We have seen it for a while now, how wireless speakers have become the must have accessory for the smartphone/tablet market. And as the the who’s who of technology companies descended on Berlin for IFA 2013, a range of new wireless speaker options were presented to the public for the first time, teasing our curiosity ahead of the most important retail period of the year.
While we are still seeing new Airplay speakers being introduced to the market, it’s a sign of the times that Bluetooth is the hot streaming technology in most portable speakers being introduced to the market these days. Why? Because it’s no longer all about Apple, and unfortunately there is not yet a universally accepted lossless streaming standard in place. Plus, Bluetooth has come a long way, including the more widespread integration of Bluetooth AptX speakers, and especially in the hot portable wireless speaker market, where the difference in experience between AirPlay and Bluetooth is almost indistinguishable these days.
From the likes of Sony, JBL, Philips and more, these are some of the latest wireless speakers announced at IFA 2013.
Harman Kardon Onyx
Towards the higher end of the wireless speaker market, the Onyx comes with a trio of streaming options, including AirPlay, Bluetooth (AptX), and DLNA. This four channel speaker provides up to 60W power output from its dual 7.6cm woofers and 19mm tweeters. It also has a handy stainless steel handle that makes it easy to transport/carry around. You can also throw in NFC connectivity into the mix. Expected out in the coming month or so, the HK Onyx will set you back around £420 / $660.
Some say it looks like a lamp or a shower head, the cone shaped JBL Sparks definitely stands out from the crowd. Designed to be used laying on a surface or hanging from something, it features dual 40mm drivers, power cord (no battery power), and an inline control. Streaming is done using Bluetooth. If you are interested in the Spark, it is expected out during this month at £109 / $129.
Read more! JBL Spark launched
A portable sound system that comes with a subwoofer docking system, turning it into a 2.1 desktop system. When out it will retail around £229 / $330.
Philips Fidelio SoundTowers
IFA would not be complete without a few new audio products from Philips as well. Amongst this years head-turners is the Fidelio SoundTowers, a two-way floor standing solution that packs 2x80W of power and a wide range of connection options, including dual dock (both Lightning and 30-pin), Bluetooth AptX, FM tuner, CD playback, and USB 2.0. The Fidelio SoundTowers will set you back around €800 when available.
Read more! Philips Fidelio SoundTowers
Philips Fidelio SoundSphere DS9830W and DS9860W
Philips also announced a couple of new models of their SoundSphere AirPlay speakers, with the inclusions of the recently announced Spotify Connect streaming option as well. The DS9830W is the white model with a recommended retail price at €799 when out in November, whilst the DS9860W comes with a Malaysian oak wood finish, setting you back €999. They also announced that the Fidelio Primo DS9100W will get Spotify Connect.
Philips S5X and S3X Wireless Studio Speaker
The two new speakers in this studio range from Philips both include Bluetooth AptX streaming, digital (coaxial and optical) inputs, and stereo aux-in connection, making them very versatile home audio systems. The top model S5X comes with 100W RMS power output and a 5.25-inch woofer, available in either all black or white with a black finish from October retailing at around €249. The S3X offers 30W RMS power output and a 4-inch woofer, available in October with a charcoal grey design with yellow accent grills, retailing at around €199.
A small portable and wireless speaker from Philips offering up dual 1-inch drivers and a unique indoor / outdoor mode that sets the audio settings based on your location. You can also daisy chain several of the BR-1X speakers together for a more immersive audio experience. Set to be available this month at €99.
Philips SHOQBOX XL
Another portable wireless speaker from Philips, the SHOQBOX XL offers up dual 3-inch full range woofers and NFC Bluetooth pairing. Comes with a convenient carry strap as well, this one is surely set to compete with the Jambox’es of this world. Available in November retailing at around €199.
A tiny speaker that will fit in your hand and with a splash proof finish. Available this September from around €79.
Philips M1X-DJ system
Having teamed up with Armin van Buuren, Philips have launched the compact system for DJ’s that combines a DJ controller with a portable sound system. It comes integrated with a Lightning connector, you can stream using Bluetooth, and it works seamlessly with the djay 2 app from Algoriddim. The output power of the speaker is 80W. Available this November from around €400.
Scandyna SmallPod Air
This unique looking speaker has now been upgraded to Apple AirPlay streaming, surely to have turned a few heads in Berlin the last week. You can read more about the Scandyna SmallPod Air here.
What is it with Danish audio manufacturer and creating some great looking speakers? The latest to join the wireless speaker market is Tangent with their fittingly nameed Tangent Classic speaker. This striking walnut wood finished oval speaker comes packed with Bluetooth AptX streaming, USB port, and an audio set up that includes dual 1-inch tweeters and 5-inch woofers, producing 2x50W RMS power output. When released it will set you back around €600.
The smallest of speakers I have seen so far from Klipsch, the Gig comes with Bluetooth AptX streaming and NFC connectivity, 12-hour battery life, dual tweeters and woofers, and a replaceable strap that also works as a stand. The Klipsch Gig is expected out this October at $200.
Sony has also made an addition to their portable wireless speaker range with the SRS-BTS50, a splash proof speaker made for the outdoors with Bluetooth and NFC connection. The built in battery is said to provide up to 10-hours play time, and output power is 5W. Available in Europe this October retailing at £129.
read more! Sony SRS-BTS50 first impression
The iconic French speaker manufacturer Elipson have teamed up with Habitat to create a new range of wireless speakers that have a distinct design element to them. Amongst the outcome of that collaboration you will find the Elipson Timber, a beautiful portable bluetooth speaker with an elegant design. The hexagon shape with wooden ends/casing, clad in a white dress fabric. If you love Habitat furniture, then you are likely to love the Elipson Timber when it becomes available at around €300.
Jawbone Mini Jambox
It wasn’t exactly announced at IFA 2013, but still worth adding to the list of new speaker options. Since the original Jambox was launched, they have gone bigger, before now going smaller and even more portable. With the Mini Jambox they have been able to trim off about half the thickness, while maintaining that great style. Ultra lightweight at only nine ounces, the body is made of unibody aluminum, with the speaker holes machined into the front of the speaker in very nice patterns. Available in a range of colors it will still set you back about the same as the original at £115 (estimated) / $180.
We might have missed out a few in the process, but if they worth mentioning we will be back with information on them.