Death to the dock! Bluetooth speaker selection grows and sales show no signs of slowing down

consumer momentum on adoption of bluetooth speakers remains rapid

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The portable Bluetooth market is growing rapidly, and we’re beginning to see several new companies throw their hats in the ring to see if they can successfully tap into the market. According to Twice.com‘s recent article on the explosive growth within the speaker market, we have seen this segment grow in 2012 496% with sales of over 2.2 million Bluetooth speakers. A lot of this growth is attributed to the widespread adoption of the smartphone and more specifically, Android devices. The size of the Bluetooth speaker market is reported to be $264 million in 2012 according to NBD research. With this type of growth in 2013, this gadget could be a billion dollar market just in the US.

Boombotix CEO, Lief Storer commented, “we see a lot of viability in the Bluetooth speaker segment, but with so many players in the space, brands that can innovate with design and standout feature sets will be the only winners. We also expect to see the market become segmented  almost like what you see with bikes. You don’t just get a bike anymore. You get a road bike, a mountain bike, and possibly a commuter.”

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Best Wireless Portable Speakers Faceoff – JBL Charge vs. Boombot REX

Portable Speaker Review- JBL Charge v Boombot REX

great sound comes in small and smaller packages

By the time we had pulled out the JBL Charge from the box, we’d already gone through handfulls of speakers.  We were expecting to hear something a lot like the Philips ShoqBox, but there might just be a little bit more to this Tall Boy sized guy.  Most of the products around this size got man-handled by the output of the little Boombot REX.  Finally, something stood its ground and provided a worthy opponent. JBL is certainly no stranger to making thumping sound systems, but this would really be the test on whether their brand could take their line into the world of portable speakers.  These are some of the loudest portable speakers in the game and we hope this article helps pick which is right for you.

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 Price

The JBL Charge goes for the Amazon street price of $149.99 while the Boombot REX tips the scale at $119.99.

features + DESIGN

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It was actually pretty interesting stacking these two competitors next to each other.  The JBL Charge seemed to be missing a lot of rudimentary features that would be expected from a speaker at that price point.  However, it has an internal 6000mAh battery that provides enough juice for a robust amp AND the USB out.  If you’ve ever uses a Mophie Juice Pack, you’ll love that you can get several charges on your smartphone from the speaker itself.  Pretty clutch feature.

The form factor of the JBL charge isn’t particularly amusing.  The plastic seems strong and the overall build quality is sturdy.  It has this design that seems to transgress between being a rugged outdoor product and a traditional gadget.  Seems to be a slight ID crisis, but there is nothing that’s standout ugly.  As mentioned, the JBL Charge is about the same size as a PBR 32oz Tall Boy so it’s easy enough to lug around, although I would hesitate on a longer hike as this has a pretty substantial weight.

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The Boombot REX maintains a much lighter frame while still having clean, sharp, bold lines.  At about one-third of the spacial volume of the JBL charge, the Boombot REX is a better alternative for those looking to travel greater distances with their speaker.  The Boombot REX includes several bells and whistles not found on the JBL charge including a track control interface and Siri/Voice-Control integration.  Boombot REX also incorporates daisy-chain capability.  If it can’t outdo the Charge with one, it sure as hell can with two!

SOUND

No joke, the JBL Charge was one of the most impressive sounding speakers we had tested.  The amount of bass generated from this thing is truly remarkable.  The Boombot REX actually had very similar mid range and high range to the JBL Charge, but the low end bass was certainly dominated by the JBL Charge.

the verdict

If you are more of a backyard horse shoe throwing candidate that doesn’t need a lot of versatility, OR  you just don’t mind size/weight, the JBL Charge is the ticket.  If you are a little more on the adventurous side and want a speaker that won’t slow you down, the Boombot REX is a standout player on that category.  Overall, the handsfree and microphone capabilities of the Boombot REX make it a more versatile product, but the JBL Charge certainly has its’ place in the world of top portable speakers.  Thanks for checking out our portable speaker reviews.  Let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to test.