BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS have replaced the now somewhat redundant 'i-dock', as the market has become saturated with an army of wireless boom boxes in all shapes, sizes and prices due to people prefering to use their smartphones and tablets for audio playback.
The great thing about these portable players is that they free up music fans' iOS or Android devices and don't restrict their beloved gadget to a fixed dock, because they might have to undock their iPhone to check their latest Facebook notifications.
With this in mind, we've taken a look at a number of these Bluetooth speakers, from popular brands to lesser known models, putting them through their paces over the past few months to discover which ones are best for the job.
For those that want it all: Bose Soundlink Mini
If it's a good quality all-rounder you're looking for, then the Bose Soundlink Mini is perhaps the best portable wireless speaker, offering not only amazing sound reproduction and heavy base levels, but also stylishness and very high build quality that radiates class.
You'll be surprised by how big the sounds from this small, portable device are, and how well put together it feels. Retailing for just under £170, the Soundlink Mini doesn't come cheap, but it does come with an additional charging cradle for easier charging.
For those that want music in 3D: The Spaced 360
Spaced360 is the first portable Bluetooth speaker to boast the patented Airsound technology, previously seen in Orbitsound soundbars such as the M9, which produces a 360 degree sound from six "radiators", making use of "spatial sound", which refers to the firm's patented technology that takes advantage of "sum and difference" audio signals.
The speaker is wrapped in 3D formed metal grilles featuring three separate speakers to burst out 360 degree sound, meaning you can achieve 3D quality audio from anywhere in a room, without the need for a multiple speaker set up, or wiring. The Spaced360 speaker is the best portable Bluetooth speaker for those looking for surround sound from one device.
Retailing at £250, the Spaced360 portable speaker is available in black or silver colour options.
For the bass lovers: Beats Pill
If you like your music to medicate you with heavy heavy bass lines or you're simply an avid fan of painkillers, the Beats Pill is a modern looking and minimalistic compact speaker that offers impressive bass reproduction. Just don't try to swallow it.
Bearing the Dr Dre name, this hip gadget is lightweight enough to throw in a shoulder bag to take to the park while prescribing booming sounds for up to 30 feet away from the audio source.
What's more, the Pill also comes in an array of colurs: red, white, black, orange, pink and grey, one for each compartment of your medical dispenser. Probably a little pricier than your average medication, the Beats Pill portable speaker costs £170.
For the family: Bayan Audio Soundbook X3
Capable of filling a large room with rich sound, the Soundbook X3 by Bayan Audio might be an ideal companion for the family living quarters, offering a massive 20W of sound via its quad 1.5in drivers and passive bass for a bigger, fuller sound.
Priced at £250, the Soundbook X3 can not only drown a large room in sound via Bluetooth 4.0 but it also has an FM radio with an integrated aerial to satisfy any household's varied user preferences. Better yet, the aluminium enclosure ensures less energy loss, saving on rising electricity bills, and the stand flips over, closing it up like a book, hence the name, so it can be stored away safely from the hands of any younger family members.
For minimalists: Supertooth Disco 3
This modern looking little number is definitely aimed at those living by the mantra less is more. With clean lines and an overall minimalist design, the curvy Supertooth Disco 3's rather elegant but stylish outline along with its mono colour scheme ensures it will fare well in a fashion forward contemporary household.
But it doesn't just look good. Retailing for just £70, it kicks out 12 Watts of RMS audio power with two speakers on the front and a high efficiency bass reflex speaker at the rear.
As the control buttons reside on the top of the vase-like wireless speaker, guests will have no idea whether it's a kooky piece of artwork or just an oddly shaped ornament until you whack up the volume, scaring their wits out of them.
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