Speakers have come a long way, from big boom boxes compact ones shaped like jars of jam and donuts. Not to mention, they’ve gone wireless. We’ve rounded up the best of the small, wire-free, Bluetooth enabled speakers on the market, primed for hitting the road with you.
1. iriver Blank BTS-SD1 Sound Donut
Why We Like It: Thinking outside the cube, this fun ring-shaped stereo speaker features built-in 3D audio effects and a touch button interface. On a full charge, it can pump out nine hours of continuous music, act as a speakerphone for 11 hours of call time, or stand by for over two weeks. Available in Classy Black, Snow White, Love Me Pink, and Cocktail Blue, it’s just as happy dangling, standing, or sitting anywhere you want some tunes—though ideally not too close to its natural enemy, the coffee cup.
How Much: $100
Buy It: Visit Buy.com.
2. Outdoor Technology Turtle Shell
Why We Like It: This angular and aptly named speaker is ready to travel, indoors and out. It is dust, shock, and water resistant. It’s got tripod threading underneath that (in addition to working with tripods) allows it to be mounted to its Turtle Claw accessory ($20). The claw then attaches easily to bikes, strollers, and lots of other stuff. So wherever you want it, it’ll produce a clear, full sound. And if you keep it close, its microphone is decent for hands-free calls. The Turtle Shell comes in five fun colors.
How Much: $150
Buy It: Visit DogFunk.com.
3. Grace Digital Audio EcoXBT
Why We Like It: It has a carabineer clip, is waterproof (to three feet), and floats. So it’s great for hiking, boating, fishing—any activity where you’d like your tunes, but wouldn’t dare risk exposing your phone or music player to the elements. It even has a waterproof headphone jack, in case you want a private aquatic concert.
How Much: $130
Buy It: Visit EcoXGear.com.
4. HMDX Jam
Why We Like It: Once you get past the fruity packaging, you’ll be impressed with this small, solid speaker. It churns out clearer, fuller, and louder sound than you’d probably expect for the price/size. Also, it’s got an auxiliary jack and track and volume controls, which is nice (and is something you don’t always find on tiny speakers). Its biggest shortcoming is its play time—just 4 hours when wireless, about half as long as the others. But ounce for ounce, this is definitely the best value of the group.
How Much: $50
Buy It: Visit HMDXAudio.com.
5. Logitech Mobile Boombox
Why We Like It: This pint-sized speaker can pair with up to eight devices and even connect with two at once. So you and your partner in crime can switch off playing DJ, as you get your mobile groove on. It’s versatile, easy to use, and is available in a handful of cute color combos. Whether you slip it in your purse, jacket, or carry-on, it is a pretty fun little speaker to have on your trip.
How Much: $100
Buy It: Visit UE.Logitech.com.
Award-winning Fodors.com Travel Technology Columnist Scott Tharler is an expert in gadgets, gambling, and travel. He’s written four books, hundreds of mobile and wireless tips, and dozens of freelance articles. In addition to his Discovery News gadget blog contributions, you can find links to other gadget articles, social feeds and lists of his current favorite gadgets at about.me/gadgetfans.
Photo credits:1. iRiver Limited; 2. Outdoor Technology; 3. Grace Digital Inc.; 4. HMDX; 5. Logitech