In search of best audio performance out of a category of products that’s becoming popular very fast
Bluetooth speakers have grown manifold in prowess, of late. With the best of audio makers vying for supremacy, what we have are wireless speakers that deliver excellent audio quality, and also act as power banks, boom boxes, alarm clocks, and much more. You can also pair two (or sometimes, more) of the same speaker to provide stereo audio, or synchronise your home audio across multiple rooms. Additionally, you can even be a little rough with some of these. Certified sand and water resistance is a feature that many of these bundle. Great for your next private pool party or beach soiree right?
The judging criteria for our tests was led by audio output quality, with other aspects being quality of build, durability, range of connectivity, waterproofing, multi-functionality, daisy chaining (multi-unit connectivity), battery life and portability. While some were too big to deserve the portable tag, the sheer quality of audio made up for the large dimensions or other added features. Here’s listing some of this year’s best bluetooth speakers and of course our one true performance behemoth.
Zero1 Winner: Beolit 15
Bang & Olufsen simply hit the spot with the Beolit 15. Yes, the design is rather different, but build quality is supreme. The front mesh, to the feld-textured plastic, oozes class. The only thing that feels out of place in this unit is the leash, that is essential if you are to carry this picnic box of a speaker around.
The audio quality is exemplary. Bass frequencies are pronounced, and is pronounced with a powertrain that serves as the backbone for tracks that you play. Mid frequencies are equally pronounced, and are high enough to ensure that the audio, in no way, seems flat. The high frequencies are sharp, but are marginally cut off at the peak crests, so that high pitched vocals retain the tonal quality and texture. Audio timbre is excellent, there is no distortion, and to top it all, volume levels are very high.
The Beolit 15 is ideal for audio lovers and casual camp-goers alike. At its price point, however, B&O will find more audiophiles as takers – people who are not concerned about the weight of the device or its looks (it looks really good, only unorthodox), but hardcore audio. At such exemplary audio performance, added features like good battery life, multi-device pairing and the capability to double up as a power bank are nice incentives, making the Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15 the undisputed best Bluetooth Speaker of 2015, and the winner of our Zero1 award.
Price: Rs. 35,000
Runner-up: Creative Sound Blaster Roar
Coming second is the Creative Sound Blaster Roar. At Rs. 15,999, what you get is loud, powerful audio. Although the highs are slightly biased, it doesn’t take the warmth and texture away from tracks, and the bass drivers at the back are quite pronounced. The ‘Roar’ button adds an extra volume boost, and this will come handy in larger gatherings. This one also happens to integrate a power bank, speakerphone, voice recorder and mp3 player, making it the most equipped speaker, coming second to the Beolit 15.
Price: Rs. 14,000
Best Buy: Ultimate Ears Boom
The UE Boom is water- and stain-resistant, and works perfectly well even after splashing it with water multiple times. The cylindrical speaker body delivers loud, clear audio with an extra punch of bass, which makes it a fun, peppy speaker to carry around. At Rs. 13,490, it is a versatile speaker that keeps the average music lover and enthusiast happy, and even have something to offer to discerning listeners. With very good audio performance at a competitive price, the Sound Blaster Roar wins the Best Buy award for Bluetooth speakers.
Price: Rs. 14,000