Nikhil RastogiOct 24, 2016 11:16:59 IST
Diwali is just around the corner. A time to mingle and meet up with family, friends and relatives. Instead of the same cliché Diwali gifts, how about gifting something different? Like say Bluetooth speakers.
Why Bluetooth speakers you say? Well, with everyone having a smartphone and a tablet nowadays, what is the one thing that really lacks in these devices? Good speakers of course! Watching videos, listening to music, is a true pleasure when you can share that funny video or nice music with others.
Here are some really good choices to fit any budget, but first lets get some basics out of the way.
Tips on buying Bluetooth speakers
- Cheaper the speaker, the louder and screechier it is at higher volumes.
- Look for a colour other than the regular black as it might be a few hundred rupees cheaper.
- Two speakers definitely sound better than one. Look for stereo Bluetooth speakers which are a little wider and Rs 1000 upwards.
- Depending on your taste, most buy Bluetooth speaker for just light background music. If you want a speaker for serious listening, skip this category and go for proper floor standing or bookshelf speakers. Wireless sounds aren’t as good as wired and portability will always cost you more.
So here we go.
Budget: Under Rs 500
If you are looking for speakers that look decent and sound okay, but yet are presentable and cheap, you’ll find plenty of Chinese imports with Indian rebranding with ambiguous names such as O-Range, Mushroom Shaped, Shopkeeda and the like. Just remember that the sound is merely for loudness but obviously lacks quality. At this price, you can probably think of picking up several pieces to gift everyone in the family. Just don’t complain when everyone plays music at the same time.
Budget: Rs 501 to Rs 2000
Here’s where quality and good finish start to kick in. You’ll see some big brands offering decent sounding speakers with good looks and functionality at low cost.
First up, Logitech x100 are nice Bluetooth speakers (on Amazon selling for under Rs 2,000), the design is uniquely made of hard-rubberised finish to take a few bumps quietly and it comes with a loop design making it convenient to hang it anywhere. Gifting with the unique colours really does make the speaker standout. It's younger brother, Logitech X50 is very similar in design minus the rubberised finish, louder and better bass apparently.
Altec Mini H2O Bluetooth speaker is a great example of good design on a budget with the uniqueness of waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and it floats on water! An excellent example of a unique quality gift for friends and family, as it will make an excellent companion on trips without the fear of spoiling the speaker at the beach or pool parties.
If you want a nice design that is loud and yet doesn’t distort, Philips wireless portable speaker BT50A/00 would be a good fit. This speaker features anti-clipping tech that doesn’t let sound distort at higher volumes.
Stereo Bluetooth speakers are any day better than mono ones, Altec Lansing certainly realises this with Dual Motion IMW140 Bluetooth Speakers under Rs 2,000 which delivers better sound than most of the speakers in this price point. Gift this to someone who cares about their music while still not breaking the bank. For more refined sound look at the top-end in stereo Bluetooth category.
Budget: Rs 2,001 to Rs 5,000
Creative Woof 3 is our personal favourite for around Rs 2,500. This speaker has clear sound, strong mids and good highs, what lacks is the bass but the speaker is loud, small enough to fit into a 250ml tea cup and has inbuilt microSD card music player support too, so you don’t have to hook up your smartphone all the time. This for some reason may be a little harder to get as of now, but a good buy under Rs 3,000. Read our full review here.
Logitech X300, bigger brethren of X100 and an excellent choice design and sound wise. These stereo speakers are powerful, have a down-firing subwoofer, and are angled for a wide stereo sound.
If you aren’t looking for portability but a full blown 2.1 wireless speaker system, give Creative’s T3150 a spin. Big in size and definitely fuller sound than any Bluetooth speaker while still having smartphone and desktop PC connectivity all rolled into one. A good gift for someone who wants home audio with wireless capability.
Sony SRS-X11, the small cute little wonder from Sony sounds really good, well-balanced for its size and shape. The rounded edged cube shape, the finish and the playfulness really appeal. Plus these have the unique feature of pairing up two SRS-X11’s for stereo sound. Check out our full review.
Portonics Pure Sound Pro II is what you get when you want a sound bar with Bluetooth capability. Surprisingly it has an inbuilt battery, a microSD card slot inside and weighs all under 1 kg. This is a great gift and quite impressive by sheer size alone, a perfect versatile companion for the living room with a touch of portability in it.
Budget: Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000
Here we arrive at the higher end spectrum of Bluetooth speakers, you’ll typically find much better quality and uniqueness in terms of materials used.
House of Marley Liberate Bluetooth Speaker is a brand well known for having unique designs in all their products such as the Bamboo finish. These speakers boast of Dolby HD quality audio and are the only speakers that are truly made in wood rather than high-grade plastic that all Bluetooth speakers use.
Skullcandy Air Raid is what you call the Hulk among Bluetooth speakers. These speakers are rugged, water resistant, drop resistant, basically nothing can destroy them. They are also darn loud and are meant for crazy parties, not soft music nor elegance at home. If you get into a bar-pool fight, you’d want these next to you.
Budget: Rs 10,000 upwards
Here the quality is unmatched. All the bells and whistles are thrown at the Bluetooth speakers in this category. All these speakers use passive radiators to enhance the bass immensely while keeping the size small but delivering clean and loud sound. Gift this only to an audiophile who truly enjoys listening to music or a relative you really want to impress.
JBL Pulse 2 are the most copied speakers in the market in terms of lights that can literally make you “see” the music in all its nuances. You can completely control the lights, set the mood, while the speaker is elegant enough to be used inside and with a rugged splash proof design that lends it to be comfortable outside too. Consider it a lava lamp with a lot of oomph!
Harman Kardon Esquire 2, our personal favourite as it screams of elegance, excellent finish, very effective quad microphone system; expect people to do double-takes when seeing at the speaker. This is one speaker that doesn’t resemble a speaker at all and yet boasts the best sound under Rs 20,000. Read our full review here.
Lastly, what Bluetooth speaker guide would be complete without mentioning Bose. The Bose SoundTouch 30 is Bose’s top end and it shows. This speaker costs around Rs 57,000 and boasts some really high-end features like Wi-Fi network, One-touch access to music services (Spotify, Pandora), intuitive control with the SoundTouch app and built-in multi-room audio support. Unfortunately, internet radio services are not accessible in India, and the speaker is not really portable but rather a home entertainment system.
There you have it folks, lots and lots of great Bluetooth speakers at all price points. Feel free to give a shout in the comments for suggestions in case we missed a great Bluetooth speaker you like. And don’t forget, no matter the size of the speaker, it is the heartfelt thought that matters the most.
Happy Diwali everyone!
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