The gear • December 2014
Whether you use them in your hotel room or by the pool to listen to your holiday playlist, decent travel speakers are a must for your suitcase. Technology writer Derek Adams picks seven in which it’s worth investing
The aluminium-clad Soundlink Mini (£170) impresses with sonic excellence that far exceeds its 18cm x 6cm dimensions. It produces oodles of bass, silky treble and a pleasant midrange without breaking into a fluster. Its ample soundstage, too, fills a room remarkably well. True, the battery only provides around seven hours play time, but that’s more than enough for most situations. Best on test.
This waterproof speaker ($130) is arguably the most convenient travel speaker of all. It doesn’t just pack a decent tune, it also floats, so you can remain in earshot while splashing about in the pool. The EcoRox reproduces most styles of music extremely well and is the only Bluetooth model here to allow track skipping directly from the unit. Cleverly, it also serves as a hands-free speaker should your strokes be interrupted by a phone call.
Cambridge Audio has been producing quality hi-fi components for more than 45 years. Its latest travel speaker, Go (£120), comprises two sweet-sounding titanium tweeters, a pair of two-inch woofers and a beefy bass radiator that delivers plenty of bottom-end clout. It also comes with a USB port for charging other devices.
A handsome, palm-sized travel speaker ($229) that runs for up to 12 hours on a single charge and produces amazing sound quality. The FoxL is based around a pair of high-quality acoustic ‘twoofers’ capable of reproducing extreme high and low frequencies, so that even complex recordings sound astonishingly tight, defined and extremely easy on the ear.
Shaped like a house brick and covered in a touchy-feely rubberised coating, this affordable speaker (£60) is an ideal companion for budget-conscious travellers who appreciate good sound quality without the palaver of audio cables. Its Bluetooth works seamlessly, the simple controls are a doddle to use and it’ll go on punching out the beat for up to eight hours.
House of Marley may be a relative newcomer to the world of portable audio, but it has already made its mark with a collection of feel-good products made entirely from recycled and reclaimed materials. The rugged Liberate speaker (£120) is a case in point. This triangular slab of sonic splendour is just the ticket for the beach or coffee table.
This chunky Bluetooth system uses a new type of trademarked audio technology called airSOUND that produces room-filling sound from any angle. The Spaced360 (£250) consists of three speaker ports that point in different directions, so everyone in the room shares a slice of the sonic cake. At 22cm across, it’s portable to some degree, but only worth packing for a long trip.