It’s been a packed month at our Bluetooth speakers lab, with 10 new models reviewed. There’s something for everyone, with a wide range of portable and home speakers, and prices ranging from £45 to £349 – plus one new Best Buy.
It’s been a bumpy ride, though, with a whole range of scores and two that narrowly avoid being Don’t Buys. And the results further prove that there’s little correlation between good sound and how much you spend, with one of the more expensive speakers from a big brand getting one of the lowest scores, and a surprise or two at the cheaper end as well.
We’ve reviewed home speakers from top brands including Ikea, JBL and LG, plus portable speakers from Bang & Olufsen and Denon.
One of the headline launches comes from Ikea, which enters the market with two well-priced Bluetooth speakers, both called Eneby, which will look the part in any home.
And the momentum behind smart speakers continues with LG’s WK7 ThinQ, which you can control with your voice using Google Assistant. It enters an increasingly crowded market, with rivals including the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Sonos One and Apple HomePod jostling for space, although it has beaten its arch-rival Samsung to launch. Aiming at the higher end for those looking for quality audio, could the LG WK7 ThinQ smart speaker be the answer to the Apple HomePod for Android phone users? We reveal all through the links below.
Best Buy speakers – skip straight to our top recommendations.
LG WK7 ThinQ Smart Speaker, £199
LG’s new flagship smart speaker uses Google Assistant to allow you to control your music hands-free using only your voice. You can also ask it questions, such as what the weather forecast is, and perform actions such as creating a virtual shopping list. The sound has been tuned by British audio specialist Meridian Audio, a rival of Dolby, and the speaker has Chromecast built in, allowing you to connect it to other Chromecast-enabled speakers for a multiroom setup.
But how does it sound? Our discerning panel of music industry professionals put this speaker through its paces. Many Google Assistant speakers have performed poorly in our tests. Find out whether this is an exception, and if it’s the ideal speaker for Android and iPhone users alike, in our expert LG WK7 ThinQ Smart Speaker review.
IKEA Eneby (large), £80
Ikea has released its first smart speakers by the name of Eneby. The large Ikea Eneby has a 30cm square front, and we’ve also reviewed the small Ikea Eneby, measuring 20cm. They look like the ideal companions to suit your room décor and bring sound to your home, with a minimalist fabric frontage and a simple rotary-dial control. We’ve also reviewed another speaker with a similar design, from Urbanears, further down.
Marley Get Together Mini, £100
Marley is a brand rapidly growing in popularity, and its Get Together Mini certainly stands out from the crowd – not simply for its head-turning looks. This surprisingly compact bench-style Bluetooth speaker is made from bamboo and other materials Marley claims are ‘mindfully sourced’, including fabric woven from recycled materials.
Its 30cm width makes it a more portable package than its larger Get Together brother, and the company pitches it as the ideal pairing for its Marley Stir It Up turntable.
But, most importantly, what’s the sound quality like? With Marley’s high street presence growing, see what our experts thought of this rising player on the speaker scene in our comprehensive Marley Get Together Mini review.
Denon Envaya (DSB250BT), £170
The flagship speaker in Denon’s portable Envaya Bluetooth speaker range, the namesake Envaya has larger drivers and a longer claimed battery life than the Denon Envaya Mini.
Both come with the same highly convenient IP67 rating, which means they’re waterproof and dustproof, and can survive being completely submerged in one metre of water for 30 minutes. So you don’t have to worry if the heavens begin to break – or you drop it in the sink.
But is the sound as strong as the durable deisgn? We put the flagship Denon Envaya to the test in our rigorous Denon Envaya (DSB250BT) review.
JBL Link 300, £250
The Link 300 Bluetooth speaker from popular brand JBL is aimed at those looking to fill bigger spaces with sound than the JBL Link 10 and JBL Link 20 can manage. Sporting a more traditional speaker design with curved edges, the high-powered Link 300 has Google Assistant built in for hands-free voice control, and Chromecast so you can link it with other Chromecast-enabled speakers.
Music, radio and podcasts are all at your command with built-in Spotify support (with a subscription), and many other radio and music services as well.
See whether the sound is as impressive as the features list in our exclusive JBL Link 300 review.
Urbanears Stammen, £219
For those looking for a speaker that fits the décor of the room but is more premium than Ikea’s offering, the Stammen offers a wider range of features to control your sound, plus radio as well, with the ability to save seven of your favourite stations or music playlists for quick access.
In fact, it’s a very similar size to the smaller Ikea Eneby, with a front that’s roughly 20cm square, although it can also be oriented with its shorter 14cm side facing forwards. It has two rotary dials on the top – and, as Urbanears says, there’s no smartphone app ‘twiddling’ in sight. It’s the middle-sized speaker in Urbanears’ range, between the Urbanears Lotsen and the Urbanears Baggen – all can be paired together to spread sound throughout your home.
Find out whether the sound lives up to the promise in our extensive Urbanears Stammen review.
Even more wireless speakers on test
Check out these reviews by following the links, or browse all our wireless speaker reviews.