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    We Sound Off On The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers

    Just always remember to disconnect.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Portable Bluetooth speakers: Second to shelling out $50 for a band T-shirt, they’re the best way to let everyone know what kind of music you like.

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    And whether you’re into that indie (ahem, cheap) vibe or you wanna roll baller, we tested several options for blasting your favorite tunes on any budget. So open your dorm-room window, crank it up, and let’s get crackin’.

    Editor's Note: We're currently updating these picks! Check back soon for more.

    Aomais II Sport

    AOMAIS may not have the name recognition of Harman Kardon, Bose, or Bang & Olufsen, but in the short time they’ve been in the game, they’ve managed to carve out a niche making affordable speakers that sound like their more expensive counterparts. We tested a few AOMAIS speakers and the Sport II was the clear favorite in the $ category.

    Small speakers typically suffer from a tinny sound that completely lacks bass, but the AOMAIS Sport II delivers a relatively rich sound range. It’s not going to rattle the windows, but unlike many others in this range, there was a fullness to the sound that was uncharacteristically deep. While testing, we didn’t just play music — we played everything from podcasts to phone calls, even films. The AOMAIS Sport II punched through the ambient noise and made itself heard, which was no small feat.

    The exterior of the speaker has tough rubberized edges and a metal mesh that covers the two 10-watt speakers. Weighing in just under 1.5 pounds, this thing can easily handle a rough-and-tumble life, bouncing around inside a backpack or balancing on bicycle handlebars. We literally threw it against a wall while it was playing and there was no interruption in the sound. It seems to be a glutton for punishment.

    Speaker fact: One of the key factors that determine how loud a speaker can get is wattage. A lot of times you’ll see this in the product description: “50-watt subwoofer!” This refers to how much power the speaker draws. Basically, the higher that number is, the louder the speaker can get.

    The AOMAIS Sport II packs in two speakers at 10 watts each for a total of 20 watts, a rarity in the $ category. This gives it the power to pump up the volume and still be heard no matter what’s happening around it. The IPX7 rating means that it can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes and suffer no ill effects, as long as you close the charging-port cover.

    The battery charges in a flash, provided you define “a flash” as “about 2.5 hours. That charge lasts up to 12 hours, depending on factors like volume; playing it at full volume drains the battery in about seven hours. It can even be paired with other AOMAIS speakers to create a true “surround” sound.

    Priced at $40, this little thing can’t be beat. It makes a great gift for anyone who wants to bring their music wherever they go. From the beach to the bathroom, the AOMAIS Sport II is an awesome option that sounds like it costs WAY more.

    Get it from Amazon for $33.

    G-Project G-Boom

    There was an argument among testers over this speaker when we decided it was the winner in this price tier. Some said it was “ugly.” We said that didn’t matter, because it sounded good. To settle this tiff, we played each of the speakers in this category, one after the other, and didn’t tell testers which one was which. And what did they pick as the best? The G-Project G-Boom. To be sure, we didn’t claim this portable boombox was pretty, we just think it doesn’t matter — and when you’re packing this much bass, it’s not about looks. It’s about that sweet, sweet sound.

    Just about EVERY reviewer mentions the bass the G-Boom can kick out, and for good reason. Dual bass ports on the back of the unit allow thunderous low notes to emanate from its body. Many of the speakers we tested in the $$ range just didn’t have the physical size to incorporate speakers big enough to generate this kind of volume. And even though it couldn’t beat them, the G-Boom could definitely hold its own against the competitors in the $$$ category, for a fraction of the cost.

    The boxy design is sturdily constructed and includes an integrated carrying handle. At 6.5 pounds, it’s easier to carry than its size suggests, and it even includes ports to clip on a carry strap if you prefer that method. It also includes a USB port so you can charge your phone while you’re out.

    Speaker fact: Wattage isn’t the ONLY consideration for a speaker’s volume, especially when it comes to thumping bass. In order to generate deep, punchy bass notes, a subwoofer needs to push air, which is why you often see subwoofers built into wooden boxes. This space, just like the empty space of a cello or a guitar, gives the sound a depth and richness that isn’t possible otherwise.

    The larger size of the G-Boom allows for exactly this kind of depth. Behind the two main speakers are corresponding bass ports that give it the deep sound for which it has become known. Outdoors, it has the volume to stand out over ambient noise; indoors, it can add unexpected punch to movies, particularly during action-heavy scenes.

    The G-Boom comes with an EQ button that allows you to choose from three presets. This is handy when you want to switch from listening to rap to a podcast, for example, because it allows you to push the sounds you most want to hear to the forefront.

    One of the presets prioritizes the low end, and the other two push the middle and high notes, respectively. While testing it for music, we played live performances, studio cuts, and even fan-made recordings. Most of the time, the midtone-prioritizing EQ setting gave the best results. For podcasts, even the more treble-friendly EQ sounded a little fuzzy since the G-Boom is built to bump bass. It may not be the best option for spoken-word, but hey, that’s not why you would buy this thing anyway.

    However, all that sonic power comes at a price, and not just the $80+ sticker price: The G-Boom’s battery lasts only about six hours. Luckily, it reaches full battery in about 2.5 hours.

    Get it from Amazon for $70.

    Ultimate Ears Megablast

    Dang, you guys. Just dang. This freakin’ thing…we started out NOT wanting to like the Ultimate Ears Megablast because of a bad experience with another UE speaker. One of our testers immediately took it out of the box and dropped it on the floor, hoping it would break and they could write it off. “Bummer,” they would have written in the notes to the team. “It broke. Next!” But it didn’t.

    So we begrudgingly charged it up and downloaded the app onto our phones. To our surprise, we found a much more fully featured speaker than many of the higher-priced models we were testing.

    To begin with, the UE app includes an equalizer. Not just presets (though it has that, too), but a custom setting that allows you to dial in the exact type of sound you like for whatever you’re rockin’. For podcasts, you can lighten up the high notes. For hip-hop, up goes the bass. And for anything else, you can tweak it to your heart’s content.

    It has been said that in the background of the Adventure Time theme song, you can hear someone typing on a keyboard in the background — but using the UE Megablast as a computer speaker was the first time we could actually hear it. Crickets in the background during True Detective (Season 1, duh) sounded like they were somewhere IN the room.

    We’ve experienced latency issues before while using a Bluetooth speaker with a desktop, where the sound was out of sync by up to two seconds (the Amazon Tap is especially bad in this regard), but the UE Megablast had no such issues. It woke up and connected whenever the computer did, and since it comes with Alexa, it replaced the Tap as our testers’ external computer speaker.

    The version of Alexa that currently ships with the UE Megablast is kind of a “lite” version of the smart home assistant. While, for instance, voice control for Spotify and Spotify Connect are available, certain features, such as adding it to a multiroom speaker array, are not (though the company expects to rectify this soon).

    Speaker fact: IP ratings are designed to let you know how protected your speaker is from the elements. IPX ratings usually take only water into account, while IP ratings consider water and dust. The UE Megablast is IP67-rated — that is, it can be fully submerged in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes and is virtually impenetrable to dust. This means you can take it with you anywhere, and the 16-hour battery life means it will perform all day long without dying, even at louder volumes.

    The physical design is sleek, as are most of the options included in the app, and the Megablast fits in quite well among other tech toys. On board, there’s a power switch, Bluetooth button, and the “+” and “-” volume buttons that almost all UE products have.

    The Megablast delivers on all counts, giving you a versatile sound solution that you can take anywhere. At home, the sound will easily fill a room while also providing access to the Internet of Things and even Alexa. No other speaker in the $$$ range can do all that — and this makes the Megablast an easy option for our top pick.

    Get it from Amazon for $125.