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What Are Portable Bluetooth® Speakers?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 20, 2024
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Portable Bluetooth® speakers are small speakers that can communicate wirelessly with a device to play music, phone calls, and other sounds. Such devices are available from a number of manufacturers and can vary in size and quality. Many come with an option to allow the user to create a wired connection, if desired, as might be necessary with an older piece of equipment that does not have Bluetooth® technology. The use of a standardized wireless technology makes these speakers compatible with a wide range of devices.

Bluetooth® is designed for very short range wireless use. Numerous manufacturers of wireless equipment use the technology for everything from cellphones to medical devices. In the case of portable Bluetooth® speakers, the operator can set up speakers next to a device like a laptop, cell phone, personal digital assistant, or tablet computer and the devices will network wirelessly to communicate. The setup is typically very fast and may not require any action on the part of the operator.

Such speakers are compact to make them easy to carry. Some may fold or nestle into each other to allow the operator to pack them more easily into a bag or purse. The small size does come with some tradeoffs. Loud volume levels are usually not possible, and the range of audible sound is more limited because the speakers lack the ability to produce very high and low frequencies. In addition, portable Bluetooth® speakers tend to have a lower sound quality because the wireless transmission can degrade the signal.

Portable speakers can be useful for travelers who need speaker capabilities but cannot carry around a large set. Some sets come with an additional bass speaker to expand the available range. Most allow for the creation of a wired connection to improve the sound quality or allow the operator to use the portable Bluetooth® speakers with a wider range of devices, like older computers without this particular wireless capability.

As with other wireless devices, some troubleshooting is sometimes necessary. The user may need to reposition the speakers to eliminate feedback and avoid obstacles that interfere with the signal or cut it out entirely. It is also important to power them down after use to avoid draining battery power while the speakers are not in active use. Some portable Bluetooth® speakers come with software or applications the user can install for more fine-tuned control over the speaker properties.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Oct 10, 2014

@Melonlity -- You don't need a subwoofer for good bass response, but you will have to spend some money to get a Bluetooth speaker that sounds good.

That's right -- a singular speaker. There are some very good all-in-one units that provide stereo sound, have very good bass response and some can even be set up as a speakerphone for your smartphone.

How do you choose a good speaker? First of all, plan to spend some money. Next, go to one of those stores that lets you try out speakers before you buy them (most "big box" stores will have displays set up and you can play with speakers all day). Make sure you have a smartphone loaded with some your favorite music so you can play with a lot of speakers and pick the one you want to buy.

By Melonlity — On Oct 09, 2014

A friend gave me a set of these as a present. I am not impressed with mine. All I know is that the idea of another expansion speaker to provide bass (a subwoofer) is a great idea because my set sounds tinny and they aren't nearly loud enough.

I figure the set I have is fairly inexpensive. You might want to spend some money if you are going to get a set of Bluetooth speakers.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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