7 Best Bluetooth Speakers for 2018 in the UK
One of the most affordable choices in the market right now, Anker SoundCore 2 ranks number 1 in the best-selling speakers’ list on Amazon.co.uk. The reason lies in one word: value-for-money. But let’s have a closer look to see what we get with just 42 pounds.
Design: In terms of design, Anker SoundCore 2 is definitely not going to impress you. It’s the typical little black bar with the usual power, volume and playback buttons on the top. The whole body is covered with a matte rubbery material that feels velvety to the touch, yet it’s not anti-fingerprint, so have in mind that you’ll need to wipe it down all the time to keep it spotless. That said, it’s the simplicity of the design that makes its function really straightforward. Also, its pretty small size and weight (16.5 x 5.4 x 4.5 cm and 540 g respectively) make carrying it in your bag a piece of cake. Moreover, the materials used here are of good quality, so there are fewer worries about accidentally damaging the device. Overall, the design is not fancy, but the device is easy to use and convenient regarding using it outdoors; it is just as the manufacturer says: you “grab n’ go”!
Range: The wireless range is pretty good – at 66 feet – again, having the low price in mind. The transmission quality is neither too impressive nor too poor. It is a fact though interfering obstacles, like walls, do not affect the signal to a grave extent.
Battery Life: And we’ve reached to what it can be considered as the foremost advantage of this model, in this price range. Battery lasts the whole day without being recharged, which is much longer than its rivals in the same category.
Sound Performance: The sound quality can be graded as average, yet it is far better using Anker SoundCore2 to play music from your smartphone than relying solely on your phone’s speakers. The problems are noticeable when you turn the volume too high- that’s the point where sound gets distorted and becomes irritative. Bass lovers will also be disappointed by Anker SoundCore2 because deep bass frequencies are not the device’s strong point. In a few words, complicated tracks with various instruments cannot be properly resolved by AnkerSoundCore2, but if you don’t have very high expectations, you will be happy with the result.
Other Features: On the side of the speaker you’ll find a flap that protects the charging port from splashes of water – a feature you will read in the description as “water-resistant”. In truth, we really didn’t expect details like this at such a low price, really impressive. Yet, bear in mind, you cannot have the speaker fully immersed in the water. It is not that much water-resistant!
Another good extra feature is the built-in microphone that gives you the ability to make calls and use your phone assistants (i.e. Siri and Google). It also comes with an 18-month guarantee, and the customer service is great.
2. Sumvision Psyc Monic Wireless Bluetooth Speaker 20W Passive Subwoofer Bluetooth 4.0
Another budget-friendly speaker, Sumvision Psyc Monic is a very affordable choice, retailing at around the same price as AnkerSoundCore2. Want to see what you get with less than 40 pounds?
Design: Once again, we come across a very simple design: A brushed aluminium body, a grill at the front with the logo “psyc” printed on, and two buttons on top to control the volume. The shape of the buttons give in a try to be different and modern – they are rectangular rather than round. Other than these, though, we see no other novelties in this model but, to be frank, we didn’t expect anything more than the basic design. The dimensions are very similar to the Anker SoundCore2 model, so it is equally portable with the aforementioned speaker.
Range: Its transmission quality through a Bluetooth 4.0 connection is surprisingly good since it managed to play the song at around 50 feet distance with several walls in between.
Battery Life: Sumvision Psyc Monic offers you six full hours of playback music, which is a quite satisfactory amount of time, provided you haven’t check yet on SoundCores2 top record of 24 hours. It definitely falls behind in that feature, but let’s admit it: 6 hours are pretty good for this price range, right?
Sound Performance: We are truly chuffed to bits with this model’s sound performance! It reproduces really well all sound frequencies, while it excels in mid and sub bass tones. It amazed us how powerful an affordable speaker can be! Monic also performs really well in separating the sounds of different instruments, making the hearing of a complicated music composition more enjoyable. Thus, it is without a doubt an ideal choice for bass lovers and generally those who seek very good quality in sound performance!
3. Anker Stereo Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker
Continuing in the same vein, the next product that caught our attention is another Anker model, the Stereo Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker (A3143). Amazon’s price for that 2015 model is a little over 40 pounds, so again we are in the same price range as with the previous two. Let’s see this speaker’s pros and cons.
Design: Anker has made a very good upgrade here in terms of design. First of all, the main body’s material is a glossy plastic, which makes the product show more expensive than it really is. Then, we have the curved lines that contribute to the device’s minimal and chic appearance. Also, at the front, where the grille is located, they have placed a thin fabric covering that reminds us of the old times. Thus the design has a somewhat vintage note, too. All these improvements are welcomed, but we have an objection to make: the buttons on top of the device spoil the whole image and give away the low price of the speaker! The plastic material they are covered with is flimsy and bubbly, bringing to mind plastic electronics of the worst quality! Nevertheless, we have to admit that Anker has made a nice try and we expect more improvements in the future!
Range: The range, on the other hand, at 33 feet maximum, can be considered – more or less -standard. Connecting this model to your phone is a piece of cake, and once you’ve done the first pairing, it automatically reconnects everytime the device is within range, another convenient feature. The downside is that the transmission quality is affected once you have a wall or two in the way.
Battery Life: Battery life is not bad either since it allows 8 hours of undisturbed playback music. What is more, the power button on top of the speaker has a light indicator that starts blinking once you reach 7 hours of use, warning you of the low battery levels. A very smart addition, in our opinion.
Sound Performance: SoundCore2 definitely wins the battle in terms of battery life, but when it comes to sound performance the Stereo Wireless A3143 is the winner, hands-down. It excels particularly in low frequencies, which are very powerful, distinguishable but yet not too loud to overshadow the song. The mids are good, especially if you are standing in front of the speaker, and the highs are really good.
Other Features: Unfortunately, the A3143 model isn’t waterproof, but with your purchase, you get the 18-months guarantee and Anker’s customer service.
4. TaoTronics TT-SK03 Water Resistant Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Now, if you’re in search of a small ‘n’ handy Bluetooth speaker so that you can stop singing acapella in the shower, we bring good news! TaoTronics Water Resistant Wireless Bluetooth Speaker fits the bill. But let’s have a closer look at the specs.
Design: TT-SK03 is a tiny, round and sleek gadget with five buttons on top and a strong suction silicon cup on the bottom. It reminds a miniature wheel if you see it from afar. With dimensions as small as 9 x 9 x 5 cm and weight of just 110 grams, you can place this gadget practically everywhere without making its presence known. The silicon cup allows you to attach it to a vertical surface of your shower. The five buttons include the power button, forward button (which also turns the volume up), backwards and turning the volume down button, play/pause button and of course, the button for answering calls. In essence, all the basic features you might need- nothing more and nothing less. Also, a LED light placed on top of the device will let you know when the Bluetooth is in pairing mode with your device. Last but not least, it is available also in light blue colour, apart from the classic black option.
Range: The range of this tiny and affordable is fine. The gadget doesn’t lose contact with the paired device even if the second is placed 33 feet away! Not bad for such a low price, don’t you think? This means you can leave your phone or tablet in another room and change songs or receive hands-free calls through your TT-SK03 Bluetooth speaker! Upon receiving a call, the music automatically pauses until the call is ended.
Battery Life: The built-in rechargeable battery needs 2 hours to be fully charged and gives you 5-6 hours of undisturbed playback music. Having in mind its tiny size and the incredible price, we could not expect something more than that. After all, 5 hours is abundant time to have a shower, to say the least.
Sound Performance: The sound quality is surprisingly good for this tiny speaker. The sound is crisp, well-balanced with a remarkable tremble and bass. Due to this fact, it can perform really well with a variety of music genre. The speaker can go loud enough to fill a medium-sized bathroom with music. Admittedly, there are other options in the market that offer much better sound quality, yet this model’s sound performance is decent for this price range.
Other Features: Pairing the TT-SK03 Bluetooth speaker with any Bluetooth compatible device is a piece of cake. You just hold the power button until you hear a beeping sound. Then, you’ll see the blue LED light repeatedly flashing, indicating the speaker is in pairing mode. And that was it! Search in your Bluetooth compatible device to find the speaker and make the connection. However, keep in mind that it cannot be paired with devices that don’t have Bluetooth built-in since this is the only way of pairing for this gadget. TT-SK03 is also splash-proof, which is probably its most useful feature because it can be placed in a bathroom and deal with the excess humidity with no problem. Yet, it is not waterproof, so you will probably need a new one if you accidentally submerge it in the water. Last but not least, the speaker comes with a 1-year guarantee, as is the usual with TaoTronics products.
5. Nubwo Wireless Portable Travel Mini Speaker
Another affordable and impressive – in terms of design- mini speaker, ideal for travels due to its small size. The specs are similar to the Taotronics one, yet there are some differences that attract a different type of buyers. To find out if you are one of them, just keep on reading!
Design: Nubwo Mini Speaker is a small cylinder that weighs about 200 grams. Its rather small dimensions, 7 x 5 x 7 cm, make it very easy to carry it in your bag. However, its foremost advantage is the sleek and stylish design. On top we have just the grill of the speaker, while the buttons are hidden at the bottom of the gadget, thus making it look far more expensive than it really is. Nevertheless, this smart trick has its downside, since it is not easy to reach the buttons in everyday use. In other words, in this speaker, style beats functionality. Its looks are very impressive though, having a silky metallic finish in the main cylindrical body, available in 3 different colours: rose gold, black (matt) and gold. What is more, there is a LED ring at the bottom which lits when the device operates and emits a beautiful blue light. The two light colour options are mostly bought and appreciated by women.
Range: The range of this model -at 33 feet maximum- is not very impressive, but given the very low price of the gadget and the small size of it, this number is adequate, to say the least. Still, we expected something better from this gadget, and not to have the same range with the tiny Taotronics TT-SK03, which was mentioned above.
Battery Life: The Lithium rechargeable battery of 500mAh enables this little gadget to operate for 5 hours with the settings in low volume, while in maximum volume the battery runs out at about 3 hours. We can say that battery life is not this mini speaker’s strong point but -again- we can’t complain due to the very low price of the gadget.
Sound Performance: Nubwo’s mini speaker is great at mids but can be considered average at bass, where you experience a little blur in Nevertheless, the sound quality startled us as we didn’t expect this quality at such a low price. Staying true to the description, this speaker is deceivingly small, and its performance exceeds your expectations. Without a doubt, it’s a value-for-money option that won’t disappoint the majority of the buyers.
Other Features: Nubwo wireless travel speaker is equipped with the latest 4.1 Bluetooth technology. Thus, it is compatible with the majority of the newest devices. Moreover, it supports non-Bluetooth connections. The interesting thing is that it supports 3.5 aux line but without having a 3.5 mm port. Instead of using a separate cord for charging and for audio input, this device combines these two in one. This trick offers the best possible sound quality and noise cancellation. Last but not least, Nubwo offers a 1-year guarantee with this product.
6. Betron KBS08 Wireless Portable Travel Bluetooth Speaker
Betron KBS08 travel Bluetooth speaker caught our eye due to the very low price (under 30 pounds but with occasional discounts, this price drops to 15-13 pounds!) and its affluent special features. But let’s see them one by one, shall we?
Design: While the number 5 in our list leans more on the girly side, this mate here has a sporty look. Again, a small cylinder that is coloured on its sides (available in 7 different colours!), a black grill on top and a 4-button control, easily accessible at the lower black ring of the cylinder. It’s pretty compact and small, weighing just 200 g, very lightweight to carry around in your bag or even pocket since its 6 x 6 x 6 dimensions (literally about the size of your palm) make it the smallest out of our list!
Range: Again, no surprises here, the standard 33 ft range. But given the low price and the small size of the device, we are very content with the standard range.
Battery Life: A fully charged battery lasts a good 4/5 hours. Also, the speaker is delivered fully charged, another advantage that it allows you to test the device right away.
Sound Performance: The sound quality is amazing, yet the maximum volume is not enough to serve a party, for example. However, it’s much better regarding sound performance than many others in the same price range. The bass is great and can be enhanced by placing the gadget on a hard surface.
Other Features: Betron KBS08 comes in a variety of colours, and it turns into a disco ball when in use! Of course, you can turn off the LED feature if you are not a big fan. It supports micro-SD cards (has a separate port in the lower black ring) and a 3.5 aux port. Another great addition to this small and handy speaker is the built-in FM Radio. A plugged-in cable or SD card serves as the antenna, and you can hear music without being connected to another device just by pressing the MODE button.
7. Ultimate Ears Boom 2 Wireless/Bluetooth Speaker
Moving on to the more pricey options, Ultimate Ears Boom 2 speaker is a waterproof speaker with stellar performances in maximum volume and battery life. It is one of Amazon’s recommendations and since 2015 is among the top-selling speakers of its range.
Design: UE Boom 2 is pretty similar in design to the exact previous model, UE Boom. It’s a 7 x 7 x 18 cm tube that weighs about half a kilo. Not surpassing the size of a half-little bottle of still water, it is compact and easy to carry around. It features a 360 speaker grill, which is the characteristic that makes it stand out from the crowd. It also comes in a variety of colour combination and design patterns, a very welcome change from the usual Bluetooth speakers’ colours and styles.
Range: The range is absolutely fantastic, at 100 feet maximum, it surely is ahead of many other options in the market, but still it was something expected for the price range of about 150 pounds.
Battery Life: This great device is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery that lasts up to 15 hours maximum! Of course, the maximum endurance is feasible only in low volume settings, yet, even in higher volume, the battery lasts up to 11 hours, which is still very impressive!
Sound Performance: The sound quality of UE Boom 2 is outstanding! The bass is solid and powerful, and you have the option to alternate the audio settings for better performance through the UE Boom App. This great addition really makes the difference because you can tailor the gadget’s sound performance to have the optimum sound delivery for specific tracks. Pretty loud and crisp sound, the sound performance gets four stars!
Other Features: UE Boom 2 is waterproof, which means that it can be submerged in water of up to 1 meter for half an hour. However, the unique feature of this speaker is the loud 360 sound, making it an ideal option for parties. It is easily paired with the latest devices with a built-in Bluetooth technology, and it also has a micro-USB port.