Two years ago, I reviewed the initial Tribit StormBox, predicting a bright future for the company and its products. It’s been a long wait, but now Tribit has added the StormBox Pro to its lineup, and this new speaker’s performance signals that the company’s future looks just as bright as ever. At $129.99 USD, the speaker outperforms most of the contenders in its price and size range and is on par with a number of other heavy hitters in the portable Bluetooth niche.
JBL started its PartyBox lineup with the huge floorstanding PartyBox 300 speaker that I reviewed a little over a year ago. Since then, the company has added speakers of various sizes to the line, the latest being the PartyBox On-The-Go model, which is portable and can play from its internal battery without having to be plugged in. At $349.95 (all prices USD), it’s not inexpensive, but you get a lot for your money: a very good-sounding PA/disco/guitar/karaoke/party speaker with lots of neat features.
Continuing on the topic of compact Bluetooth speakers, a category I’ve been delving into in my past few reviews, I’ve encountered a worthy candidate from Sony: the SRS-XB33. It’s waterproof, dustproof, rustproof, and shockproof, and should prove to be a good companion for outdoor activities. Moreover, it operates in real stereo, sounds pretty good, and has a mesmerizing light show with DJ effects. At $148 (in USD), it’s a strong contender in its price and size class.
Bose is a legendary name in the world of audio speakers. The company has diehard fans. Having never experienced a Bose product firsthand, I determined that I should try one. In this case, it was the Bose SoundLink Color II. Though I found a few things to quibble about, this little speaker mostly lived up to the Bose hype. At $129 (all prices USD), it is a strong contender for purchase if you’re considering a speaker in its size category.
Back in 2013, I had a strong relationship with Logitech because I was reviewing most of its pioneering Bluetooth speakers. Somehow, likely due to a change in personnel, I regrettably lost touch with the company. My first impressions of its products were highly positive, and I followed their progress online as the firm re-established itself as Ultimate Ears. Recently, I made contact with them again, and I’m happy to review the Wonderboom 2, the smallest Bluetooth speaker in the manufacturer’s line-up. At $99.99 (all prices USD), it’s an attractive, affordable companion for outdoor activities.
It’s back to the familiar JBL cylindrical design this month with their newest addition to the Flip series, the Flip 5 Bluetooth speaker. As you might have guessed from the number, this popular series has been around for some time. The new model comes with a few improvements over the outgoing Flip 4, although it loses a few features as well. Still, at $119.95 (all prices USD), it’s one of the best little Bluetooth speakers around.
There’s no beauty contest for outdoor Bluetooth speakers, but if there were, JBL’s Pulse 4 would win. The cylindrical Pulse 4 has many LEDs distributed all over and around its single curved vertical/longitudinal surface that can distribute patterns of light through 360°. And it sounds good. It might seem costly at a list price of $249.95 USD, but it’s more than a portable Bluetooth speaker—many would consider the Pulse 4 a work of electronic art.
JBL continues to upgrade and update its models of portable Bluetooth speakers. The new Clip 4 offers some welcome new features while omitting some of the attractions of its predecessor, the Clip 3. At $69.95 USD it’s a bit pricey for its tiny size, but it can be found online for considerably less.
Incorporating extra storage space into a portable Bluetooth speaker is nothing new for EcoXGear, but their EcoJourney offers the most room yet. The 65W amplifier that serves its three drive units also makes it one of the most powerful speakers of its size. And while its list price of $199.99 USD is already a lot lower than that of any competitor, I found it for sale online for as little as $178.
JBL is sticking with its original models, tweaking them and assigning them new version numbers. A recent example is the Xtreme 3, the latest version of the original Xtreme, a medium-size Bluetooth speaker primarily designed for partying. It has USB-A and USB-C ports for charging USB devices, and an improved adjustable strap. Specified IP67, it’s waterproof and dustproof and, with one big caveat, has robust, well-balanced sound. But it’s pricey at $349.95 USD. (However, JBL’s website often offers even new models at 50% off.)