4 Bluetooth speakers: Mono colors with stereo sound

Today's smartphones and tablets still have less-than-stellar speakers. Try one of these for a better audio experience.

By , Computerworld |  Mobile & Wireless

Press a tiny button in the base and up to five LEDs will light up to let you know how much battery power is left. A small LED near the volume control also tells you when the Switch is on or off. The device comes in one of five colors: black, red, grey, blue or white. According to the company, it will play up to 14 hours.

How did it sound?

Along with the Beats Pill, the Switch was the best of the four speakers reviewed here. Audio was very full and rounded, with great bass. It got quite loud without any distortion and offered very clear sound -- almost too clear; when I listened to an older rock recording, the slight distortions resulting from the transfer of analog to digital were audible. While the Pill sounded a bit more forceful when I played Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Switch excelled on complex music such as the chorale finale of Bernstein's Candide.

As a speakerphone, the Switch performed the best of all four devices. There were no digital skips or drop-outs at all, and the sound seemed about as good as your typical speakerphone -- in other words, a bit hollow, but understandable. If I were looking for a speaker that I expected to use reasonably frequently as a speakerphone, this would be the one.

Bottom line

The Switch is an excellent mobile Bluetooth speaker with very nice sound quality for a range of music; it also was the best speakerphone of the four devices. Its rectangular design allows it to fit in a variety of spaces, but it would probably not be as convenient to use on the go as the Beats Pill.

Pill

1.8 (diameter) x 7.5 in. Weight: 11.5 oz. Price: $199.95

It's immediately obvious why the Beats Pill has been given that particular moniker: It's shaped very much like a the kind of capsule you find in a medicine bottle -- although at 1.8 (diameter) x 7.5 in. and 11.5 oz., it's a bit large for human consumption.

The Pill's speaker grille (which protects four small front-facing speakers) is divided in the center by a solid strip of plastic that holds a large LED (decorated with a prominent "b") that shows when the power is on; above it are the volume up/down buttons. On the back of the device are the power button, a 3.5mm line-out port, an audio-in port, a small LED that shows you if Bluetooth is engaged and a micro-USB power port. According to the vendor, the Pill offers about 7 hours of play time.

Beats Pill


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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