Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Reviews – The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker sets the benchmark for Bluetooth speakers in the price range. It exceeds the sound quality offered by competing products and offers valuable features such as stereo coupling and waterproofing. It’s easily one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers out there for the price.
Xiaomi consistently hits the ball out of the park with its audio products. From the democratizing Redmi Buds S to the Google Assistant-enabled Mi Smart speaker, the quality doesn’t match the price. But what about the humble Bluetooth speaker? By the time it’s all connected, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker sounds like a pretty boring edition of the brand.
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The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker is designed for the popular UE Boom and similar rugged and waterproof speakers. Within
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About this Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review: I wrote this Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker review after spending a few days with it as my primary source for listening to music. Xiaomi India supplied the device.
The Mi Portable Bluetooth speaker maintains a basic design and resembles the popular Logitech Ultimate Ears brand Bluetooth speaker. The speaker is surrounded by a woven mesh, which is not very high quality. You can tell the speaker is expensively built, but the plastic-coated material should be easy enough to clean if you drop a drink on it. The speaker has an IPX7 rating, so it can work by the pool.
The strap loop on the side is a nice addition that adds functionality to this budget speaker. Xiaomi has a fabric hand loop pre-installed, but there is enough clearance at the attachment point to attach a carabiner if desired.
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The control panel has a rubber strap. I’m not a big fan of rubber panels as they tend to attract dust and dirt over time. They make waterproofing easier though, and I can see the arguments here. All six buttons provide reasonably good tactile feedback and are easy to click. Speaker cutouts are all well and good, but the black-on-black labeling can make it hard to tell which button does what in low light.
I think Xiaomi could have replaced the stereo pairing button and used an equalizer. In this situation, a long press of the volume plus and play buttons switches the equalizer setting. At the bottom of the speaker is an auxiliary input and a USB-C charging port.
The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker supports Bluetooth 5.0 and I had no issues with connection stability. I was comfortable walking around my apartment with the phone connected to speaker. All I had to do to pair the speaker with a Bluetooth device was press the dedicated pairing button. After the initial pairing setup, the speaker automatically connects to the last paired speaker. Meanwhile, a long press on the pairing button will clear the list of paired devices.
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Xiaomi has not announced the list of supported codecs, but the speaker has introduced SBC on all devices. I liked the AAC support, but SBC is usually the default on most affordable speakers, and it’s not a big concern on cheap Bluetooth speakers.
A great party trick is the ability to connect two speakers in a stereo configuration. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a second speaker on hand to test this feature. The speaker has a direct access button to pair it with a second device.
The Xiaomi Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker offers surprisingly pleasant sound quality considering its affordable price. The speaker has two 16W drivers placed in the front.
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While some alternatives have used 360-degree audio outputs, Xiaomi keeps it simple here. There is a noticeable decrease in sound quality when the speaker is turned to the side. However, the speaker can be placed either horizontally or vertically, allowing for some flexibility.
I didn’t expect a bass monster, but combined with Xiaomi’s bass booster equalizer, the speaker is perfect for hip-hop and R&B tracks. Listening to Travis Scott was a pleasant experience, although the bass crackled a bit at the highest volume levels.
And the tuning sounds predictably nice, emphasizing the bass and treble sections to make the music sound more alive. Despite the bass and treble emphasis, the vocals are not drowned out and the speaker should be a fun addition to any party.
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In terms of volume levels, the speaker is surprisingly loud and came in handy for listening to podcasts and audiobooks in my apartment.
The Xiaomi speaker has a microphone suitable for using the voice assistant and making calls. I found the experience useful, but nothing to write home about.
Pressing the power button twice activates the voice assistant on the phone, and you can use the speaker to perform any and all functions. I found myself reaching for my phone because the call from the assistant interrupted the audio, but the feature is there if you want it.
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Calls sounded acceptable as long as I sat close to the speaker. The speaker really couldn’t pick up my voice from far away, and I wouldn’t recommend putting the speaker on if hands-free is a priority.
The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker has a 2,600 mAh battery and is rated for 13 hours of playback, although this number will vary depending on the playback volume. During the time I’ve used the speaker, I’ve never drained the battery despite long periods of use at 50% volume. After listening to music for almost seven hours, the speaker still reported 60% charge, and Xiaomi’s claims need to be confirmed.
Xiaomi doesn’t come with a charger in the box, but I charged the speaker from 50% to full in less than an hour, and a full charge should take about two hours.
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The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker sets the benchmark for Bluetooth speakers in the price range. The Xiaomi speaker matches and surpasses the competition in terms of sound quality and features.
In India, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker has almost no competition at an affordable Rs. 2,499 (~$35) price. In addition to sound quality, the speaker also supports features such as IP rating, long battery life and stereo pairing. In Europe and the UK, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker costs €39 and ~£35 respectively.
The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker gets a strong recommendation, especially if your budget doesn’t stretch to more expensive options. Unless you have very specific needs, like the ability to insert a microSD card — a niche feature offered by some no-name alternatives — you shouldn’t even look for other options. This one is a winner. Out of all the Bluetooth speakers out there, this one is the real deal. It’s small enough to stay portable, but big enough to sound great. Read the full review…
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If you’re looking for a smart speaker that can be used both at home and by the pool, Sonos Move is for you. Read the full review…
While there are better waterproof speakers you can buy for the money, the UE Hyperboom is the best choice for those looking to host a backyard or beach party. Read the full review…
Although expensive, this Bose speaker is a great Bluetooth option for accessing your phone’s smart assistant. Read the full review…
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It’s hard to find an audiophile who doesn’t love Bluetooth headphones, just ask our own Chris Thomas, but Bluetooth speakers are great: they let you take the party anywhere, and any of the best Bluetooth speakers can backyard grilling in an absolute blast Whether you’re looking for something durable or something that just sounds great, you can’t go wrong with anything on this list.
Editor’s Note: This list of the best Bluetooth speakers has been updated for 2022. on April 7, featuring the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II and a live FAQ. We also added JBL Clip 4 and Sonos Roam as Highlight products.
Whether you’re hosting a pool party or going camping, the best all-around Bluetooth speaker you’ll want around is the JBL Charge 5. It’s a big Bluetooth speaker, but it’s still portable, so you can take it to a friend’s house or out and about. on next weekend’s trip.
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Some of the Charge 5’s best features can be found in other JBL products like the JBL Xtreme 2 and JBL Flip 5, but the Charge 5 sits nicely between the two devices. You get some of that big sound that the Xtreme 2 offers, with portability similar to the Flip 5. The Charge 5 makes all the necessary compromises, including battery life. Thanks to the USB-A output (hence the name), you will get around 20 hours and can even charge some of your other devices. In terms of sound quality, the only area that isn’t great is the mids, which tend to roll toward the bass in small to medium-sized rooms.
The JBL Charge 4 has an IPX7 water resistance rating, and unfortunately it lacks the dust resistance of the newer model.
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