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Best Bluetooth speakers 2021: portable music put to the test


When we’re all allowed to meet up again, there had better be music and pizza (Ultimate Ears)

As the easing of coronavirus restrictions and warmer days start to shimmer on the horizon, you may start daydreaming about actually venturing out to see people.

If you’re anything like us, those dreams will include blue skies, cold drinks and some good music providing the vibes.

But rather than utilise an empty pint glass to bolster your phone’s speakers, why not invest in some proper audio accompaniment?

Bluetooth speakers have been around for yonks. But they haven’t always been great. The advent of a better Bluetooth standard and improved speaker tech has given rise to some excellent candidates of late.

We’ve picked out some of the best Bluetooth speakers currently available and put them through their paces.

Best Bluetooth speaker for outdoor parties: Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

The UE Hyperboom is loud, but perfect for alfresco listening (Ultimate Ears)

Ultimate Ears has a reputation for excellent outdoor speakers and the Hyperboom is no different.

As you’d expect from the biggest speaker on test, the sound that oozes out of this portable party starter is excellent. It’s punchy, powerful, well-balanced and loud.

Those larger dimensions means it’s not as effortless to carry around as your typical portable Bluetooth speaker but with its stylish design and ability to pair with two devices simultaneously to seamlessly switch between smartphone DJs, we think we can let that go.

£359, johnlewis.com

Best Bluetooth speaker for Alexa: Bang & Olufsen BeoSound A1 (2nd gen)

It comes in this fetching green colour (B&O)

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is the original version of B&O’s A1 speaker, with almost identical gorgeous (and now waterproof) metallic stylings.

But beneath the classy exterior, some improvements make this a highly desirable package. There’s Alexa compatibility to do your voice-based bidding, which relies on a smartphone or other connected device to work.

Also, audio quality is superb, it’ll keep singing for up to 18 hours and controls are clearly positioned.

£200, bang-olufsen.com

Best Bluetooth speaker for design: Marshall Emberton

We’re digging the guitar amp styling (Marshall)

Don’t be fooled by the size of Marshall’s stylish speaker.

Taking on the guise of a miniaturised guitar amp, the Emberton delivers a bigger sound than its dinky dimensions suggest, spitting out loud, delightful audio for up to 20 hours.

It lacks some power in its audio performance depending on what you’re listening to and there’s no mic for calls but a strong battery life, waterproofing and cool (and durable) mini amp overcoat makes this one helluva desirable portable speaker.

£129.99, marshallheadphones.com

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

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