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9 best Bluetooth speakers 2021: Best portable speakers to shop

Whether you’re hanging out in the backyard or heading to a lesser-known beach for some socially-distanced relaxation, a few tunes usually make everything better. But the market is flooded with Bluetooth speakers and it’s easy to get turned around, which might mean you'll ultimately buy something sub-par. To help you get a lay of the land in the portable speakers space, we've compiled some of the best portable speakers to shop right now, with options across different price points and with different features.

While there are always new Bluetooth speakers coming out, we haven't heard much this year that surpasses what we've heard from the best brands on the market. Here are our favorites you can buy right now.

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How to buy the best portable speakers

When it comes to outdoor, portable Bluetooth speakers, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Portable speaker size

The smaller the speaker, the easier it is to lug around in your backpack. Larger speakers will produce better sound at higher volumes.

Speaker volume

Just because something sounds good in your bedroom doesn’t mean it’ll sound good in the backyard. A speaker’s wattage rating can help you determine the max volume it can handle, though not all companies list watts on their spec pages.

Sound quality

You want a speaker that can clearly reproduce your music with a balanced sound. Speakers that can’t produce enough bass may sound tinny or shrill, while speakers that overdo the bass may sound muddy compared to more balanced options.

Portable speakers’ durability and water resistance

If you plan on bringing your speaker to the pool or on a hike, you’ll want something with a bit of shock protection or water resistance. You can read about water resistance ratings in our guide, but most of the speakers on this list are rated IPX7, which means they’re designed to be submerged in water — though I wouldn’t dunk them just willy-nilly.

Extra features

If you download a speaker’s companion app, it may come with other goodies. Some may have an equalizer that lets you adjust the bass and treble, while many allow you to pair multiple speakers from the same brand for synchronized music across ever larger spaces.

Portable speaker prices

Cost fluctuates on Bluetooth speakers a lot, to the point where a certain color of a superior speaker may drop below the price of its normally-cheaper competitor. Make sure you’re getting a good deal by shopping around.

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Best portable speakers

With all that in mind, after testing a number of Bluetooth speakers — and tying in my years of experience using and writing about speakers from popular brands — here's guidance to help you find some of the best portable speakers you can buy right now.

Best all-around portable speaker: JBL

1. JBL Flip 5 Portable Speaker

Of all the options out there, the JBL Flip 5 sounds the best for its size and price, with decently strong bass and a clear midrange that’s perfect for bringing out guitars and vocals. Combine that with tons of color options and the ability to pair with other JBL products for a multi-speaker setup, and it’s one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy — as long as you don’t need to pump the volume too high.

Best loud and feature-heavy portable speaker: Ultimate Ears

2. Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Portable Speaker

Ultimate Ears’ Boom 3 hits a similar sweet spot of size, sound quality and affordability. While the Boom 3 doesn’t sound quite as good as the JBL Flip 5, it does get noticeably louder, and its slightly more bass-heavy sound does well with hip-hop and electronic music. It can pair with other Boom speakers for synchronized music, and has other creature comforts like an in-app equalizer, a sold-separately wireless charging dock and more. If the Boom 3 is a bit small for you, check out UE’s larger Megaboom 3 instead.

Best eco-friendly portable speaker: House of Marley

3. House of Marley Get Together Portable Audio System

The Get Together speaker is no small investment but might be a fit for anyone looking to go with a speaker boasting earth-friendly materials. The speaker is partially composed of bamboo, cotton and hemp.

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Best value portable speaker: Soundcore

4. Soundcore Motion+ Portable Speaker

Anker’s Soundcore Motion+ keeps it simple: great sound at an affordable price. The Motion+ gets noticeably louder than the similarly-priced Flip 5 and has a bigger battery, while sounding almost as good — but not quite. It also isn’t as portable, but it does boast an equalizer and multi-speaker pairing in Soundcore’s app, just like its competitors.

Best affordable portable speaker: Tribit

5. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker

If you aren’t looking to spend much, Tribit has some of the best budget Bluetooth speakers in the business. Their XSound Go speaker may not fill your entire backyard with sound, but for nearby listening, it’ll sound great at a very affordable price.

Best clip-on, compact portable speaker: Tribit

6. Tribit Stormbox Micro Portable Speaker

Adventurous types looking for a clip-on speaker should check out Tribit’s Stormbox Micro. It’s louder and bassier than the other similarly-sized clip-on speakers I’ve tested, and it’ll strap on to just about anything: your bike, your backpack, or your off-roading stroller. If you don’t need a clip-on but want something in a similar price range, Tribit’s regular Stormbox is fantastic, too.

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Best portable speaker with built-in charger: JBL

7. JBL Charge 5 Portable Speaker

While all the Bluetooth speakers on this list have built-in batteries so you can rock out wirelessly, stepping up in price gets you speakers like the JBL Charge 5 — they can use that battery to charge your phone while also powering the music.

Best Bluetooth speaker with Alexa built-in: Ultimate Ears

8. Ultimate Ears Blast Portable Speaker

If you like the look of the Boom but prefer to control the music hands-free, Ultimate Ears’ Blast line of speakers adds Alexa microphones to the mix, so you never need to touch your phone. For a bigger sound, check out the Megablast.

Best portable boombox: JBL

9. JBL Boombox 2 Portable Speaker

Most of these speakers will do well for small-to-medium sized spaces — and frankly, that’s probably enough if you don’t want your neighbors to hate you. But for pool parties and backyard barbecues that require more sound, the JBL Boombox 2 sounds fantastic and can crank the volume much higher.

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Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations and download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.

Whitson Gordon

Whitson Gordon is a former freelance technology writer with bylines in the New York Times, Popular Science Magazine, PC Magazine and more. Previously, he was the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker and How-To Geek.

Sours: https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-bluetooth-portable-speakers-ncna1232223

jbl xtreme speaker wont turn on unless plugged

I FOUND THE FIX.

Yesterday I pulled out my speaker to use (Extreme 2) and it showed as connected BT but no sound coming from the unit. [I believe this was due to the most recent iPhone update as the issue was later corrected after first connecting to my laptop via BT then to my iPhone afterwards, which I will touch on later] Anyways…

So, the issue; My speaker powers on, connects to BT but no sounds coming out? We tried with 4 different iPhones, no avail. Then I look up how to factory reset. Here is where I messed up and I believe where most are getting lost. Instead of holding (volume +) and (play/pause) to reset, I mistakenly held the (JBL Connect +) and (Volume +) which seemed to have put the speaker in this weird mode where it would only power on when plugged into the wall and I could only get music to pay via 3.5mm jack. When it is in this mode, the unit only powers on while plugged in to the wall power socket, and the power button lights up white rather then the blue color I was used to seeing. I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET OUT OF THIS MODE. Then, lightbulb moment.

I just repeated what I had done to cause the issue in the first place….

I plugged into wall to get power light to turn on(White), then I held the (JBL Connect +) and the (volume +) button until the speaker turned off. Unplugged the power cord, tapped power button and sure enough the speaker powered back on with the blue power light and allowed me to connect to bluetooth. (This is where I found out the initial issue may have been apple). Even after having power light blue, and having device showing as connected in my phone, still no music coming from speaker just like the night before. So this time, instead of iPhone I connected the speaker to my Microsoft laptop, played a youtube video for a few seconds and the sounds came perfectly through the speaker. Then, I connected my phone to the speaker and it is working perfectly again.

JBL Customer support was no help, they tried to figure it out for a minute on the phone and then tried to get me to send in my unit for them to look at even though I am outside of the 1 year warranty. They were trying to scam me into sending them my $400 speaker that was not broken so they can give me a “discount” on a new unit since my unit was out of 1 year factory warranty. I am glad I got it working but I will never purchase another JBL product again. I’ll save up a little extra and go Bose or Sonos from Costco as their customer service is night and day compared to the JBL I experienced. If you do decide to purchase JBL because they are affordable, I would suggest only purchasing from well known vendors who extend the warranty as JBL will be of no help to you if there ever comes a time you need to reach out to them. I’ve been using Costco for everything the last couple of years and they are the best, especially if you have the Citi card for extra extended warranty..

Glad I got the speaker working. It was looking like a bulky paperweight there for a bit.

I was very frustrated with this as we rarely use the speaker, it never leaves our home and it is supposed to be this rugged waterproof last through anything speaker that somehow stopped working when sitting on our shelf unused. I really hope this helps someone out there. I got real heated real quick and the resolution was SO SIMPLE. Good luck.

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JBL Boombox vs Meridian Explorer 2

28 facts in comparison

JBL Boombox

Meridian Explorer 2

Why is JBL Boombox better than Meridian Explorer 2?

  • Has stereo speakers?
  • Has a subwoofer?
  • Has a passive radiator?
  • Control panel placed on a device?
  • Has an AUX input?
  • Can be used wirelessly?
  • Weather-sealed (splashproof)?
  • Has a rechargeable battery?

Why is Meridian Explorer 2 better than JBL Boombox?

  • 99.76% less body volume?
    58.75cm³vs24628.60125cm³
  • 5.2kg lighter?
    50gvs5250g
  • 393mm narrower?
    102mmvs495mm
  • 222.5mm shorter?
    32mmvs254.5mm
  • 177.5mm thinner?
    18mmvs195.5mm

Design

Volume is the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed by the product's chassis or, in simpler terms, the space the product occupies.

There is a control panel on the device body, so you can easily access the volume control or remote without having to interact with a cable or another device it's connected to.

The device is protected with extra seals to prevent failures caused by dust, raindrops, and water splashes.

The device is dustproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant devices can resist the penetration of water, such as powerful water jets, but not being submerged into water.

With a detachable cable you can use alternative cables, and if the cable is pulled it will pop out instead of breaking.

We consider a lower weight better because lighter devices are more comfortable to carry. A lower weight is also an advantage for home appliances, as it makes transportation easier, and for many other types of products.

The width represents the horizontal dimension of the product. We consider a smaller width better because it assures easy maneuverability.

The height represents the vertical dimension of the product. We consider a smaller height better because it assures easy maneuverability.

We consider a thinner chassis better because it makes the product more compact and portable. Thinness is a feature highlighted by many manufacturers of mobile devices, but it is essential for a wide range of products.

Sound quality

Devices with stereo speakers deliver sound from independent channels on both left and right sides, creating a richer sound and a better experience.

Devices with a subwoofer have a higher quality, deeper bass.

A passive radiator is a type of driver (speaker) that doesn't have a voice coil and a magnet. The sound vibrations produced by a passive radiator depend on its mass and the size of its enclosure. It is usually used in combination with a woofer to produce deep bass tones.

Connectivity

An auxiliary input allows you to play other audio sources by connecting them through a simple audio connection like a 3.5mm jack, i.e for MP3 or portable DVD/CD player.

The device can connect to Wi-Fi.

With more USB ports, you are able to connect more devices.

A standard 3.5mm male connector is suitable for use with all MP3 players and computer sound cards.

The device has a standard memory slot (such as an SD or micro SD card slot) that enables you to extend the built-in internal storage with affordable memory modules, or easily retrieve data, such as photographs, from the memory card.

Ethernet is a local area network technology.

Features

This technology allows the users to use their smartphone as a remote control for the device.

A built-in FM radio tuner allows you to listen to most of the live-broadcasted FM radio stations without using the internet.

You can use your voice to control key functions of the device and you can easily access your device without pushing any button.

With voice prompts, you will automatically receive information via audio messages – for instance, you may find out that the battery is running low, and it's time to recharge the device.

Which are the best portable speakers?

Anker Soundcore Motion Plus

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Level

Harman Kardon Citation 200

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Sours: https://versus.com/en/jbl-boombox-vs-meridian-explorer-2
How To Upgrade Fake JBL Xtreme Bluetooth Speaker

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Sours: https://www.jbl.com/bluetooth-speakers/
JBL XTREME RESET AND SECRET MODE
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