Anyone who wants to enjoy music together sensibly on the go and at home cannot avoid mobile Bluetooth speakers. We took a close look at various speakers and revealed in the test what to look for when buying.
The boom in small and portable Bluetooth speakers is over. The ranks of smart loudspeakers such as the Homepod, Amazon-Echo or Google-Home have been overtaken the little roaring cubes. Nevertheless, conventional Bluetooth speakers still have a right to exist. After all, the smart relatives are not that mobile, as they usually depend on an existing WiFi connection.
Properties such as watertightness or a particularly robust construction are also missing and ensure that everyone who does not want to do without their music library for sound outside, needs another speaker.
Bluetooth speakers can be used in very different ways. Whether it’s a party in your own four walls or a barbecue in the park: Bluetooth speakers make it possible to enjoy music together.
The practical thing about the portable speakers is that they are powered by a rechargeable battery and can therefore be taken anywhere. Some of the boxes tested even offer a power bank mode that can be used to charge the smartphone on the go if it runs out. Almost all of the devices we tested are at least compact enough to fit in your backpack. Despite the comparatively small dimensions, some of the speakers have a surprisingly good and loud sound.
Bluetooth speaker: open your ears when buying a box
Regardless of whether you are interested in very cheap speakers or higher-priced ones – you should consider a few aspects before buying. For one thing, the size of the boxes themselves plays a role. If you only want to operate the loudspeaker in your own four walls, it can be a bit bigger – provided that it then delivers a correspondingly better sound. However, if the speaker should also be part of the park, a more compact model is a good choice. Speaking of portability: the battery life also plays a major role.
One of the main selection criteria when buying such a box is of course the audio quality. Even if we give you information about the sound of the speakers we tested, that is quite subjective. What we like doesn’t have to sound good to your ears. If possible, you should try the speakers for yourself. Pay particular attention to how the sound quality is at lower volumes – this is much more informative in terms of the sound quality of a speaker than the full roar.
Anker Soundcore Boost
The Soundcore Boost from Anker offers sufficient sound for such a small box. The performance of 20 watts is just as impressive as the running time of around twelve hours. This Bluetooth speaker from Anker is waterproof and allows you to adjust the bass at the touch of a button.
A special feature of the Soundcore Boost: It can also be used as a power bank for charging mobile devices via USB cable. The box has an AUX connection.
• Pro: 12 hours runtime, waterproof, power bank mode, low price
• Cons: Sound could be better
• Price: 60 euros
Bose Soundlink Mini II Special Edition
The Soundlink Mini from Bose is also one of the long-established Bluetooth speakers. The original model appeared in 2013 and the Soundlink Mini II followed in 2015. In 2019, Bose brought the Soundlink Mini II Special Edition onto the market instead of a Soundlink Mini 3. In contrast to the very solid predecessor, not too much has changed. The innovations include a USB-C connection and a slightly improved runtime to twelve hours.
In contrast to many of the other speakers presented here, this speaker is less suitable for outdoor use and its advantages primarily come into play indoors. The Soundlink Mini II Special Edition is convincing in terms of sound. The bass only gets a little out of hand at higher volume.
• Pro: USB-C, Multipoint Bluetooth
• Cons: Price too high for what is offered, only partially suitable for outdoor use
• Price : 110 euros
JBL Flip 5
For the low price of just under 100 euros, the sound of the JBL Flip 5 is definitely convincing. The speaker is waterproof and also quite robust. The Flip’s battery lasts around twelve hours and, thanks to USB-C, is fully charged after a little over two hours. Two devices can be linked to form a stereo system.
• Pro: USB-C, low price
• Cons: Sufficient sound
• Price: 90 euros
JBL Xtreme 2
The JBL Xtreme 2 not only impresses with a balanced sound, but also keeps it at maximum volume. This makes the loudspeaker suitable for both outdoor use and large rooms. As is usual with many boxes, two devices can be linked via an app to provide stereo sound.
The Xtreme 2’s battery only ran out of power after about 19 hours in our test. Unfortunately, the device cannot be charged via USB, but only via the included power supply.
• Pro: great sound, waterproof, power bank mode, battery life
• Cons: difficult
• Price: 170 euros *
Marshall Stockwell II
As usual with Marshall Bluetooth speakers, the design of the Stockwell II is based on the manufacturer’s amplifiers. The workmanship is absolutely convincing: metal grille and silicone ensure a robust exterior. The sound of the Marshall Stockwell II convinced us in the test. Only at higher volume did the bass decrease noticeably.
The Stockwell II offers aptX and a total runtime of just under 20 hours. Marshall has also given the box a kind of fast charging mode, which guarantees up to six hours of operation with a 20 minute charging time.
• Pro: aptX, solid workmanship, fast charging mode
• Cons: expensive compared to comparable competing products
• Price: 160 euros
Sonos is better known for its wireless speakers. The Sonos Move (test) , however, is a combination of tried and tested Bluetooth speakers. The loudspeaker is large and heavy compared to most of our test field. Therefore, it is more suitable for use in the garden than in the park. Inside, the box can be integrated into an existing Sonos ecosystem.
The battery life of around ten hours is sufficient, if not generous. The sound of the Sonos Move is balanced and convinced us. This is especially true of the highs and mids. In terms of bass, there would definitely have been room for improvement. Many other loudspeakers with good sound decrease at high volumes – not the Move, which also keeps the good quality turned up.
• Pro: USB-C, good sound, measurement via Trueplay
• Cons: expensive
• Price: 400 euros
The SRS-XB12 is available in six different colors. If you connect two of the mono speakers together, you get a stereo system. The speaker scores particularly well in terms of battery life, because the box lasts for up to 16 hours. In addition to Bluetooth, the device also offers NFC. The Bluetooth connection was not particularly reliable in our test. The Sony loudspeaker offers a fairly bass-heavy sound and the overall sound is sufficient. The small Sony box couldn’t convince us particularly in terms of heights.
• Pro: NFC, battery life, low price, water-repellent
• Cons: only sound sufficient
• Price: 45 euros
Teufel Boomster Go
With its square dimensions of 10 x 10 x 4.6 centimeters, the Teufel Boomster Go is one of the most compact representatives in the test field. Despite the small size, the speaker still has a runtime of around ten hours. The speaker is available in five different colors and it is possible to couple two of the speakers to form a stereo system.
The sound of the Boomster Go is surprising. For a device of this size, the bass sounds amazingly powerful and voices convince with a high level of detail. Nevertheless, the sound of the speaker cannot be compared with larger models.
• Pro: Very mobile, waterproof
• Cons: Relatively expensive
• Price: 85 euros
Devil Rockster Cross
The Teufel Rockster Cross was able to convince us very sonically. In addition to an exemplary bass for a speaker of this size, the highs also clearly reach the ear canal. Overall, the loudspeaker scores with a warm, soft and natural sound. The speaker can be turned up with 30 watts, and the battery is generously sized with around 19 hours of runtime.
It is possible to connect two of the boxes to a stereo system using the app. The box offers the aptX codec for higher quality sound transmission via Bluetooth. An AUX connection also enables wired operation. The power bank mode also enables mobile devices to be charged.
• Pro: great sound, battery life, aptX, power bank mode
• Cons: difficult, long charging time
• Price: 300 euros
Tribit Maxsound Plus
The Tribut Maxsound Plus is a small, robust and waterproof Bluetooth speaker, which primarily wants to convince with a very affordable price. At around 50 euros, the box is the cheapest in our test field. The battery life of just under 20 hours is also impressive.
The sound of the Maxsound Plus also surprised us. The sound of the small box is surprisingly balanced, but noticeably decreases at higher volumes.
• Pro: waterproof, long running time, low price
• Cons: sound suboptimal at high volume
• Price: 50 euros
Ultimate Ears Boom 3
The now iconic round speaker from Ultimate Ears helped found the small, portable Bluetooth speaker segment a few years ago. The sound is good, but not on par when compared to other products. Voices sound a bit artificial to our taste, and the bass could also be fuller. Still, the Boom 3’s sound isn’t bad. The practical thing about the design is that the speaker emits the sound in 360 degrees.
The speaker scores above all with a really impressive runtime of around 20 hours and a very compact size. You can couple several Ultimate Ears speakers with each other and the system also has a multi-room function.
• Pro: very long runtime, power bank mode, compact, multi-room support
• Cons: sound only sufficient
• Price: 90 euros *