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Toss-up: portable Bluetooth speakers

Date

Alex Kidman

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Jawbone Big Jambox, $359.

Jawbone Big Jambox, $359.

There are times when you might want to share your audio with those around you and cannot rely on the speaker of your mobile device or music player. A good Bluetooth sound box might be just what you need. A decent one will easily outstrip the capabilities of even the best smartphone loudspeaker, and can serve as a desktop accessory.

If you're after portability, Jabra's Solemate offers a shoe-size speaker in its own sand-proof bag. It's simple to pair up (that is, connect) your smartphone as you go, and it announces it's paired when switched on. Audio quality and output are decent except at top volume, so while you couldn't get a party rocking with it, you could certainly fill a small room with your favourite sound.

Those after a more-powerful option should consider the Jawbone Big Jambox. As the name suggests, it's a super-size Bluetooth speaker, which means it's not quite as portable at 1.23 kilograms, but does offer a solid 15-hour playback time, compared with the Solemate's eight. It also has dedicated playback buttons, while the Solemate has only a call-answering button.

Jabra Solemate, $199.

Jabra Solemate, $199.

The verdict

The Solemate's a good match for the very active music listener, but it doesn't quite match the Big Jambox for battery life or audio output. Then again, it's priced accordingly and is far more portable. Audiophiles should veer towards the Big Jambox.

Jawbone Big Jambox
$359
jawbone.com

Jabra Solemate
$199
jabra.com

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