Photograph by Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek

The Six Best Wireless Speakers

  1. Beats by  Dr. Dre Pill
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    Beats by Dr. Dre Pill

    Price: $200
    Battery life: 7 hours

    Cute and colorful, the Pill is a handheld-size Bluetooth speaker with volume controls and a speakerphone mode. The Pill easily syncs with your phone, tablet, or PC, and adds even more convenience by incorporating near field communication. Owners of smartphones that are NFC-capable, such as higher-end Androids, can sync them with the Pill by simply touching the phone to it.

    Photograph by Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek
  2. Sonos Play:3  (Overall Winner)
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    Sonos Play:3 (Overall Winner)

    Price: $299
    Battery life: Plug-in only

    Not only a wireless speaker, Sonos is a music-management and distribution system that includes hardware and software. The lunchbox-size Play:3 adjusts its output depending on whether it’s flat or sideways. All Sonos products work on a proprietary wireless network. The instructions are clearly written and not altogether hard, but it does require more effort than a Bluetooth setup.
    Photograph by Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek
  3. Jawbone Big Jambox
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    Jawbone Big Jambox

    Price: $300
    Battery life: 15 hours
    What we like: Rechargable

    The Big Jambox is large, loud, and capable. The setup remains simple, but the increased size and number of speakers inside the box make for a much bigger sound, and the jumbo rechargeable batteries last as long as 15 hours. In addition to onboard volume controls, the Big Jambox features buttons for skipping backward and forward through tracks, which means you can change the song even if your phone or laptop isn’t nearby.
    Photograph by Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek
  4. Bose SoundLink II
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    Bose SoundLink II

    Price: $300-$350
    Battery life: 8 hours

    Bose’s wireless speaker is the size and shape of a hardcover book. As far as absolute sonic quality is concerned, the Bose is a better speaker than the Jambox, but it doesn’t let you advance or repeat tracks and has only an 8-hour battery life. It comes in a regular version with a nylon front cover for $300; or if you want to splash out, you can spend $350 and get a fancy leather cover.
    Photograph by Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek
  5. Jawbone Jambox (Best Value)
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    Jawbone Jambox (Best Value)

    Price: $180
    Battery life: 10 hours

    A little smaller than a four-pack of butter, the Jambox is great for small rooms or travel. Pair it with your phone, PC, or tablet via Bluetooth, and any audio coming from your device is played through its speaker. The Jambox also works as a speakerphone for a smartphone, allowing you to pick up and hang up calls directly. The rechargeable battery alerts you when it’s running low.
    Photograph by Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek
  6. Sonos Play:5
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    Sonos Play:5

    Price: $399
    Battery life: Plug-in only

    The Play:5 can fill a larger room on its own, and the speaker is controlled by a Sonos App you install onto your PC or smartphone. The Sonos system can do neat tricks like send different songs to different speakers, so you can enjoy one track while your kids listen to something else. The App’s interface is not always the most intuitive, but if you’re serious about wireless audio in your home, Sonos is hard to beat.
    Photograph by Victor Prado for Bloomberg Businessweek