More and more people are using their tablets and smart phones to watch video and listen to music. Until recently, the sound hasn't been very good unless you use headphones. But now Consumer Reports has tested portable wireless speakers that are supposed to help. Some models are being heavily advertised.
Consumer Reports has tested almost 20 portable wireless speakers with rechargeable batteries. They use Bluetooth, so you can play audio from a smart phone or tablet without having to plug it in.
Testers evaluated sound quality in a specially designed lab. Some speakers sounded pretty good, but others didn't perform as well, with the worst delivering distorted audio. The Jambox from Jawbone was the lowest-rated speaker, and Beats by Dr. Dre fell somewhere in the middle.
Testers also looked at how easy the speakers are to use and the features each one offers. You want to be able to set up the speakers without too much trouble, and you want controls that work well. A USB port is also helpful so that you can charge your devices.
In the end, the TDK Life on Record Wireless Weatherproof Speaker topped the ratings with top-quality sound. It comes with a USB port and can also be used as a speakerphone for phone calls, all for about $150.
Consumer Reports says that its tests show sound quality is improving on mobile devices such as tablets and phones. But none has reached a level that can compete with what you'll get from a set of speakers.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.