Some of the advantages listed by cnet are that Bluetooth technology works nearly identical to AirPlay on Apple’s own iOS devices, that AirPlay devices tend to be expensive, and that Bluetooth devices don’t require a Wi-Fi network like AirPlay devices.
Finally, perhaps the biggest reason of all why Bluetooth speakers make sense – they can connect to any Bluetooth phone, tablet or laptops, not just Apple devices.
An Explosion of Portable Speakers
Bluetooth portable speakers aren’t new, but recently a slew of new models have been released by top speaker manufacturers, including:
- Bose SoundLink, a rechargeable speaker that works with any Bluetooth enabled phone, tablet or laptop, including Android and Apple iOS devices.
- Logitech Wireless Speaker for iPad and Wireless Boombox for iPad. These rechargeable speakers each have Bluetooth technology but not AirPlay, even though they’re designed for the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
- JBL OnTour iBT – a uniquely designed speaker that looks like a UFO and works with any Bluetooth enabled phone, tablet or laptop.
- Creative ZiiSound D5x or ZiiSound D3x, powerful Bluetooth enabled speakers that come with an optional wireless subwoofer (the ZiiSound DSx).
- Jawbone Jambox, a lightweight, rechargeable speaker that packs a punch despite its small size and comes in a rainbow of colors. It works with any Bluetooth enabled device.
There are also new devices like Logitech’s Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth audio devices, which lets you connect any Bluetooth enabled phone, tablet or computer to a conventional speaker, effectively making it wireless.
There are getting to be so many Bluetooth speakers that last spring cnet created a roundup of top portable Bluetooth speakers to help its readers keep track of them. It’s already getting out of date.
Bluetooth Audio Quality
The only thing I don’t agree with is in the cnet article is the claim that Bluetooth devices don’t provide the best sound for home entertainment because Bluetooth audio is compressed.
I’ve listened to Bluetooth audio on equipment that probably cost over $100,000 in a sound-proof room at a Bluetooth SIG member company and couldn’t tell the difference between Bluetooth audio and uncompressed audio.
My ears aren’t what they once were, but the younger folks who put these tests together and worked to optimize their product’s audio implementation couldn’t tell a difference either. Perhaps a golden ear can hear a difference between Bluetooth audio and uncompressed audio, but 99 percent of the population won’t notice.