speakers with wireless connectivity, you still have to watch out for a few things…

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You can’t just go out willy-nilly and buy yourself a Bluetooth speaker. Consider the version of Bluetooth the speaker you want and your phone are compatible with. If you buy a Bluetooth 4.0 speaker for a phone that only supports version 2.1, the speaker will work, but you will have spent money unnecessarily. If you happen to have a phone compatible with Bluetooth 4.0, consider your comfort level. If you don’t consider it an inconvenience to pair devices traditionally, you don’t need 4.0. Also, the energy-saving features of Bluetooth 4.0 fly out the window when you use your speaker, since it isn’t pushing data to your phone, but consistently streaming data from it and converting it into sound.

The only tangible advantage that Bluetooth 4.0 presents in a speaker is the ability to pair via near-field communication (NFC). In other words, you can pair the device to your phone by simply bumping the two together. This is unbelievably convenient for some, but unnecessary for others. If you find yourself in the latter crowd, you don’t need to dump an extra $30 just because a speaker is compatible with the latest version. Focus on other features.

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Bluetooth speakers aren’t magic. They function much like any other speaker. However, they’re not all equal. Some of them fit in your pocket, while others clip onto your car’s sun visor. Some work better as voice call speakers, while others are excellent party accessories.

Before buying a speaker, it’s absolutely imperative that you first think about what you would use it for. Are you often sharing music with your friends, or do you listen by yourself while travelling? Are you just going to use it for voice calls, or do you want to enhance your movie experience? As soon as you’ve figured this all out, weigh out the different features and pick out a Bluetooth speaker that best fits you.

If you’ve got any questions about Bluetooth speakers, leave them below in the comments!

9 comments

  1. I use my portable bluetooth speaker for music and streaming videos. But when I play videos there is about a one second lag between the video stream and the audio stream. The reason for this signal delay is obvious given that the Android device needs to transmit the audio stream to an external speaker device causing a delay in transmission. I know that there is a feature in many digital televisions, including my Sony Bravia, that allows the user to sync the video and audio streams. I was wondering whether a similar feature is available for Android devices, such as smartphones and tablets, running 4.1 and above. If there isn’t such a feature yet, then perhaps Android ought to consider it in their next build.

    • It seems to be a problem with the speaker itself. Are you keeping the speaker close to the phone? This could help. There is no delay in BT transmission, but some speakers have very cheap hardware for processing the audio signal and converting it to analog sound. Read reviews of your speaker and see if others have the same problem. Try it on another device just to make sure that your phone isn’t the culprit, although that is unlikely.

  2. It’s my impression that the sound through my bluetooth connection (2.0) is inferior to that through the headphone jack; i don’t know whether it’s limited in dynamic range, or frequency response, or what. or am i imagining it?
    thanks.

    • Have you tried the speaker through someone else’s device? It’s possible that the speaker is the problem, not the phone. Or maybe it’s the music in particular, compressed to a point where it doesn’t really have the quality it would have with a 192 kbps bitrate.

  3. I bought a bluetooth speaker that works great, has a built in microphone and a few other extra features. Well it got knocked off of my table and hit the floor and no longer works. I’m a System Administrator and dabble in electronics so I took it apart to see if it was repairable. I could probably fix it but I just don’t think I want to fool with making it work the way it was originally intended. So now I have two small tweeter like speakers and a VERY small microphone and was wanting to see if you or any of your readers had any good suggestions on what I could do with them. Thanks for the article as always!

  4. yessss my Jawbone jambox 250.00 retail will not pair with any of my devices running android over 4.04. So it only works with my old galaxy tablet 10.1 but my galaxy note or s3.

  5. Korus speakers are great…..on my friends iPhone. Anyone know if they will be offering a droid version? These are non blue tooth or WiFi.
    Running on a SKAA system. The sound and cost are better than sonos with less hassle, I could not play and hear u tube video with sonos w/o playbar $699!

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