Feeds

Ten of the Best... MP3 speakers

Play it all night long

The essential guide to IT transformation

Round-up Portable loudspeakers are always a tricky proposition. Generally, small speakers produce an equally small sound. If you do try to pump up the volume then the sound tends to become distorted.

So there’s a difficult balancing act between the size of the speakers and the quality and volume of the sound that they can produce.

Because of this, portable speaker designs tend to be very diverse. At one end of the spectrum you’ve got big fat systems, such as Harman Kardon’s Go+Play boombox, which produces a huge sound but only barely qualifies as portable. Going to the other extreme, there are some tiny little speaker systems, such as Creative’s TravelSound 400, which can last for almost three full days off a set of AAA batteries but produce fairly modest volume - albeit with quite good sound quality.

So before buying any set of portable speakers, you really need to decide what you’ll be using them for. The travelling sales rep who needs to run presentations on a laptop will appreciate a compact model such as the TravelSound or Cygnett’s GrooveCube, while a teenage backpacker may prefer the beefier sound of Logitech’s Pure-Fi speakers.

With the iPod still dominating sales of portable music players, it’s inevitable that many speaker systems are designed with the Apple player in mind. But in the interests of fairness, we’ve tried to focus on speaker systems that also provide secondary inputs, allowing you to use them with other makes of player too.

Altec Lansing SoundBlade

Altec Lansing SoundBlade

Altec Lansing makes a wide range of very good portable speakers, mostly designed for use with the iPod. However, the SoundBlade is an attempt to cast the net a bit wider. Measuring barely 2.5cm thick, the SoundBlade is an extremely compact and lightweight set of wireless speakers, primarily designed for use with Bluetooth phones - though there’s an AUX input that will allow you to connect it to a regular MP3 player too. You can listen to music from your phone, or take calls by switching into speakerphone mode, which uses a built-in microphone to pick up your voice. Audio quality is good, with plenty of volume for such a slimline device, although a little more bass wouldn’t go amiss.

Reg Rating 80%
Price £75
More Info Play.com

Creative TravelSound 400

Creative Travelsound 400

Most of these portable speakers will run off batteries, but are primarily designed for use in locations where you’ll have access to mains power. In contrast, Creative’s TravelSound 400 speakers don’t include a mains adaptor at all, and are clearly designed to be picked up and carried around with you. This compact and lightweight set of speakers can run for more than 30 hours off four AAA batteries. The audio quality is good, but those little AAA batteries don’t pump out as much volume as most of the other speakers in this group. Even so, the TravelSound 400 is still a good choice if you want to listen to music as you lounge by a swimming pool, or give an impromptu presentation with your laptop.

Reg Rating 80%
Price £41 - click to compare prices
More Info Amazon.co.uk

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Will It Blend? Maybe. BlackBerry’s secret comeback weapon
The Desktop PIM buddy: A 1990s idea finally done right?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?