Brookstone Big Blue Party Indoor Outdoor Bluetooth Wireless Speaker – The Brookstone Big Blue Party is without a doubt one of the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested, with great soundstage and volume.
Every now and then we get a product on What Mobile that surprises us. That’s what happened in the KEF Gravity One, same story here. The Brookstone Big Blue Party is a worthy contender for best Bluetooth speaker. The company is based in the US, but ships to over 200 countries and territories worldwide, and the company was kind enough to send one over for review.
Brookstone Big Blue Party Indoor Outdoor Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
The first thing you’ll notice when you take it out of the box is how big it actually is. At roughly 16 inches tall and 6 inches wide, it’s the first speaker we’ve reviewed that gives false readings on our scales. The build quality is excellent, with a solid combination of metal and thick plastic. The top part includes a handle for pulling things, but you probably won’t like carrying it around for long periods of time. It’s also fully waterproof, which means it should be fine for a bit of a splash. Connectivity offers plenty of options, including WI-FI, Bluetooth and an Aux-In port for connecting devices via cable. The lack of a charging port to take the phone out of the built-in speaker’s battery might be a letdown for some, though I personally have a power bank to fix that.
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The inclusion of Chromecast really helps set the speaker apart from the competition, and setup is easy thanks to the included manual. Brookstone Big Blue Party uses Google Home and a WI-FI connection to play music on your home network. It’s even possible to set up multiple speakers for a multi-room experience, which is handy if you’re having a party at your house.
The Big Blue Party’s sound quality is incredible, with a smooth response that doesn’t emphasize either side of the spectrum.
The Big Blue Party’s sound quality is incredible, with a smooth response that doesn’t emphasize either side of the spectrum. Thanks to the independent internal design for high, medium and low frequencies, everything is well satisfied. The sound stage is fantastic, and no matter where you place it, it has a 360 degree field that wraps around the room. Another thing to note is the inclusion of full stereo playback, which many Bluetooth speakers do not have.
Using Chromecast Built In; Grouping Speakers With Chromecast Built In; Big Blue Party Software Updates
Brookstone achieved this excellent sound by including a total of six speakers in the Big Blue Party. Four 2.5″ drivers surround the top of the speaker in a 360-degree array, flanked by a 5.5″ subwoofer and larger 7″ x 5″ passive radiators.
It’s a clever setup that both projects sound and goes deep into the low frequencies. During our bass testing, it hit 40Hz quite comfortably before dropping off significantly. We found that when the volume is maxed out, maybe even lower than that, the speakers still put out a decent rumble at 35Hz. This will be a big plus for those who like dance music. As for the maximum volume, this department is not negligible either. With a total power of 72 watts, it should be able to handle average house parties without any problems.
Battery life of 4-6 hours isn’t long, but it’s worth considering the overall size of this thing. We don’t expect a speaker of this size to last this long because more power is needed, so the estimated numbers aren’t too disappointing. The battery alone won’t get you through the night, but the ability to use mains power at least means it’ll last through the party scenes.
W Brookstone Party Indoor Outdoor Portable Subwoofer Bluetooth Speaker (gray)
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Brookstone Big Blue Party Outdoor Wireless Portable Speaker
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The Big Blue Party Speaker itself isn’t exactly blue: it’s available in two colors, including light gray and graphite, which roughly match the colors of Google’s silver and black Pixel phones. The speaker is massive, standing nearly a foot and a half tall, and at 12 pounds, it’s relatively heavy. But in this case, its size and weight betray its quality, as the solid speakers deliver 360-degree sound and have a waterproof housing that’s built to withstand all weather conditions.
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Considering the sound quality and built-in battery, the Big Blue Party Speaker is a good deal even if it only offers Bluetooth connectivity (hence the “blue” in the name, if you haven’t guessed). But that’s not really all the speaker has going for it in terms of connectivity: of course, there’s an auxiliary port for wired connections, but there’s also built-in Wi-Fi, allowing Chromecast devices to be connected for synchronized multi-room audio streaming.
That’s really the killer feature of this product, and it differs from the pure Bluetooth version in that it’s $50 off the regular price, but it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. But the upgrade is worth the money, as this is one of the few devices that currently offers Chromecast built-in, battery power, and weatherproof construction.
If you haven’t used Chromecast yet, you should take another look at the technology. Google’s streaming layer is now available for a bunch of home theater and speaker hardware, as well as Google Home speakers. It works with Android at the system level and even iOS with a range of music and podcast apps. With the Google Home app, you can group together Chromecast-enabled audio devices for multi-room streaming, and in my experience, the performance is pretty solid and consistent.
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For its built-in Wi-Fi and Chromecast connectivity, the Big Blue Party Speaker performed just as well, at least in my experience. It also clearly shows when it’s connected to Wi-Fi with a simple LED on the top of the device, so you can visually check when you’re ready to start streaming.
Setup is easy since it’s a Chromecast device, which means you just plug it in, press the power button (that big circle in the middle of the front of the speaker) and wait for it to turn on. Once fully powered up, all you need to do is open the Google Home app on any iOS or Android device, make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled on that phone or tablet, and it will automatically prompt you for setup.
When you’re ready to stream, prepare to be blown away by the sound quality. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this level of performance, being a bit of an audio snob, with many audio sinks and passive speakers, each individually costing more than the Big Blue. However, the sound is excellent and really fills the room, with excellent high volume capability without any noticeable mixing. sound
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