July’s the one month in Yellowknife you can be sure the beach is hot, the campsites are packed and the lakes are teeming with more than just monster pike. It’s time to get outside, but enjoying the sounds of nature doesn’t have to mean leaving your tunes at home. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the Top 5 portable speakers for your outdoor summer adventures.
Many hours of deck lounging, campsite cooking and portaging through the great northern lakes helped me not only test, but fall in love with, a few of these little gems. To pick the best, I considered battery life, design, portability and, above all else, sound quality. So here we go!
5. JBL Charge
JBL is a name synonymous with sound. Don’t be fooled by the size — this little guy brings the heat with an impressive 12-hour battery life, compact size and great performance. It made my list primarily for cost vs. sound quality, and while it’s not the best sounding piece in the Top 5, it certainly sounds great for the price point and delivers great value.
4. Braven BRV-X
Designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind, the Braven BRV-X booms with 12 hours of music playtime and features a powerful 5200mAh power bank to charge external devices. That means if your phone dies while you’re out enjoying the sun, you can charge it directly from the speaker. As an added bonus, the BRV-X is designed with an IPX7 certified waterproof and shock-proof body so getting it wet is not an issue. It’s a little pricey, but if you’re looking for a tough speaker that performs, this just might be the number you’re looking for.
3. Bose Soundlink Color
Definitely one of my favourites, just ask my wife who hasn’t seen hers since I got her one as a gift many months ago. It soon became my companion for around-the-house jobs and our speaker of choice for our many paddling adventures. Although it doesn’t have the best battery life (only eight hours fully charged), its rich bass and fantastic sound put it firmly in my third spot. Another great feature is that it charges from a standard USB jack so our cell-phone charger or USB solar panel can keep the battery topped up while on the go. Also, you simply can’t beat the price, and now that it comes with a free travel case, the Soundlink colour is a real winner.
2. UE BOOM
The top two are tough ones. On many other lists, the UE BOOM fairs very well. Its excellent sound quality, insane battery life, water resistance and cool-convenience features make it a winner. It boasts 360-degree sound, which makes it perfect for placing on a picnic table and sharing great sound with everyone. It also allows two devices to be connected at the same time — great for parties where everyone wants to be the DJ. I had mentioned battery life and this little guy will rock for an impressive 15 hours, which makes it the best on the list. Plus, if you really like it, you can actually buy two for a stereo pair. This is a solid speaker that you’ll most certainly enjoy.
1. Bose Soundlink Mini Series 2
I can’t help but think of the Boom Boom clap, Boom Boom clap of Queen’s “We will rock you” when thinking about this powerhouse. New for summer 2015, Bose has taken the top-selling Soundlink mini and improved it all around with the new Series 2. Don’t let its small size fool you — this tiny package will indeed Rock You. At 10 hours, it’s not at the top in terms of battery life. What makes this speaker number one is pure sound quality. The all-aluminum chassis ensures it has a sturdy stance and provides rich bass notes you won’t believe are coming from such a small package. USB charging, a convenient charging cradle for home and a myriad of cool case options add to the awesomeness of this great speaker.
That’s a Wrap!
If you’re in the market for portable sound this summer, check out one of these fine products and by all means come down to Roy’s Audio Video Unlimited in the lower YK Centre for a demo. Or visit our website or give us a call at 867-873-5441 to place an order. We regularly ship products across the Northwest Territories.
And that’s our first installment of Roy’s AV Tips. We’ll be back in the fall with some invaluable camera and photo information for the shutterbug in you or on your holiday wish list.