A portable Bluetooth speaker represents the cheapest way to upgrade the sound of your phone. They also allow you to take any party outdoors thanks to their ruggedness and extreme portability. Not all are created equal, though, but we’re sure you’ll be able to find a Bluetooth speaker with a set of features that will perfectly fit your needs and budget. Below are the Sony SRS-XB12, JBL Flip 5, and Marshall Stockwell II. All three are on sale at Best Buy starting from just $40. Read on to peruse which one suits you best.
The Sony SRS-XB12 is proof that a tiny portable speaker can have it all: Great sound, fully waterproof housing, and best of all, affordability. At just $40 at Best Buy (down from the usual $60), this Bluetooth speaker may be cheap, but that doesn’t mean it performs cheap. Weighing in at a mere 8.6 ounces and measuring roughly 3.7 x 3.0 inches, this speaker is small enough to fit inside a tote bag or even an oversized coat pocket. A metallic grille protects a single 46mm driver which is responsible for the killer audio. It can go surprisingly loud without any noticeable distortions, with a bass that packs plenty of punch. Of course, it doesn’t compare to any large speaker with an actual subwoofer, but it’s good nonetheless. Finally, the SRS-XB12’s IP67 rating is pretty rare for a speaker at this price point. It’s fully waterproof, provided the cover protecting the ports is closed. The Sony SRS-XB12 will make you forget that you’re listening to a really small speaker. Get it for just $40 at Best Buy.
JBL’s Flip 4 was our choice for the best rugged Bluetooth speaker of 2020, offering a potent combination of stellar sound, ruggedness, and affordability. Its latest iteration, the Flip 5, gratifyingly remains the same, albeit with a few notable improvements. The larger cabinetry results in a bigger sound with more bass power, better battery life, and a USB-C port for quick charging. Its biggest selling point, the ability to be submerged in meter-deep water without getting damaged, remains intact, making this the perfect companion for beach and pool parties. Control buttons are pretty standard, including play/pause, track skipping (you can’t skip backward though), and volume control. Finally, when fully charged, the Flip 5 can last an impressive 12 hours. For epic ruggedness and remarkable sound, get the JBL Flip 5 at Best Buy for $90 instead of $120 – a cool $30 off.
For really powerful audio mixed with a pleasingly vintage design, take a careful look at the Marshall Stockwell II. This portable Bluetooth speaker really stands out in a sea of capsule-shaped blandness. Looking like a guitar amplifier, it might not be as portable as the first two models on this list (it weighs a hefty three pounds) but it sure boasts a sound that’s easily the best of the three. Featuring a Blumlein Stereo Sound construction, the audio gets thrown in every direction, and with three class D amplifiers powering its subwoofer and front/rear tweeters, the sound it creates is rich, well-balanced, and perfect. Furthermore, you can easily customize your sound experience using the bass, treble, and volume control knobs found on the top panel. Planning on having a beach party? Not to worry. The Marshall Stockwell II boasts an IPX4 rating, which means it can withstand the occasional splashes of water. It’s not fully waterproof though unlike the Sony SRS-XB12 and JBL Flip 5, and those two cost way less. Finally, this speaker is capable of delivering a whopping 20 hours of playtime on a single charge, and with quick charging, you’ll be able to enjoy six hours of playtime after just 20 minutes of charging. For a truly impressive sound packaged with style, get the Marshall Stockwell II at Best Buy today for $161 instead of $200.
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