When I first started researching Bluetooth speakers I wasn’t expecting a lot of variety – essentially I thought they were all pretty much the same except that some were a little louder than others. As it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. Bluetooth speakers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and they include many different features, which makes it even more important to do a little soul-searching before you buy one so that you know what you’re looking for. If you do more texting than talking for example, you may have no real need for a built-in speakerphone function. This may be a great feature – it’s just not for you.
Some of the best features included in Bluetooth speakers are things like FM tuners, speakerphones, and even USB charging. You may not need all of these features, but others may be quite interesting to you. It’s nice to have choice, but be prepared to pay a little extra for a speaker that includes all of these different features – although there are some great ones at a reasonable price.
If you’re a little old-school like me you probably still like to listen to the radio and not just in your car. Unfortunately, these days there aren’t all that many Bluetooth speakers that actually include an FM tuner, as the younger generation tends to prefer streaming music from services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and other similar services. If you do a little shopping, though, you can find Bluetooth speakers with a built in FM tuner – I actually own one myself. The great thing about an FM tuner is that the radio station creates the playlist for you and entertains you – there is no need to worry about which playlist you want to hear. There’s also something to be said for the personalities on radio that give it that human touch – call me old-fashioned, but I still find this a great form of entertainment.
When you’re having a party in our modern society a Bluetooth speaker is quite often the central focus of your musical entertainment, but many of them also double as great speakerphones. There are a few good reasons for considering a speaker that includes this option, including the ability to talk hands-free, offering your guests a group conversation, and actually improving the quality of your call in some cases. Whatever your reason for looking for a Bluetooth speaker with a built-in mike that lets it double as a speakerphone, you should carefully read reviews to determine how easy the feature is to use on speakers that include them. You should be looking for a speaker that has a simple phone connection/disconnection button, and you want one with crystal-clear sound. We’ve reviewed a lot of speakers on this site and some of them have this feature built-in, so you may want to check these out as a good place to start.
Charge While You Listen to Music
A feature that’s included on some Bluetooth speakers is the ability to connect your smart phone or tablet via a USB port on the speaker in order to charge your device. This is especially useful if you’re a long way from home and your phone’s battery is blinking red. This normally works for both Android and Apple devices, as they both include cords that plug into USB devices. If this is an important option you’re looking for, you will still have to be careful when choosing a Bluetooth speaker, though, as quite a few of them do not include this option.
Having Choice is a Good Thing
The features that we’ve talked about above are not the only features that Bluetooth speakers include, but they are probably the most useful. We all have our own particular tastes and, while you may not be interested in all of these features we’ve mentioned, I strongly believe that having a choice is a good thing. The great thing is that you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to find these features we’ve discussed, as many reasonably-priced Bluetooth speakers include them now.
Control from a Distance
Including a remote control may seem like an obvious decision, but not all Bluetooth speakers have them. If this is something you’re definitely looking for you may have to shop around a bit. In general, Bluetooth speakers that do include remote controls provide you with a wide range of options for controlling your device. The remote control I have with my Bluetooth speaker has more than 10 different buttons on it. You can use it to control the volume, you can use it to change the source of your Bluetooth connection, you can change the channel if it’s set on the FM tuner channel, and you can adjust tracks as well. These are common features, but each remote control may be a little bit different. They may not be a necessary item, but they are a convenience that’s nice to have included.
Some more advanced Bluetooth speakers no longer include actual physical remotes, but instead have replaced them with an app available through the Apple App Store, or the Google Play Store on Android devices. These types of apps offer the same type of features you get on a physical remote, but the big advantage of these is that you can use your smart phone to do everything. If apps are your thing you may prefer this to a physical remote – again not all speakers include this option so you’ll have to shop around.
The Ability to Upgrade
Some of the better Bluetooth speakers on the market also include a USB port which you can use to connect to your computer in order to upgrade the device’s firmware. This may allow you to add options to your speaker as they become available, such as giving you the ability to pair more than one speaker at a time to your smart phone or tablet, or it may just include software updates that improve the quality of sound the speaker produces. Whatever the reason for the upgrade, it’s a great feature to include and definitely one to look out for.
One feature that I found in a limited number of devices is the ability to push a button that can actually enhance the clarity of the sound that your speaker produces. You might think of it as a booster shot for the speaker. It’s not a common feature in most Bluetooth speakers, but there are a few that include this function; it can mean the difference between adequate sound and fantastic sound.
There’s Probably More to Come
It’s quite possible that there are other cool features included in some Bluetooth speakers that I simply haven’t mentioned in these articles. Essentially, they’re only really limited by the imagination of the manufacture and some of them can get quite creative. That’s why the software update feature we mentioned above may be one of the best features to look for in a Bluetooth speaker. Speakers that have this option have the potential to be upgraded going forward and can easily save you money by avoiding the need to buy the next big thing every year.