Top 4 Speaker Systems to Pair with your Device

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Carrying a smartphone gives you all sorts of conveniences for today’s lifestyles. One thing I find myself using my phone for the most is music. Streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, and the reasonable storage spaces phones are offering, give me a good way to avoid listening to commercials on the radio when all I want to listen to is music. The downfall is the tiny speakers your smartphone has. This is no big deal if you’re around the office or in between classes – just throw in your headphones for better sound. But when I am at home relaxing or hanging out with friends, headphones are not really a good option. My go-to is my home theater system.

With 3 subwoofers, 2,595 watts of total power and front speakers weighing in at 89lbs apiece, music really comes alive. However, for most people this is going to be overkill, not to mention the fact your spouse would have to learn to live with large speakers and all the wires that go with. Plus, a lot of people may get intimidated having to deal with all of this equipment.

Thankfully, way back in 1984 Dr. Bose and the Bose Corporation released the AW-1, which I would consider the godfather of compact speaker systems (it really isn’t all that compact by today’s standards, but you have to start somewhere). The AW-1 eliminated the separate components, wires and multiple remotes.

Roll the clock forward a few years: we have made some great strides in compact speaker systems – including the addition of Bluetooth connectivity, which took care of the woes of all those wires – making them play quite well with today’s (OtterBox encased) smartphones, tablets and MP3 players.


The Bose Soundlink Mini


Retails for: $199.95

While a bit pricey, the Bose Soundlink Mini offers a quality build. The sound is excellent for its size, roughly 2x2x7 and just 1.5 lbs., and it has a docking station that makes charging convenient. The Soundlink Mini does not offer speaker-phone capability, which is disappointing for the price point.


AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker


Retails for: $49.99

 Amazon jumped into the game with its AmazonBasics line of portable speakers. They offer 4 different sizes and the model dubbed “Portable” is the one that interests me. It is slightly larger than the Bose Soundlink but offers nearly double the battery life. It has a speaker-phone function as well. While I don’t think it sounds quite as good as the Bose Soundlink, the price is a lot easier to swallow.


Outdoor Technology – Big Turtle Shell


Retails for: $229.95

This is the biggest speaker of the portable bunch, but it has a couple of features the others do not. The Big Turtle Shell will play music for up to 5 hours and hang out in standby mode for 700 hours. It has a USB power output so you can recharge your phone, tablet or even a GoPro camera. The Big Turtle Shell also offers IPX5 protection against dust and water intrusion so you can take it anywhere, and the larger size will offer more audio output, which is okay in my book.


Sonos Play: 1


Retails for: $199

While the Sonos Play: 1 won’t be on-the-go with you, it’s a solid choice to have around the house. It has the most features by far, two worth noting: It is expandable. You have the ability to pair two speakers together for stereo listening. They can be spread out around the house for a distributed audio system, or even linked together with other Sonos products for a 5.1 surround sound setup. Secondly, the multi-room setup can be controlled wirelessly from a free app, downloadable on your Android or iOS device.


These are a few of my choices. I know some people certainly won’t agree with them, but there is no one-size-fits-all for audio. You have to find what sounds the best to you and works the best with your lifestyle. Happy listening!






About the author

Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen

I spend my free time skiing, snowboarding, boating and four-wheeling. I also enjoy spending time in the garage tinkering and working on my house. In a former life I installed home theaters professionally.

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