Whether it's backyard BBQs or backwoods camping, these bluetooth sound options mean you'll never lack for tunes.
House of Marley
Bag of Riddim
A sound replacement for the tried-and-true beach bag, this audio system is a portable powerhouse, connecting to phones and music players via Bluetooth. Made of organic cotton, hemp, and recycled plastics, the bag itself is environmentally friendly, while the speaker top is crafted from sustainably harvested birch wood. That last detail is also good for your music, as it produces a warm sound from the 4.5-inch woofers. Rechargeable lithium-ion battery available.
With high-end refinements like piano-gloss finish, a leather-cushioned headband, and soft ear cups, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones are smooth -- both to the touch and the eye. But the experience you get through the ears matters most here, and like a pair of silky pillows pumping songs directly into your brain, Beats Wireless kicks out rich audio whether tethered to a cord or through a Bluetooth connection. The headset’s 30-foot range and 10-hour battery life allow listeners to remain unplugged and free of pesky tangles.
Portable speakers are only as great as the places you can take them, which makes this rugged speaker an epic sidekick. Pouring out great volume, the brick-sized, watertight box has tinny, transistor-radio audio quality, but that’s a minor complaint considering it connects via Bluetooth, sports more than 10 hours of battery life, and can float downriver while attached to your kayak. One drawback: With just volume, power, and speakerphone buttons, it lacks the ability to skip or rewind tracks.
Many headphones brag about producing skull-pulsing beats, but few actually use your bones to conduct the sound. These open-ear headphones use military special-ops technology to transmit audio through the cheek bone to the inner ear, leaving the ear canal open to also detect surrounding noise.
TDK Wireless Boombox
Like the ’80s ad where the speakers blow the lounging guy away, this retro boombox will knock you back a step. Pair it with a mobile device via Bluetooth, and the boombox’s 2-inch drivers, 5.25-inch passive radiators, and 5.25-inch subwoofer come alive. With knob-adjustable treble and bass settings, the sound tweaks easily enough. The system’s design looks as good on a shelf as it does on the go, and with a 6-hour rechargeable battery, there’s enough juice to bang out a few playlists.
These gunmetal, over-ear cans are billed as virtually indestructible, not that we would dare mess up anything that sounds this good. Immersive, balanced, and fully ranged, they pump out nuanced audio, from high-pinned scratching on guitar strings to deep, echoed drubbing of drums. If black isn’t your color of choice, don’t fret: Sol Republic also sells a variety of colored cables and speakers to customize your own set.
Galaxy Note II
A full-fledged media mogul in the palm of your hands, this high-powered Android handset comes with up to 64 gigabytes of storage (and you can add 64 more through the microSD slot) -- plenty of space to stockpile albums and apps. Or, save space and stream from the cloud with the smartphone’s 4G mobile broadband, which can connect to everything from Spotify to Rdio.
$369 on T-Mobile; www.samsung.com
Check out the May 2013 issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands April 16) for more articles. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app. Follow Red Bulletin on Twitter for more.