Bluetooth Speaker review - 07/2019

Enjoy good sound on the go - the latest Bluetooth speakers make it possible! Lukewarm summer evenings in the park or garden parties with friends can be flexibly and comfortably accompanied with your favourite music. To help you enjoying the best sound, we have tested 7 Bluetooth speakers between 85 Euro and 250 Euro. The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Bluetooth speaker and the Libratone ZIPP 2 were the best. They convinced us with their clear sound quality and ease of use. Clear purchase recommendation from us and a test score of 9.6/10!

last modified: 19.09.2019, 10:00
Winner Winner Best price winner
Our winner: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Our winner: Libratone ZIPP 2 Sony SRS-XB31 Libratone ZIPP MINI 2	DOCKIN D FINE Bose SoundLink Revolve Anker SoundCore Pro+

Ultimate Ears

MEGABOOM 3

Libratone

ZIPP 2

Sony

SRS-XB31

Libratone

ZIPP MINI 2

DOCKIN

D FINE

Bose

SoundLink Revolve

Anker

SoundCore Pro+
  • Waterproof for up to 30 minutes under water
  • Long battery life
  • Simple operation with the MAGIC BUTTON
  • Good sound quality
  • Operation via App
  • Long range Bluetooth connection
  • Connection via WiFi possible
  • Simple control via touch control panel
  • Operation via App
  • Very loud
  • Waterproof for up to 30 minutes under water
  • Party mode with over 100 loudspeakers possible
  • Operation via App possible
  • Use as power bank possible
  • Very good battery life
  • Connection via WiFi possible
  • Simple control via touch control panel
  • Control via App
  • With AUX connection / NFC / USB output
  • Very good sound quality
  • Powerbank function
  • Protected against dust and splash water
  • Possible use of Siri or Google Assistant
  • Operation via Bose Connect App
  • Compact
  • 360° good sound
  • Party mode with second Bose speaker possible
  • Long battery life
  • Compact
  • Can be used as a power bank
  • No AUX connection
  • No splash water protection
  • Very large
  • Charging cable without power adapter included
  • No splash water protection
  • Somewhat dull sound
  • Short battery life
  • Charges via a special plug
  • Comparatively large and heavy
  • Short battery life
  • Charging cable without power adapter included
  • Comparatively poor sound quality

The loudest in the test, with good - but not the best - sound quality.

Convincing Bluetooth and WLAN loudspeaker with intuitive control. Due to its size, however, not very suitable for on the go.

Eye-catching party loudspeaker, which is also perfectly suitable for outdoors.

Good Bluetooth and WiFi speakers with intuitive operation. The sound quality is not convincing.

Good device with very good sound quality, unfortunately it has a short battery life.

Combines a compact design with a good sound quality, unfortunately rather short battery life.

Small Bluetooth speaker that can't compete with other models when it comes to sound.

Waterproof IP67 (can be 1m under water for 30 min) - IP67 against immersion in water up to 30 minutes by 1m - IP55 dustproof and splashproof IPX4 (resistent to splashing water from all directions) IPX4 (resistent to splashing water from all directions)
Power supply connection Micro-USB Micro-USB without power supply DC15V Micro-USB Micro-USB without power supply
Sound quality
Range of functions
Handling
Battery Performance
App included - -
Party mode ✔ with up to 150 speakers ✔ mit bis zu 100 Lautsprechern - ✔ with up to 2 Bose speakers -
Music control without smartphone
Battery life 18 to 20 hrs 12 hrs 20 hrs 12 hrs 10 hrs 10 to 12 hrs 14 bis 16 Stunden
Bluetooth version 5.0 4.1 4.2 4.1 4.0 N/A 4.2
Length of the power cable 110 cm 180 cm 50 cm 180 cm 140 cm 100 cm 90 cm
Wireless charging ✔ with additional accessory - - - - ✔ must be purchased additionally -
Weight 923 g 1545 g 870 g 1095 g 1,98 kg 665 g 759 g
Depth 8,5 cm 12,2 cm 8,1 cm 10 cm 10,5 cm 9 cm 7 cm
Height 22,5 cm 26 cm 8,7 cm 22,4 cm 10,5 cm 15,5 cm 7 cm
Width 8,5 cm 12,2 cm 23,1 cm 10 cm 29 cm 9 cm 19 cm
Accessories Micro-USB cable with power adapter Power adapter with Euro and US plug Micro-USB cable Power adapter with Euro and US plug AUX cable, charging cable with power adapter Micro-USB cable with power supply Micro-USB cable
Test seal: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3, Rating 1.3
read review
Test seal: Libratone ZIPP 2, Rating 1.3
read review
Test seal: Sony SRS-XB31, Rating 1.55
read review
Test seal: Libratone ZIPP MINI 2	, Rating 1.75
read review
Test seal: DOCKIN D FINE, Rating 2.1
read review
Test seal: Bose SoundLink Revolve, Rating 2.3
read review
Test seal: Anker SoundCore Pro+ , Rating 2.65
read review
show all offers show all offers show all offers show all offers show all offers show all offers show all offers

*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Ultimate Ears

MEGABOOM 3

Test seal: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3, Rating excellent

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Speaker is the perfect speaker for travelling. Thanks to the long battery life, the speaker can operate for up to 20 hours without a power supply. The loudspeaker can also be used for pool parties or boat trips, as it can be under water for up to 30 minutes. This doesn't happen as often because the loudspeaker is floatable. The sound quality is not neglected. Especially in terms of volume, the loudspeaker stands out from the competition.

read review
  • It's best to take a charger cable with you. Although the battery life of most devices is very long, it happens quite often that the battery is suddenly empty. Especially after long periods of non-use, the battery may be unexpectedly low.
 

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Sound quality
  • Functional scope
  • Battery performance
  • Handling

In order to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the Bluetooth speakers. In order to test the sound quality, the loudspeakers are played with different genres. We pay attention to high tones as well as bass. Each loudspeaker is checked for available connections, apps and included accessories. Devices which, according to the manufacturer, are waterproof or protected against splashing water are tested accordingly. Finally, the battery capacity of all devices is measured.

In order to rule out errors and to ensure the load of everyday use, each test takes place in several runs.

The test criteria receive percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest). Criteria such as price and functionality are an important factor for us.

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

Most recently, Stiftung Warentest (a german, well-known foundation that tests products for consumers) evaluated Bluetooth speakers in January 2019. The Beoplay P6 from B&O was the test winner with a score of 1.7. It is the most expensive speaker and is only pulled down a little by the battery performance. Two loudspeakers land in last place. The Yoyo from Cambridge Audio and Sony's SRS-XB21, both with a 2.9.

19 devices were tested, of which twelve were rated "Good" and seven "Satisfactory". In order to come to this result, the following criteria were included in the grading: Sound (65%), handling (10%), stability (5%) and battery (20%).

For the sound test, the speakers were played with music from the genres pop, techno, classical and also only spoken word (e.g. audio books). The loudspeakers were connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth and to a system via a cable. The sound quality was tested outside and inside by five experts for naturalness, transparency and sound at a greater distance.

In the further course of the test, the instructions for use and commissioning were assessed. Furthermore, the devices were tested for their suitability for everyday use. By examining Bluetooth range, connectivity, source selection and transportability. Especially the transportability of some devices was not convincing, as the unprotected membrane of the speakers could easily be damaged.

In order to test the stability, the Bluetooth loudspeakers were dropped from a height of 0.8 metres onto a wooden floor and showered with water like rain for five minutes before being checked for functionality. All but one of the devices delivered very good results here.

The evaluation of the battery was the biggest problem for many speakers. The battery life decreased rapidly, depending on the volume. Also with the charging duration some devices could not convince - only four could supply a very good result.

The Bluetooth loudspeakers tested by Stiftung Warentest did not overlap with our test devices. However, we tested Sony's SRS-XB31, the successor to Stiftung Warentests loser. The new model scores much better in our test than its predecessor.

Nowadays, countless devices ensure that you can listen to your music at any time and in any place. Laptop, tablet or smartphone - they're all capable of playing music. And with modern Bluetooth speakers, you can even improve acoustics and increase volume. But how do Bluetooth speakers work, what features do they offer, and what do you need to look out for when you buy them?

Those who prefer headphones can also find a Noise Cancelling Headphones test.

What are Bluetooth speakers?

The technology of a Bluetooth loudspeaker is based on short-range radio. This ensures that music files can be transferred to an output medium such as the loudspeaker without a cable connection. The range is limited to a short distance of a few meters. However the advantages of the technology come to the fore, as the corresponding loudspeakers can be positioned freely in the room and their position can be changed within seconds if required.

The Bluetooth technology itself is based on a wireless transmission protocol that can be used to transfer data from one device to another. This makes it possible for music that you play from your smartphone or tablet, for example, to be played through the speakers.

Bluetooth speakers can be used outdoors
Bluetooth speakers can be used especially well outdoors - Photo: © anatoliycherkas adobestock

Where you can use your Bluetooth speaker depends primarily on the range. Theoretically, the Bluetooth range should be up to 100 meters. In practice, however, the range is usually smaller due to interference signals or power drops. Nevertheless, a maximum range of around 25 metres is quite realistic for some models, which is why they can be used with great flexibility.

You don't need any further technology to transfer the music files from the smartphone or tablet to the Bluetooth speakers. This is due to the fact that almost all current models nowadays have a Bluetooth chip that is compatible with the speakers.

Many Bluetooth speakers have SD card slots or USB ports in addition to the Bluetooth function for connecting external playback devices. Thanks to them, you don't have to pair a player with your speakers to play music.

To use the Bluetooth speakers with your smartphone, tablet, PC, or laptop, you must first connect both devices. First, make sure your playback device's Bluetooth feature is turned on. Then turn on the same feature on your Bluetooth speaker. This is done by pressing the button on the speaker. Some models require you to press and hold for a few seconds, while others require just a short press. Now the so-called pairing between the two devices takes place. Usually this process only takes a few seconds.

A decisive advantage of Bluetooth speakers is their compactness. They are small and usually weigh only a few hundred grams. This makes them easy to transport and to install almost anywhere. There are also no annoying cables, which makes the Bluetooth loudspeakers much more flexible than conventional loudspeakers with a cable connection.

In addition to their compactness, they have another advantage that is important for playing music. The sound quality is significantly better compared to the sound output of smartphones or tablets. In addition, the maximum volume is also significantly higher. In order to achieve the highest possible playback quality, it is advisable to use Bluetooth speakers with aptX. This compression technology ensures that the quality of the music in audio transmissions does not deteriorate during transmission from the playback device to the loudspeaker.

The main drawback is the security gap that can occur if the device is used improperly. If you enable Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet, check your settings first. This ensures that no one else can access sensitive data such as pictures, videos, or contact information via Bluetooth.

The short range of Bluetooth technology is also a disadvantage from time to time. Although some models have a range of more than ten meters, the walls in your home can already break the connection.

Bluetooth is a technology that has been around for almost 20 years and was initially used mainly for mobile phones to connect them to each other and enable data exchange. Over the years, the technology has been continually improved, so that many versions of Bluetooth can now be found that differ in their characteristics. While the first versions only differ in terms of transmission speed, later versions also feature improvements in range and power consumption.

The first Bluetooth version 1.0 has a very low range and a transmission speed of only 732 kbps. Bluetooth 1.1 hardly has any updates compared to its predecessor, while Bluetooth 1.2 already has a transmission speed of 1.0 MBit/s. The Bluetooth 1.1 version has a very low range and a transmission speed of only 732 KBit/s. Bluetooth 1.1 hardly has any updates compared to its predecessor, while Bluetooth 1.2 already has a transmission speed of 1.0 MBit/s. The first significant increase in performance was achieved in 2004 with the introduction of Bluetooth 2.0. 2.1 MBit/s represented the highest speed for many years. Not until 2009 did the next version follow in the form of Bluetooth 3.0, with a maximum data rate of 24 Mbps.

However, current Bluetooth speakers no longer work with versions 1 to 3. Bluetooth 4.0 or even 5.0 have long since become the standard. Compared to 3.0, the current versions have many times the transmission speed and range, which means that the technology has meanwhile proven itself and can be used flexibly.

Bluetooth speakers usually connect easily to smartphones
Bluetooth speakers usually connect easily to smartphones

Bluetooth speakers can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. So there are some aspects you should take into account when buying Bluetooth speakers in order to find the best speaker for your individual needs.

The first criterion for selecting a speaker is its future use. If you want to use the Bluetooth speaker primarily outdoors, for example when camping, the housing should be suitable for that purpose. Important features for this are a robust and dust-resistant housing that is also waterproof. If the loudspeaker is used more at home, an integrated radio function is an advantage. This ensures that you can quickly play music in the bathroom or kitchen. For use in your own four walls, the Bluetooth speaker should also have a docking function. This way, you can significantly optimise the background noise and even use the speakers to improve the TV sound.

There are a few more features that are essential. Long battery life is especially important for outdoor use. The range of functions also plays an important role. Many of the current high-quality models can even do more than just play music. Some have connections for other sound sources that can be connected using a jack cable in addition to a hands-free function. An SD card slot is also an advantage. With an SD card, you can carry your favorite music around without needing an additional music source like your smartphone. Last but not least, a large Bluetooth range is an important indicator. Especially outdoors, a range of at least eight meters is very convenient. However, this range is only given if the Bluetooth speakers of your choice have at least version 4.0, or even better 5.0. When you buy a Bluetooth speaker, make sure that it meets the latest standards. Otherwise, data transfer and range could be too small to enjoy all the benefits of Bluetooth speakers.

It's also important to take a close look at the model of your choice before you buy. Speakers with Bluetooth capability are not always wireless. Although some models don't actually require a cable connection to the player, they still need to be plugged into a wall outlet to be powered.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

Have fun!

Rate this test

Questions

No questions asked

Comments

No comments

Ask George or leave a comment

E-mail address and name are optional

send