Although we’ve covered the gamut of portable Bluetooth speakers here at 9to5Mac, we typically recommend higher-end products like the Bose Soundlink Mini ($199), JBL Charge ($138) or Ultimate Ears Mini/Boom ($80/$179). It’s usually not worth cheaping out on Bluetooth speakers (unless you are looking for niche products like wearables) because the sound quality degrades heavily once you drop below the top tier. Sadly, today’s entrant into the Bluetooth speaker cage-match lot isn’t going to compete with any of the $100+speakers above. But I have to say, the Lumsing Prophet isn’t bad at all, especially if you aren’t listening to bass-heavy tracks. And, the freaky part is it only costs $20 bucks after coupon code PROPHET0 (expires 8/13) at Amazon which makes it an absolute steal… Read more
The European Commission has today approved Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music. The commission said that the buyout passes merger regulations. The commission concluded that Apple and Beats’ combined marketshare in both the streaming music and headphones markets is low, so an acquisition did not materially affect competition.
In headphones, the EU says that Apple/Beats exists in a global market with numerous other brands, including Bose, Sennheiser and Sony. For streaming music, companies like Spotify and Deezer offered a similar safety buffer. As the EU commission cares only for European operations, the fact that iTunes Radio and Beats Music do not currently operate in European countries also helped the deal go through smoothly.
I was a huge gushing fan of the Bose Soundlink Mini when I reviewed it this summer, calling it the “Best Sounding portable Bluetooth speaker ever”. For $199 you’d get bookshelf type of power and clarity with 6 hour battery in a portable package that you could throw in a coat pocket, bag, or purse.
This week, Bose started shipping a bigger version, the $299 Soundlink 3 which is officially the successor to the Soundlink 2 but it grabs a lot more technology, features and appearance from the very successful Mini. The big bro ‘III’ boasts an impressive 14-hour battery, 6 Bluetooth device memory, and doubles the Mini with four drivers and two passive radiators. In the process it doubles in size to a 3-pound package that isn’t nearly as portable as the Mini at 5 inches high, 10 inches wide, and 2 inches deep.
But does that $100 and double size give you appreciably better sound?
We’ve had a look at just about all of the best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market but Bose, a company known for high (prices and) quality speakers, has never made our ‘best of‘ lists. Its regular Soundlink and Soundlink II products at $300-$349 have sound and features that lower-priced competitors, especially Logitech UE, JBL Charge and even the Beats Pill were able to handily beat.
All of that ended the moment I got the $199 Bose Soundlink Mini, a product that shows that Bose is willing to think outside of its “hyper-premium price” box without sacrificing the quality of its product…
We have already brought you roundups of the best Lightning products and iPad mini accessories we could find, but there are still a lot of iPhone 5 specific accessories, mods, and attachements that didn’t make our past gift guides. We didn’t want to include any products that you wouldn’t be able to get your hands on before Christmas, so we’re only including products promising to ship in December. Below you’ll find our roundup of the best mods, cases, cables & docks available now and specifically designed for the iPhone 5: Read more