The Best Bluetooth Speakers 2015: JBL Charge 2+, Bose Soundlink Mini II and UE Roll/Megaboom

Best-Bluetooth-speakers-2015L to R: UE Mini (review), Roll (review), Boom (review) and Megaboom (review), JBL Charge 2+(review) and Charge 2 (review), Bose Soundlink III (review) and Soundlink Mini 2 (prev review)
Best Bluetooth speakers

There’s nothing like having a summer moment free to listen to your favorite music with your friends. The combination of portable Bluetooth speakers and great music apps like Apple Music with Beats 1 radio can make this an instant spontaneous event as long as you’ve got the right gear. There are tons of Bluetooth speakers around but we’re cutting through the noise and signaling the best from three top brands today: Bose, UE and JBL.

In last year’s exhaustive holiday season Best Bluetooth Speaker Review, I gave the title of best speaker to the JBL Charge 2 for having nearly the best sound, cylindrical portability, great looks, long battery life and the ability to charge your phone for around $120. JBL has updated their game with the Charge 2+ but both Bose and UE have really doubled down on their product functionality this year. It is going to be a tough call… Read more

Ultimate Ears Roll is a tough, wearable speaker that hangs, swims and sounds great

 

UE-Roll
Over the weekend I got my hands on the new $99 Ultimate Ears Roll Bluetooth speaker — a durable and waterproof frisbee of a device that pumps the beats like the UE Mini Boom cousin it is replacing. The form factor is totally new however.

First up: The UE Roll sounds really good with significant bass emerging from that thin profile. Not quite as good as $200+ portable speakers like the Bose Soundlink Mini or even the full-sized UE MegaBoom but plenty good to fill up a room or for a few people to rock out with some background music on the beach for a volleyball game. If you find yourself in a quiet, still spot the sound really comes through clean even though the device with its bungee cord off the back lends itself to the great outdoors and physical activity.

UE-Roll

The Roll connects to Apple and other Bluetooth devices – even the Apple Watch – through a typical Bluetooth 4 connection, but Logitech offers some very premium features via the iOS or Android app that debuted with the Megaboom. With the app, you can set an alarm, “equalize” the sound, pair two or more speakers for stereo or do Sonos-like arrays in every room, check battery status and more with updates promised for the future… Read more

Review: Ultimate Ears’ larger Megaboom 360-degree Bluetooth speaker goes to 11

ue-megaboom

At CES today, Logitech subsidiary Ultimate Ears (UE) announced its Megaboom Bluetooth speaker.  Yes, it is a bigger, louder version of the popular UE Booms. That means it comes with apps that do things like equalize, set alarms and pair to stereo, with new features added all the time. The Megaboom also shares the 100-foot Bluetooth range and ability to pair with up to 8 devices with its smaller sibling.

But the bigger and louder sound of the Megaboom also comes with some nice extras not found in the other models. Megabooms are waterproof like crazy (IPX7). Bring it into the shower. Knock it in the pool (the shallow end, anyway). NBD. The MegaBoom also has a whopping 20-hour battery life but still charges via MicroUSB. Smart.

The cost: $299 is a significant $100 premium over the Booms and $200 premium over the Mini Booms and you’ll lose some portability with the bigger size. These are big and heavy and they don’t fit in a cupholder.

But if you want the banging-est sound you can find from a portable Bluetooth speaker, your search is over. I’ve secretly been reviewing a unit since last year and it is all true. The sound fills up a room, day at the beach, picnic, bikeride or destroys a car. It even works as a nice desk speaker. As I hinted in my Best Bluetooth Speaker o the year list, the Megaboom is as good, if not better than the other best $300 Bluetooth speakers we’ve reviewed: Bose Soundlink 3, Beats Pill XL and Jawbone’s Big Jambox have met their match!

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Best Bluetooth Speaker of the Year: JBL, Beats, Bose, UE Boom, Jawbone, more

Best-Bluetooth-speakers-2015(TL;DR: Winner, best size, best sound, runner-up best apps, best budget, best $300)

It has been a solid year and a half since our last Big “Best Portable Bluetooth speaker” competition, though we’ve done tons of updates to it in the months since.

A lot of our favorites are still around while others have been updated and new players have emerged. And what about our previous champ: the Ultimate Ears Boom? Spoiler alert: a new winner has emerged. Read on to find out who takes our Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker award… Read more

Where to find the best Black Friday deals on iPhones, iPads, Macs, & Apple accessories

Black-Friday-Apple-roundup-02

It can be hard to cut through the noise with just about every retailer online having sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best deals available only for iPad, iPhone, iPods, and Mac. You won’t find any deals on TVs or microwaves in the list below, just the best of the best accessories for your iOS device and Mac, and we’ve only included great products from companies we trust (many of which we’ve reviewed personally). If you still need to buy a Mac, iPhone, or iPad first, you’ll also find a roundup of the best deals on Apple hardware from 9to5Toys at the bottom. As always, we’ll update as more deals are announced throughout the weekend and you can send any you might find to tips@9to5Mac.com. Read more

Logitech announces ‘UE BOOM’ Bluetooth speaker, first with 360-degree sound & 15-hour battery


Logitech-UE-BOOM-bluetooth-speaker

Logitech’s UE brand is often at the top of our list when it comes to the best bluetooth speakers around, so we’re excited that today the company introduced its latest product with the announcement of the ‘UE BOOM’. Logitech is calling this “the world’s first social music player,” and that’s due to the fact that it’s the first to offer 360-degree sound and a 15-hour rechargeable battery. That’s a nice step up from the 5-8 hours you’ll get with most Bluetooth speakers.

Logitech is also following a trend that many Bluetooth speaker manufacturers have been lately: With UE BOOM you’ll be able to wirelessly connect two UE BOOMs via a free companion app to allow for traditional right/left stereo sound and other sound settings. It’s also water and stain proof: Read more