With more time spent at home, you might have found a gap for some new audio products to keep you entertained. John Lewis, which offers a two-year warranty on electricals, has a selection of discounted audio gadgets at the moment for you to consider.
If it’s a voice-activated smart speaker you’re after, you can take advantage of a deal on the Google Home Max, which takes a tidy £50 off the original price.
But if you fancy blocking the outside world, headphones are the way to go, and John Lewis has a saving on the B&W pi3 headphones.
Read on to find out whether its deals are ones to consider or ones to avoid.
Worth considering? The audio products on offer
Google Home Max – was £299, now £249
This chunky, minimal-looking speaker can be controlled using its touch-sensitive control bar or through voice commands. As it’s powered by Google Assistant, the Home Max can run web searches, schedule appointments and communicate with your other smart products.
You can make phone calls through this wireless speaker without having to reach for your smartphone. The Google Home Max can contact most UK numbers.
Part of the setup process for the Home Max will see the speaker learn about the room it’s sat in. Google’s Smart Sound feature analyses your home to optimise the audio experience for acoustics, and we put this to the test in our lab.
To see what else Google’s voice-activated helper is capable of, see our guide on how to make the most of Google Assistant during the lockdown.
Price at other retailers:
- Currys PC World – £249
- Google – £249
Is this one of the best Google Assistant speakers money can buy? See our expert verdict with our full Google Home Max review.
John Lewis On-the-go Szpeaker (large) – was £50, now £35
This wireless speaker is exclusive to John Lewis and has been reduced to clear, so you’ll have to act fast if you want to take advantage of the deal.
As the name implies, the On-the-go speaker has been designed to survive outdoor trips. John Lewis is convinced the speaker can ‘withstand the elements’, although it has no formal IP rating. In other words, the brand isn’t making any promises on how waterproof or dustproof it really is.
Running out of charge while you’re away from a power supply can be a nightmare, but the On-the-go has a trick up its sleeve. With its built-in rechargeable battery, you can charge your smartphone or tablet using this speaker’s USB port.
Jabra Elite 85h – was £280, now £199
The over-ear Elite 85h headphones use Jabra’s Hear Through ambient sound technology. This allows background noise to seep in when necessary so you can hear announcements on a train platform or cross the road safely.
These headphones have a foldable design that means you can easily chuck them into a bag before you make your way from A to B. A detachable 3.5mm cable comes in the box, so you can use them over a wired connection if the battery runs out.
Built-in controls on the ear cup will let you skip songs or adjust the volume without having to pull your smartphone out from your pocket. The Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa voice assistants are all supported.
Price at other retailers:
- Argos – £219.99
- Currys PC World – £183 (in gold only)
Do these noise-cancelling headphones pair comfort with supreme sound quality? Check our verdict with our full Jabra Elite 85h review.
B&W pi3 headphones – was £169, now £119
An around-the-neck design on these in-ear headphones makes them ideal if you want some music to accompany you on your morning jog. They’re particularly light and come with a handy travel bag.
While you’re on your run, you can use the built-in controls to play/pause music, skip a song and adjust the volume. There’s also support for taking hands-free calls at the press of a button.
According to Bowers & Wilkins, you’ll get around eight hours of use from these headphones on a single charge. A 15-minute charge is meant to provide you with two hours of juice. We put those claims to the test in the Which? lab.
Price at other retailers:
- Richer Sounds – £119
What did our expert listening panel make of these headphones? Find out with our full B&W pi3 headphones review.
How we test audio products
To see which speakers are worthy of a Which? Best Buy title, we test the latest releases from big-name brands in our lab.
We pay attention to the features that matter the most – sound quality, ease of use and battery life. And when it comes to smart speakers, we try them out for the things that we know you commonly use them for.
While our highest-scoring speakers provide just the right amount of bass, our dreaded list of Don’t Buys will ruin your favourite songs with dull, muffled audio.
For more details, explore our guide on how we test wireless and Bluetooth speakers.
When it comes to testing headphones, we make sure you’re getting good value for money. That means listening out for stellar sound quality, limited sound leakage and finding those with a comfortable design.
We use an expert listening panel to assess headphones using seven set pieces of music. These cover a mixture of genres, from pop and spoken word to jazz.
For more details, explore our guide on how we test headphones.