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Old Jan 9, 2013, 08:22 AM   #1
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CES 2013: Portable Speaker Roundup




CES 2013 saw the introduction of quite a few new portable Bluetooth speakers, some sporting innovative designs like Qube's ultra tiny golfball sized speaker and Zagg's 2-in-1 speaker design. Here are a few of the more notable offerings:

Zagg Origin
The Origin speaker from Zagg is a dual Bluetooth speaker system that comes equipped with a small, portable speaker that can be taken on the go, and a larger desktop speaker.

Origin's smaller speaker seamlessly docks with the larger speaker, providing an uninterrupted listening experience. The docking speaker charges the portable speaker, which has a 10 hour battery life, and both speakers work in conjunction when fit together. It will be released in the Spring of 2013 and will retail for $249.99.
FELT Pulse and FELTaudio
FELT Audio's FELT Pulse Bluetooth speaker is small enough to fit into a pocket. It can also snap onto the back of the company's FELTaudio cases, and with an integrated speaker phone, it can be used to make conference calls.

The Pulse comes with a built-in stand and clip, so it can be set up on tables and desks or clipped to pockets and car visors, and it sports an eight hour battery life. It will be available in the Spring of 2013 for $99.
Matrix Audio Qube
Matrix Audio's Qube is 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches, and small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. The current version works with a 3.5mm headphone jack, but the company plans to ship a Bluetooth version in March.

The Qube comes in black, silver, and red, with additional colors planned for release at a later date. Despite being smaller than a golfball, the Qube sports 3 watts of output and an eight hour battery. The Qube will retail for $49.99.

Braven BRV-1
Braven's new BRV-1 is a rugged, rubber covered speaker that is water resistant, making it ideal for outdoor use. The company also announced the larger 850 Bluetooth aluminum speaker, which is similar in size to a Big Jambox, but able to charge iPads and iPhones.

The BRV-1 will retail for $170 in February 2013, while the 850 will be available for $300 at a later date.

Article Link: CES 2013: Portable Speaker Roundup
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 08:31 AM   #2
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Not very exciting
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 08:45 AM   #3
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What I would like to see is a set of 2 small portable bluetooth stereo speakers, one right one left, so you can position them apart and get a stereo field. That would be cool.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 08:51 AM   #4
EmpyreanUK
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I would really like a small speaker with Airplay support. Such a thing does not exist, though, and I don't hold out much hope that it ever will.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:10 AM   #5
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I believe Boombot was there with their REX speaker. I'm a kickstarter backer of this project and think it will be a good product: water resistant, light, super portable, excellent sound, nice design. Check em out.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:12 AM   #6
jamesryanbell
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I have a Logitech UE that I take with me on trips, and it sounds great for $100.

Lasts a long time too on a charge.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:13 AM   #7
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What about monoprice's new 10W Bluetooth speaker? It combines a regular speaker/microphone and an induction speaker to use on big flat surface. Induction speakers I've heard so far seem to fall flat on higher frequencies and this appears to solve that by having two speakers.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10909&cs_id=1090901&p_id=9953&seq=1&format=2
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Absolutely not very exciting.

However, if you like portable audio check out minirigs from the UK : http://minirigs.co.uk/ They look a bit low rent but pretty much everyone I know that's heard one has bought one as they're that good... They're not big enough to go to CES but I suspect a lot better than most of the crap being made by big players!
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 10:39 AM   #9
DieAllianz
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Originally Posted by EmpyreanUK View Post
I would really like a small speaker with Airplay support. Such a thing does not exist, though, and I don't hold out much hope that it ever will.
Libratone Zipp

http://www.libratone.com/zipp/intro/
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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most of these speaker are hardly worth the costs for their usefulness
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:00 PM   #11
ssspinball
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Only $400!

Meanwhile comparable sized portable bluetooth speakers are available for $55. I get that AirPlay adds to the cost but why can't we have a $75 AirPlay device? Heck, even $100 seems difficult to achieve and it's been 2 years!
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:18 PM   #12
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I get that AirPlay adds to the cost but why can't we have a $75 AirPlay device?
I'm not sure why you'd need an AirPlay device specifically. I have two Bluetooth speakers and each one appears as an option for all of my Apple devices. I just select one as I would an AirPlay device and the Bluetooth speaker streams the content perfectly.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:47 PM   #13
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JBL Flip is a pretty good option these days at $99.
Got it for my bro this Christmas. Good sound for the money.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 01:17 PM   #14
EmpyreanUK
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I'm not sure why you'd need an AirPlay device specifically. I have two Bluetooth speakers and each one appears as an option for all of my Apple devices. I just select one as I would an AirPlay device and the Bluetooth speaker streams the content perfectly.
I did not know what Bluetooth speakers worked in this way. Just to be sure, do you mean that, once you've paired the phone/tablet with the Bluetooth speaker, you can use the Music app, tap the little output button (what I have until now thought of as the Airplay button) and select the speaker from the pop-up menu?
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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Not impressed, especially for those prices.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 01:43 PM   #16
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Obscene prices, low quality woofers, cheap plastic, and bluetooth. Bluetooth really down converts the sound anyway, so even if you had an amazing setup, BT would be a bottle neck.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 01:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jayducharme View Post
I'm not sure why you'd need an AirPlay device specifically. I have two Bluetooth speakers and each one appears as an option for all of my Apple devices. I just select one as I would an AirPlay device and the Bluetooth speaker streams the content perfectly.
Because airplay just doesnt include your iphone or your ipad. any NEWER mac. and apple tv can also send music to an airplay device. Also im not sure how bluetooth works with multiple speakers but im betting you can only pair one at a time. Airplay is the simpliest way of creating whole house music on multiple speakers all at the same time. My setup:

pioneer VSX 1021 with airplay support in basement connected to home theater and zone 2 into work space
apple tv 2 connected to living room tv 1st floor
griffin twenty attached to airport express and speakers - portable
always on mac mini with attached itunes library. office
various ipod touches, iphones, ipads

from any idevice i can turn music onto the pioneer, griffin, apple tv, and computer to play all at the same time. or pick and choose which speakers i want on from either the local library or the shared itunes library. i have yet to purchase any single stand alone speaker/airplay system because they are all $200 plus. Until someone sells a $100 built in airplay decent sounding speaker system, i will continue to hold out.

and this is just on the music front. dont forget airplay's ability to send video - but thats off topic
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 03:17 PM   #18
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$100 Airplay Speakers

Marshalls and TJ Maxx are selling Philips Fidelios for $99 at most locations in the Northeast, and the sound is surprisingly good for their small size. I picked up a few, plus one on clearance for $49.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 03:41 PM   #19
ssspinball
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Originally Posted by jayducharme View Post
I'm not sure why you'd need an AirPlay device specifically. I have two Bluetooth speakers and each one appears as an option for all of my Apple devices. I just select one as I would an AirPlay device and the Bluetooth speaker streams the content perfectly.
1. AirPlay does not compress audio, BT does.
2. AirPlay does not connect automatically when in range like BT does. It only connects when you tell your device to switch output to AirPlay. I leave BT turned on at all times on my iPhone because I use it in my car. I don't want it automatically connecting to my speaker dock when I walk in range and I don't want to have to manually connect it each time from the speaker either. AirPlay solves both issues elegantly.
3. BT has abysmal range compared to wifi. I can walk anywhere in my house and stay connected to my ATV via AirPlay while the phone is in my pocket. If I do the same with BT it cuts out like 10 feet away even in direct LoS.

However, as long as portable speakers with AirPlay are 3-10x the price of the equivalent BT version, I'll sadly deal with all 3 issues above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmpyreanUK View Post
I did not know what Bluetooth speakers worked in this way. Just to be sure, do you mean that, once you've paired the phone/tablet with the Bluetooth speaker, you can use the Music app, tap the little output button (what I have until now thought of as the Airplay button) and select the speaker from the pop-up menu?
It doesn't quite work that way in my experience. Once you're paired, it's going to connect to the BT device whenever you are in range (assuming BT is enabled on your device). Whereas AirPlay only connects when you tell it to.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 03:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by EmpyreanUK View Post
I would really like a small speaker with Airplay support. Such a thing does not exist, though, and I don't hold out much hope that it ever will.
1. Airplay sends uncompressed data over the wireless medium
2. Airplay requires WIFI (it would be difficult to do airplay in any other place except your home)
3. Airplay drains battery life substantially compared to bluetooth on both the sender and the receiver devices
4. Cost of implementing Airplay into a portable device is high
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 03:53 PM   #21
Morgenland
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Airplay support

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Originally Posted by EmpyreanUK View Post
I would really like a small speaker with Airplay support. Such a thing does not exist, though, and I don't hold out much hope that it ever will.
A small speaker with excellent sound via Airplay exists. I own one and I am very satisfied with its performance and am deeply impressed by its stereo effect in the small set up. Running iOS-devices (iPad, iPhone) and native support for Mac iTunes. You may google "airplay loewe airspeaker".


May be interesting for you if you like the price too.

Last edited by Morgenland; Jan 9, 2013 at 03:58 PM. Reason: updated
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 07:34 PM   #22
jayducharme
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Originally Posted by EmpyreanUK View Post
I did not know what Bluetooth speakers worked in this way. Just to be sure, do you mean that, once you've paired the phone/tablet with the Bluetooth speaker, you can use the Music app, tap the little output button (what I have until now thought of as the Airplay button) and select the speaker from the pop-up menu?
Exactly. When you press the "send to device" icon (AirPlay) you will see a choice of any connected/paired devices. For instance, I have an AppleTV, plus an A/V receiver with built-in AirPlay, plus the two Bluetooth speaker systems. When they're active, I have a whole list of devices to send the audio (and/or video) stream to, whether it's iTunes, Pandora or any other app that streams media content. I can only pick one device from the list, but I can also change that choice at any time.

Quote:
It doesn't quite work that way in my experience. Once you're paired, it's going to connect to the BT device whenever you are in range (assuming BT is enabled on your device). Whereas AirPlay only connects when you tell it to.
That hasn't been true with my iPad 3 and my iPhone 5. They connect until I quit the app I'm using (closing it out from the multitask bar). It won't connect again until I manually select a device, even with Bluetooth turned on.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 08:31 PM   #23
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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...rtable-speaker

I backed it for one.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 09:43 AM   #24
skidog1111
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Big Jambox

I bought the Big Jambox before the Christmas and have been very pleased with it. I use it every day.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 08:47 PM   #25
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That BRV-1 looks like it could be a great beach speaker. Anybody have any opinion of Braven speakers and how they compare to other portables on the market?
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