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How to Find the Right Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Anyone who owns a smartphone or tablet would probably enjoy owning a portable Bluetooth speaker, which can improve the listening experience anywhere. Bluetooth is available in every current smartphone and tablet, as well as in most laptop computers, so you don’t need additional equipment. Unlike smart speakers and Wi-Fi speakers, Bluetooth speakers don’t require a network connection and the use of special apps—whatever you play on the phone will play through the speaker.
Portable Bluetooth speakers have a rechargeable battery and are frequently waterproof or splash-proof, so you can easily move them around the house or take them to a park or the beach. We’ve found that they make hotel rooms feel more like home.
The best of these speakers deliver sound quality that’s good enough for casual music listening, podcasts, and Internet radio. Although Bluetooth does degrade sound quality slightly, you’re unlikely to hear the effects through relatively low-quality speakers such as these.
Voice control of the sort popularized by the Amazon Echo and Google Home is uncommon in portable Bluetooth speakers, because almost all voice-command technologies require a Wi-Fi connection to function. Some Bluetooth speakers provide a button that activates your smartphone’s voice-command technology (such as Google Assistant), but because you can access those features straight from your phone, this isn’t a big advantage.