The world of the portable Bluetooth wireless speaker is a crowded one, but SOL Republic is confident that its Deck speaker can stand above the rest, what with it's unique feature set. The SOL Republic Deck is a $199 speaker that comes out of of a collaboration between the company and Motorola (which took care of the Bluetooth connectivity side of things,) resulting in a flat, eye-catching design that can pump your beats with relative ease. Is it worth your time and money? Join us for our SOL Republic Deck review as we answer that question.
It's not just the Beats Executive on-ear headphones that are new from Beats Audio, as the company has also released it's own portable Bluetooth speaker: the Beats Pill. Yes, it's a pill-shaped speaker, likely a play on the fact that it's part of the Beats by Dr. Dre line, and doctors prescribe pills. Anyhow, cheesy concept aside, the Pill brings 12 watts of power across four 1-inch drivers into it's contoured frame, made up of metal grilles and soft-touch plastic. The rechargeable battery can pump out up to 7.5 hours of tunes, and offers NFC support for easy pairing with Bluetooth devices that support the standard (including the upcoming Lumia 920, HTC devices, and all Android Jelly Bean NFC smartphones--the iPhone doesn't have NFC support at this time.) A microphone is also built-in, allowing the Pill to also work as a speakerphone, and a physical audio input lets you connect devices that don't support Bluetooth as well. You can pick up the Pill Bluetooth speaker for $200.
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Monster is jumping into the high-quality Bluetooth loudspeaker game with the ClarityHD Micro, which they introduced at CES 2012. Similar to the Jawbone Jambox that's been so popular over the past couple of years, the ClarityHD Micro produces "higher definition sound" from your Bluetooth devices, and also allows you to take calls as well using its built-in omnidirectional microphone. So you can be streaming the latest from Justin Bieber from your iPhone, and when a call comes through, you can answer it and hold the conversation over the ClarityHD Micro as well. Convenient. Additionally, the speaker grills are magnetic and interchangeable, allowing the user to switch up the color and style. Expect to pay $219.95 when they ship worldwide this March.
Aliph has made top-quality mono Bluetooth headsets for years, but the company has generally stayed away from the murky world of Bluetooth stereo. That changes with the Jawbone Jambox speaker set ($199.99 direct), the company's first foray into stereo. It's a small, battery-powered speaker that can play music from a wired or Bluetooth connection from your cell phone and also function as a speakerphone. It packs a surprising amount of punch for such a tiny device, and while it doesn't sound perfect, it's surprisingly good.
The Jambox looks like a cross between an Aliph Jawbone Icon ($69, 4 stars) headset and a brick. It's perfectly rectangular, with stark, straight lines. The top and bottom of the speaker are capped with hard rubber, and the metal grill between them wraps all the way around the body. The grill has a diamond pattern, evoking the look of Aliph's headsets. At 6 by 2.2 by 1.6 inches (HWD), the Jambox is a compact, if blocky, device. It's also surprisingly heavy, weighing 12 ounces.
Pretty much any modern smartphone or tablet device has Bluetooth built into it nowadays, and that means you can pair them to a speaker device to send audio wirelessly through a more powerful, louder unit. The thing is, those have been few and far between, and not very good. Aliph changed that with their newly-released Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker. You can easily pair it with your phone, iPod touch, iPad, or any other device that support Bluetooth audio. It's a small speaker that you can hold in your hand, but manufactured in such a way that it provides fantastic sound, so you can stream audio to it from wherever you are in the room, no wires needed. You can choose from four colors, and the battery is rechargeable. You can get it from Best Buy or Apple for $199.
Oh, and of course, if you or someone you know needs a Bluetooth heads, the Aliph Jawbone is one of the best. These guys know how to make Bluetooth devices.