How to choose the right portable speaker

By Sujay Hegde

    Speakers comprise a large chunk of our lives. Yet, the gnawing misery of poor smartphone speakers is persistent. They’re fit for gaming or displaying short videos, but when it comes to heavier usage, smartphone speakers disappoint. The space in a phone isn’t big enough to accommodate powerful bass-thumping drivers.

    How to choose the right portable speaker

    Such problems are circumvented through portable speakers. These vessels of sound come in two varieties - Wired and Wireless. Wired speakers use a cable to connect (AUX or USB), and wireless ones use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Portable speakers house superior sounding drivers due to the freedom of space.

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    Buying a portable speaker is challenging since they are diverse. To help you navigate, we’ve listed the necessary points to consider when buying the speaker of your choice.

    Connectivity

    Most speakers connect through Bluetooth, but several others work with Wi-Fi. Portable speakers are usually robust with added options for greater flexibility. Below are the features that are used today.

    Wired

    Auxiliary port (AUX) - 3.5mm jack.

    USB

    Ethernet

    Wireless

    Wi-Fi/WLAN

    Bluetooth

    Near Field Communication (NFC)

    Some speakers decode audio files from an external storage device, such as microSD cards. Speakers of this sort come with USB drives or SD card slots.

    Size

    A smaller one takes up less space and is lighter (the JBL micro wireless fits in your pocket), but the drivers are small and the sound may not be booming enough. Bigger speakers have top-notch drivers but are difficult to carry around. Make note of your usage for an informed decision.

    Power

    Passive speakers use the amplifier of the connected device as a power source. They draw power using an AUX cable. Usually the most portable.

    Active speakers possess an amplifier, but need to be plugged into an electric outlet. These are loud and powerful.

    Battery-equipped speakers come with a built-in battery. All you need to ensure is that it's fully charged. These are heavier.

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    Drivers

    A driver is a transducer that converts electrical signals into sound through vibrations. This is a crucial element of the speaker and it sits behind the mesh. The quality of sound is proportional to the number of drivers. The types of drivers are three - Tweeter (2000 - 20000 Hz), Mid-Range (250 - 2000 Hz) and Sub-woofer (20 - 200 Hz).

    To stand out, some speakers come with additional features, such as remote controls or apps. Some respond to voice commands and use a microphone. The current trend is towards smart speakers that integrate your entire house. If that exceeds your requirements, then the points explained above are ample enough to help you purchase the speaker of your choice.

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