A portable Bluetooth speaker is an accessory for your laptop or smartphone, but choosing one can sometimes be a stressful affair, mainly give the varieties of options available in the market. You can get speakers in all sizes and shapes, starting from a few hundred rupees to going to Rs.30,000 and above. With so many varieties available, you might get confused. So, here are a few tips to buy a Bluetooth Speaker.
The best way to choose a speaker that is right for you would be to audition it as the sound is subjective, so it is impossible to determine how good a speaker is by just reading the specifications. However, unlike smartphones, you cannot try-before-you-buy even in big shopping malls. While buying a Bluetooth speaker is to find out whether it meets all your needs or not. Other than these points, there are many other things that need to be considered while buying a Bluetooth speaker.
Important Tips to buy a Bluetooth Speaker
Understand the specifications
As we discussed before, it is not right to base your buying decision on specifications only, but it is a great place to start, mainly if you can’t test the speaker yourself.
Frequency response is calculated in Hertz and is generally defined as a range, say from 100 Hz- 20,000 Hz. In theory, the wider the range, the better the ability of a speaker to reproduce audio as it was planned. However, having a huge range alone does not guarantee great sound as it mainly depends on how you perceive sound too, which can vary wildly from one person to another.
Other important facts like the listener’s age also come into consideration since our ability to hear some frequencies lessen with time. In an auto track, the bass is generally heard around the frequency range of 20 Hz to 250 Hz. Vocals and other devices like a piano and guitar typically reside within the range of 250 Hz to 4000Hz, which is usually referred as the mid-range. The rest of the frequencies create the treble.
The Bluetooth version defines the quality of audio transmission and the distance you should maintain between the speaker and your phone. You should look for Bluetooth 4 or better than that, as this version provides support for the low energy profile, for improved battery life and it is nearly 60 meters. Bluetooth 5 is the most recent standard which vastly enhances the data transmission range and rate.
The driver is the heart of a speaker, so it is important to get the right-sized driver. Most of the portable speakers will generally have a 40 mm driver, which is a good size. If you prefer bigger drivers then expect the whole size of the speaker to expand too. The Sony SRS-XB41 boasts huge 58 mm drivers, which makes the speaker much bigger.
Having a standard USB charging port is extra accessibility, mainly when you are outdoors or at a friend’s place and do not have the bundled cable with you. These days, most of the speakers stick to a Micro-USB port, which makes it easy to charge them using power banks also, if by chance you do not have a wall socket near to you.
Battery life is one of the important tips to buy a Bluetooth speaker. Nobody wants to recharge their speaker every hour. It should last as long as you expect to need it. The small speakers tend to have small batteries and do not last for a long time, but some of the larger ones can expect for at least 24 hours. Generally, it lasts for about 4 to 10 hours and it is specified as average battery life. The main reason behind this is that the louder you play, the more battery it will consume and it will require recharging. However, while buying a Bluetooth speaker, ensure that battery life is long enough.
Obviously, it is great to have a Bluetooth speaker produces good sound. Often, they come with specifications for total harmonic distortion and less than 1% is a good option. The rule is lower the better. Some of the speakers do not come with a specification, so you might have to listen to it. Also, the frequency response plays a significant role. Some speakers sound better compared to others and this is often as a result of better frequency response. Figures include the bottom and top frequencies that are heard before the response is rolled away. Figures like 100 Hz to 20 kHz is normal. The 100 Hz point is low frequency and 20 kHz is the top frequency. As it is not possible for most of us to hear at 20 kHz, mainly when we get older, the top frequency is not quite as significant.
Of course, there is Bluetooth connectivity, but have you ever tried the NFC? It makes pairing even simpler. Just by bringing the equipment nearer and switching them on for a second or two, they will get connected automatically. Of course, it is mandatory that both the speaker and the phone has the NFC system
You are listening to your favorite song on your Bluetooth speaker which is connected to your phone and suddenly you got a call. What next? If the speaker comes with a built-in microphone, you can talk using it if it were hands-free. The music is stopped, you answer the call by clicking on the button and once you finish talking, you hang up and the music starts playing automatically. Isn’t it useful?
Can be connected to several speakers
This is one of the most important tips to buy a Bluetooth speaker. This option is available in few Bluetooth wireless speakers, being common in Wi-Fi home speakers. Imagine that you have a room in which you want to create a surrounding sound. A single speaker will not allow you to do so because the source of the sound is the same. If you put speakers at different points, your problem will be solved. To attain this, some Bluetooth units include a mobile application that allows us to connect to various speakers.
Unfortunately, all of us are busy. Day to day activities force us to do things as fast as possible. Thus, the easier your Bluetooth speaker is to handle, the better. You will not be able to spend 3 days reading instructions and determining how to program it. Turn on, pair, and then you can enjoy it.
You will need a few controls on the Bluetooth speaker that will help you to perform some of the basic functions. One power button, pause/play button, one for controlling volume, one for answering phone calls, and one button for Bluetooth pairing, is all you have for controlling the device.
Purchase a speaker by keeping your needs in mind
An important thing to keep in mind while buying a Bluetooth speaker is to consider your needs. Are you going to use it for parties, outdoor adventures, or you just want to keep it at your home? Well, there are various models for various purposes. So, choose wisely. You have it clean, you want a Bluetooth speaker that you can carry to a barbecue, or while doing camping or when you drive a bike. In that case, you can buy the right speaker.
One of the most important to buy a Bluetooth speaker is to check whether it is waterproof or not. As Bluetooth speakers are easily portable and easy to carry, it means one can keep anywhere, even near water. One must not mix electronics and water, so it is useful to have a speaker that is made of waterproof materials. Some of the speakers are even submersible, but it is better to buy ones that are water-resistant. A water-resistant speaker is especially useful when you are near a pool or partying on the beach.
Today, most of the Bluetooth speakers can do much more than just streaming music. Smart speakers are the next big trend and some of them already have made their way to India. Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is available in the company’s Echo line of the speaker while Google has its unique home series of smart speakers.