We are fortunate to represent a lot of great companies in the consumer electronics space, many of whom have Bluetooth speakers and/or products with Bluetooth functionality. As a result, we have picked up a good bit of knowledge about what consumers look for in such products.
Here are a few Bluetooth pearls to look for when buying a Bluetooth speaker:
- Ease of Connectivity: some of us may remember the early days of Bluetooth and the pain of “pairing” or connecting your device, and thankfully it’s gotten a lot easier. Today, most products include Near Field Communication (NFC), a set of protocols that enables devices to pair or connect to each other by simply touching them together. Like two lonely tech nerds reaching across the dark expanse of space to find meaning in an awful analog world. OK maybe not, but it is helpful for people like my dad whose understanding of technology is limited to marveling that the light always comes on in the fridge whenever he opens the door.
- Portability: everyone is demanding that they have access to their music everywhere at all times AND they want to be able to share it, so portability is critical. A good speaker will provide you with great, full-throated sound that you can easily take with you. There are ones you can clip on your bike, put on your boat or pack up with a beach chair. All of which brings me to the next point . . . . . .
- Water Resistant: if portability is key and people are bringing their speakers outdoors, a certain level of water resistance is desired in case you drop your speaker in a cooler at the beach (guilty) or get rained on during a tailgate (guilty) or mistakenly leave it outside to get frosted over after the NY Rangers beat down the Capitals in the playoffs AGAIN. Some even have IPX ratings – which is short for Ingress Protection and rates everything from water to dust particles. For example, iHome’s iBN6 is rated IPX7, which means it can be submersed up to 3 feet underwater for 30 mins without the unit dying. I know that to be true because that’s the sucker that got cooler-dumped at the beach and I was still able to annoy those around me with country music.
- Sound: ultimately the key feature of any speaker is sound, and it is the one feature that is impossible to judge based on packaging or product web sites or ads. The answer to the dilemma is to do your research. Go to web sites you trust and check out the product reviews; or head to your favorite retailer and give the speaker a test drive. The latter is especially helpful because you can see the unit’s overall quality first hand as well as listen to it.