In recent years, Bluetooth speakers are in fashion. Easily transportable, with a battery life of several hours or even a full day, and a much better sound than a smartphone, they have gradually replaced iPod docks and it’s much more affordable than multiform audio systems.

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The first advantage of Bluetooth speakers is that they do not have to connect the audio source to the speaker. Your smartphone or tablet can remain in your pocket or bag and the music will play anyway, provided you stay within five or ten meters of the enclosure. Another advantage is that the Bluetooth speakers are universal.

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So you can send your music from an Android tablet or smartphone, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and even from a laptop or desktop provided it is equipped with Bluetooth.

Various actors:

In this increasingly important market, some more or less confidential brands have paved the way, but other companies, specialized in consumer audio or Hi-Fi, have since embarked on the race. This is particularly the case of Bowers & Wilkins with the T7, or Bang & Olufsen with the Beoplay A2 then the BeoPlay A1. In addition, players now installed offer large format versions of their most popular speakers like Logitech with the EU MegaBoom.

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It will also be noted that the market tends to accelerate with the presentation of several speakers at different times of the year for the same manufacturer like Sony.  Last September, LG presented no less than four different speakers for all prices with the PH1, PH2, PH3 and PH4. These will succeed the LG P5, despite new colors released in June 2016.

How do we make the difference?

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There are several criteria to take into account when buying a Bluetooth speaker, sometimes easily appreciable even without being able to listen to its sound.

The format:

The format of a Bluetooth speaker is a misleading criterion. Because of its nomadic nature, consumers tend to want to buy the smallest and lightest possible enclosure. However, the size of an enclosure is directly related to the sound quality it can deliver.

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The more compact a speaker, the smaller the loudspeakers will be and the less they can vibrate. As a result, audio quality will be affected. Moreover, a small speaker also means a stereo less well restituted since the two loudspeakers will be close to each other.

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Finally, the smaller the speaker, the less it can include different speakers. A choice which implies the presence, or not, of a passive radiator specifically dedicated to the restitution of the basses, or even the presence of a single loudspeakers to restore a stereo sound. The choice of a large or a small Bluetooth speaker depends mainly on how you intend to use it. If you intend to use it in motion without worrying about optimal sound, you can take a compact speaker. If the quality of sound is important to you, choose a more imposing template.

  • BoseSoundLInk Mini II

Here again, autonomy is a criterion to be taken into account depending on the use you want to make your Bluetooth speaker. Most of the speakers offer a battery with a range of five to eight hours.

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Some even surpassed the tens of hours of music at a high volume. If the speaker you plan to buy is meant to stay at home and only go out occasionally, autonomy should not be a criterion you should worry about.

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Otherwise, if you are thinking of using your outdoor enclosure, for a picnic in the forest, at the beach or during a hike, do not hesitate to invest in an enclosure with an autonomy of more than seven hours.

  • Logitech UE MegaBoom

Depending on how you plan to use your speaker, the different keys present may be an important criterion for you. Some speakers are very limited in interactions, to offer the simplest possible use.

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Others, on the contrary, allow you all kinds of additional services, even offering compatible applications for your smartphone or the possibility to launch your voice assistant, Siri, Google Plus or Cortana. Among the buttons on all speakers, of course, are the buttons used to turn on and off the speaker, as well as the keys that alter the volume.

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Some speakers go even further with buttons to pause the music, mute the speaker, change tracks, or even answer the phone directly from the speaker. So many operations you can do naturally from your smartphone.

  • Creative Soundblaster Roar

Because of their format, some speakers do not allow stereo reproduction that is sufficiently accurate to distinguish the left channel from the right channel. Moreover, most speakers offer a very directional sound, far from the experience that one can have with living room speakers, arranged where desired.

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In order to overcome this problem, manufacturers are increasingly introducing integrated surround modes to their speakers.  Activated using a dedicated key directly on the device or via a function on a smartphone, they allow extending the broadcast. This technology uses different names according to the manufacturers, but the principle is the same: to give more amplitude to the sound thanks to a system of cancellation of noise.

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The music then seems to come from several places at once and turns out to be more enveloping. The presence of a surround mode is especially recommended for small format speakers in order to give more sound and to discern the stereo channels more easily.

  • EU Boom 2

The design of an enclosure is all a matter of taste. Nevertheless, it can already give you an indication of the sound quality and the type of music to which the speaker is intended. Indeed, it is by design that the constructor will target one target rather than another.

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For the youngest, fans of electro, hip-hop or rock music, manufacturers offer colorful speakers with more exotic shapes. For people with more demanding music like classical music or jazz, the speakers generally offer a much more classic, angular look with black, metallic or even white colors.

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If the aspect is obviously a criterion to take into account according to your tastes, it can thus indicate the type of music for which the speaker is designed.

  • Yamaha LSX-70

In most cases, the sound is transmitted from a smartphone, computer or tablet to a speaker using the SBC codec included in the A2DP profile. This is the basic codec included in the Bluetooth protocol. However, this codec is destructive and allows lossless sound to be sent with a maximum quality of 235 kbps.

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In addition, the codec compresses into the smartphone and decompresses into the enclosure, with audible artifacts. In short, if you have made a library of files encoded only 320 kbps to listen on your speaker, you can forget if it only handles the A2DP profile: the quality will be less at the output.

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However, there are some codecs like aptX, which allow for better compression and playback of files up to 320 kbps. To be used, however, these codecs must be integrated on the speaker and on the smartphone. If your smartphone, PC or tablet is compatible, do not hesitate to crack for an aptX compatible speaker, the audio quality will be better.

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If your source device is not compatible, you do not have to choose a speaker according to this criterion since your smartphone can send music only in SBC. On the other hand, the AAC codec allows you to send an AAC sound directly to the speaker without compression or decompression.