The Seeker: The Best 2022 Portable Wireless Speakers for Every Budget
October 28, 2022
Now that the thermometer is dropping and we start enjoying quality time spent outdoors, we look at great portable speakers to deliver the soundtrack for your adventures. This month, The Seeker investigates five great options to suit all budgets.
Tribit Stormbox Micro 2
The Best Portable Speaker on a Budget
HK$ 460* | Buy from Fortress
While Tribit may not be as familiar as many on this list, the Chinese audio specialists have quietly gained a solid reputation for delivering excellent-sounding speakers at unbelievable prices. After shaking up the market with the original Stormbox Micro, this updated model keeps everything that made that speaker wonderful. The new model adds increased battery life (12-hours), extended Bluetooth range (18m) and the ability to use the speaker to charge your phone, should you be caught needing juice when away from home.
Like the original, the Stormbox Micro 2's sound quality belies its diminutive form factor. In fact, we are confident this compact contender knocks out more recognisable competition at over double its asking price. Though not the most nuanced performer, the sound is forward, fun and loud! In fact, you can push the speaker all the way to 80% volume before any form of DSP-esque distortions come into play. If you can get over the lack of a famous brand badge and the functional industrial design styling, then the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 is an absolute steal.
Bose Soundlink Flex
The Best Portable Speaker for Travellers
HK$ 1099* | Buy from CityLink
We are big fans of JBL's Flip and Charge speakers series. They offer great sound and comprehensive features, but the aesthetic leans heavily towards an aggressive and rugged appearance that could look out of place on a Four Seasons bedside table. Bose has long been the go-to choice for the discerning traveller, and this long-awaited addition to its portable speaker lineup offers the perfect balance of sound and style. The SoundLink Flex is available in black, white smoke, stone blue, and in a limited-edition carmine red.
While the Soundlink Flex doesn't excel in any one area, the balance of good audio, pleasing design, waterproofing (FYI, it floats!), and solid connectivity make it an all-around winner. A single 60mm transducer speaker, coupled with twin passive bass radiators, offers a detailed presentation seemingly tailored to a more mature audience. Music is delivered with forward vocals that lend themselves well to acoustic genres. Equally, this is a great speaker for podcast junkies, with voices coming through both crisp and clean.
B&O Beosound Explore
The Best Portable Speaker for the Great Outdoors
HK$ 1898* | Buy from Lane Crawford
Bang & Olufsen's A1, now in its second generation, has long been the de-facto portable Bluetooth speaker of choice for those who value design and materials in equal measure as sound quality. As robust as that speaker is, it's prone to dents and dings and wouldn't be our first choice when packing for a long hike. Enter the hard-as-nails Beosound Explore, offering Bang & Olufsen signature sound presentation in a go-anywhere package. The cylindrical design offers incredible inherent strength that can withstand drops, crushes, and shunts with ease.
The Beosound Explore offers a convincing soundstage and open presentation, regardless of positioning, and is equally at home on a marble kitchen counter as it is thrown onto the sand at your next beach picnic. Out of the box, the B&O's bass is a little lacklustre, but this is quickly and easily rectified using the excellent companion app (iOS & Android). Where the speaker shines is its mammoth 27-hour battery life (quoted), which means the party doesn't need to stop until the sun rises.
The Best Portable Speaker to Rock the Party
HK$ 2,999* | Buy from Fortress
If you're looking for a big-sounding portable speaker with subtlety and refinement, skip to the Sonos Move below. If you're looking for wall-shaking bass and beach-filling volumes, then the Sony SRS-XG500 should be high on your shopping list. Sony knows its market well and has pitched this giant speaker towards the party crowd, looking to share their favourite EDM playlist with anyone within earshot. Just be sure not to skip arm day, as this bass beast weighs in at a whopping 5.6kg.
That's not to say the SRS-XG500 isn't without its audio merits, far from it. At normal volumes, the speaker can deliver a layered and agile performance with the most demanding of songs. Once the volume is cranked, the speaker truly shines with other-worldly levels of sub-bass that you feel deep into your core. It's the perfect pool party speaker for lovers of hip-hop, house or rock. It has plenty of extra features, including RGB lighting, a microphone input for impromptu karaoke sessions, and a huge 30-hour battery.
The Best Portable Speaker Indoors and Out
HK$ 3799* | Buy from TC Acoustic
Sonos' first foray into the "portable" market surprised many upon its release. Although technically a portable speaker, we get the impression that most use cases won't see it travelling further than the lounge to the garden and back again. Sonically, the Move fits between the entry-level Sonos One and the brand's flagship audiophile-centric speaker, the Sonos Five. Think of it more as a replacement for the Sonos Three, with a battery, Bluetooth, and low-profile charging cradle thrown in.
The Move retains all Sonos' smart-home and multi-room smarts, even featuring an adaptive version of the brand's TruePlay audio calibration system, which automatically adjusts the EQ based on its environment - indoors or outside. The Move is capable of filling the largest of rooms with immersive audio that, thanks to the onboard active DSP tuning, never gets distorted nor suffers from the muddiness many speakers of this size tend to undergo when driven hard.
*Indicates the current street price and not the MSRP. Always check online for the best deals from a reputable retailer.
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