Another holiday shopping season is upon us but that doesn't mean you need to go broke buying the latest iPhone accessories. Not everyone is an audiophile and needs a $200 on a Bluetooth speaker to listen to music while in the shower. Whether you're looking for a way to blast the latest tunes, or listen to podcasts while you cook, there are a lot of decent speakers available for around $100 or less. Here are a few affordable options that will make you the hero of the holidays, and save you some extra money so you can buy something nice for yourself.
Weighing in at 2.3-pounds, the Motion+ is a little hefty to be a portable device but it is a great option for your home or office. It is waterproof (IPX7), making it safe from splashes while in the kitchen or bathroom, and vacation friendly since it can survive an accidental dip in the pool (up to a meter of water for 30 minutes). The Motion+ also boasts an impressive list of features that will make most music lovers happy. It is equipped with 40kHz ultra-high frequency tweeters, twin woofers, a passive radiator, USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm analog audio input. On top of the rubberized shell you'll find all the necessary buttons including the "BassUp" button that promises to "enrich and intensify a song’s low frequencies" by adjusting the bass in real-time.
The Motion+ is designed to sit at a 15° angle to deliver sound up to your ears while filling the room with Hi-Res Audio. Unlike a lot of Bluetooth speakers it is not omnidirectional, meaning you’ll want it pointed directly at you for the best experience, but at least it does not blast sound into your stomach, like a lot of low sitting speakers that sit on your counter or desk. It ships with a built in 6,700 mAh battery for 12 hours of playtime, a USB-C charging cable, an audio cable and it supports Bluetooth 5.0.You can control all the settings, such as treble and EQ, with the Soundcore app available for free on iTunes.
I spent a week with the Motion+ and it is one of the better mid-range Bluetooth speakers I have tested. I wish the controls were a little easier to see and that the power button was in a better location, but those are minor design gripes. You might want to avoid the BassUp button when listening to heavier music like rock or metal, but it is great for hip hop and other bass heavy music. The Motion+ is a great gift idea for under $100.
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If you’re looking for something a bit smaller, the Wonderboom is a compact, waterproof option that packs a lot of sound with a good amount of bass. It is available in six different colors, floats, and comes with an integrated loop so you can attach it to whatever it needs attaching to (your boat or pool float). It has one easy to locate one on top for playing, pausing, and skipping. Other specs include a modest 10 hours of playtime, and a decent wireless range of up to 100 feet. This isn’t the speaker you want for delivering the best quality in your home, but it is one of the better micro Bluetooth speakers for hanging out by the pool or for family lake/beach trips. It is also shock resistant so it can survive accidental falls.
Some budget and portable Bluetooth speakers include the JBL Clip 2 and Creative Muvo Mini. Both speakers are waterproof, and have a decent battery, but they don't deliver the loudest or best sound. They will make fun stocking stuffers for someone looking for something to take to the beach or on vacation. They JBL Clip is small and doesn't weigh a lot, making it easy to pack. It can also easily clip to a bag and it will work as a speakerphone.