CES 2013: Portable Speaker Roundup

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CES 2013 saw the introduction of quite a few new portable Bluetooth speakers, some sporting innovative designs like Qube's ultra tiny golfball sized speaker and Zagg's 2-in–1 speaker design. Here are a few of the more notable offerings:

Zagg Origin

The Origin speaker from Zagg is a dual Bluetooth speaker system that comes equipped with a small, portable speaker that can be taken on the go, and a larger desktop speaker.

Origin's smaller speaker seamlessly docks with the larger speaker, providing an uninterrupted listening experience. The docking speaker charges the portable speaker, which has a 10 hour battery life, and both speakers work in conjunction when fit together. It will be released in the Spring of 2013 and will retail for $249.99.

FELT Pulse and FELTaudio

FELT Audio's FELT Pulse Bluetooth speaker is small enough to fit into a pocket. It can also snap onto the back of the company's FELTaudio cases, and with an integrated speaker phone, it can be used to make conference calls.

The Pulse comes with a built-in stand and clip, so it can be set up on tables and desks or clipped to pockets and car visors, and it sports an eight hour battery life. It will be available in the Spring of 2013 for $99.

Matrix Audio Qube

Matrix Audio's Qube is 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches, and small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. The current version works with a 3.5mm headphone jack, but the company plans to ship a Bluetooth version in March.

The Qube comes in black, silver, and red, with additional colors planned for release at a later date. Despite being smaller than a golfball, the Qube sports 3 watts of output and an eight hour battery. The Qube will retail for $49.99.


Braven BRV-1

Braven's new BRV–1 is a rugged, rubber covered speaker that is water resistant, making it ideal for outdoor use. The company also announced the larger 850 Bluetooth aluminum speaker, which is similar in size to a Big Jambox, but able to charge iPads and iPhones.

The BRV–1 will retail for $170 in February 2013, while the 850 will be available for $300 at a later date.

Top Rated Comments

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102 months ago

I'm not sure why you'd need an AirPlay device specifically. I have two Bluetooth speakers and each one appears as an option for all of my Apple devices. I just select one as I would an AirPlay device and the Bluetooth speaker streams the content perfectly.


Because airplay just doesnt include your iphone or your ipad. any NEWER mac. and apple tv can also send music to an airplay device. Also im not sure how bluetooth works with multiple speakers but im betting you can only pair one at a time. Airplay is the simpliest way of creating whole house music on multiple speakers all at the same time. My setup:

pioneer VSX 1021 with airplay support in basement connected to home theater and zone 2 into work space
apple tv 2 connected to living room tv 1st floor
griffin twenty attached to airport express and speakers - portable
always on mac mini with attached itunes library. office
various ipod touches, iphones, ipads

from any idevice i can turn music onto the pioneer, griffin, apple tv, and computer to play all at the same time. or pick and choose which speakers i want on from either the local library or the shared itunes library. i have yet to purchase any single stand alone speaker/airplay system because they are all $200 plus. Until someone sells a $100 built in airplay decent sounding speaker system, i will continue to hold out.

and this is just on the music front. dont forget airplay's ability to send video - but thats off topic
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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102 months ago
Obscene prices, low quality woofers, cheap plastic, and bluetooth. Bluetooth really down converts the sound anyway, so even if you had an amazing setup, BT would be a bottle neck.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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102 months ago
most of these speaker are hardly worth the costs for their usefulness
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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102 months ago
I would really like a small speaker with Airplay support. Such a thing does not exist, though, and I don't hold out much hope that it ever will.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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102 months ago
Not very exciting
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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102 months ago

I would really like a small speaker with Airplay support. Such a thing does not exist, though, and I don't hold out much hope that it ever will.

1. Airplay sends uncompressed data over the wireless medium
2. Airplay requires WIFI (it would be difficult to do airplay in any other place except your home)
3. Airplay drains battery life substantially compared to bluetooth on both the sender and the receiver devices
4. Cost of implementing Airplay into a portable device is high
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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