If you want to wirelessly beam audio to a speaker system, Bluetooth is an excellent option as it's supported by a wide range of smart phones, tablets and laptops.
Bluetooth speakers often run on batteries too, so they're highly portable, and great for outdoor use. Some even have a speakerphone built-in so you can make calls with them via your phone. We've included our current favourite models in the line up below.
The Sony SRS-BTV25's spherical design may make it look like a prop from a sci-fi B-movie, but it packs a mighty punch for a Bluetooth speaker. Despite the fact its body is made from lightweight plastic, it doesn't actually feel cheap and we're pretty confident it'd survive the odd tumble to the ground. While it's not loud enough to replace the hi-fi in your living room, it's a fine choice for some background music in a more modest room, such as a kitchen or bedroom. At mid-volume levels, it sounds crisp and clear and has enough bass to tickle the low registers when booming out dance tracks.
Bose SoundLink Mini
Many of smaller-sized Bluetooth speakers tend to sound slightly thin and are prone to caving in to distortion at higher volumes, especially when they're trying to handle bass-heavy material. The SoundLink Mini bucks this trend as it really does produce remarkably bigger and fuller sonics for a speaker of its size. It's also got a gorgeous aluminium unibody design and it comes with a handy desktop charging-cradle, even though you can also plug the charge directly into the unit. It lacks a speakerphone function and the price is a little high, but overall it's worth the money.
The Creative D100 Blueooth speaker can run from four AA batteries, so it's truly portable and ideal for those who want a small, lightweight speaker that they can use for outdoor get-togethers. The dual 3-inch drivers that take pride of place on the front have impressive low-end range by the standards of small and cheaper speaker docks. It's got plenty of punch in the mid-range too and highs also sound crisp and clean. It lacks speakerphone functionality though, and doesn't come with a remote control, which is perhaps understandable at this price.
Philips Shoqbox SB7200
Powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery and encased in a tough combination of rubber and hard mesh, the Shoqbox SB7200 from Philips is designed specifically for use outdoors. It'll run for around 8 hours on a single charge, which is pretty impressive. The SB7200 also has a speakerphone function onboard, as well as a smart sensor that lets you control music playback by waving your hand in front of it. We found the latter feature was hit and miss though. The sound quality is good, but not amazing, so this is really best suited to those who value ruggedness over sonic purity.
Jawbone Big Jambox
The Big Jambox is pricey, but it looks the business thanks to the patterned metal mesh that's been used on the chassis. It has a built-in rechargeable battery, so you can use it away from the mains, and the battery lasts for a marathon 15 hours. With plenty of volume on tap, it creates a big din for such a small box. But volume is nothing without quality and thankfully its sonics are quite refined, with decent bass levels and punchy mid and high frequencies. It also has a speakerphone onboard, so you can use it to make and receive calls via paired mobile phones.