Price: $799 to $1616.25
Vince said: If you’re looking for a small yet powerful music system for streaming tunes, look no further than the AxiomAir N3 -- you won’t be disappointed.
The gist: Potent portable goes anywhere you want music.
Al said: Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound 2 is a prime example of a speaker designed to satisfy both lifestyle and audiophile expectations. It’s beautiful-looking, it’s compact enough not to dominate a living space, and it incorporates forward-looking technology that delivers benefits in both ergonomics and sound quality.
The gist: Style meets substance in B&O’s BeoSound 2.
Al said: Bryston’s BryFi BW-1 all-in-one speaker really does approach the sound quality of a system of separates -- except for stereo separation and imaging, I felt there was nothing compromised about its sound.
The gist: All-in-one with real speakers inside.
Rad said: G-Project may have designed the G-Boom to be a modern version of the boom box, but it turned out to be quite good at reproducing classical music -- a pleasant surprise.
The gist: Plays-loud, go-anywhere portable.
Rad said: It does everything it’s engineered to do, it’s beautifully designed and solidly built, and a full charge of its battery will last a long time -- for the length of the party or a whole day at the beach.
The gist: Your play-it-loud outdoor party speaker.
Rad said: The JBL Charge 3 is one of the most capable Bluetooth speakers I’ve heard in terms of its ability to play loud -- what it lacks in finesse, it makes up in volume.
The gist: The waterproof feature only adds to the punchy sound quality.
Rad said: There are lots of small Bluetooth speakers out there, but the JBL Flip 4 is one of the best.
The gist: Expectedly bass-shy but otherwise good to go.
Price: $1000 each
Al said: I enjoyed the RS100s’ muscular bass, and their ability to cast a big aural image with rock and electronic tracks, but was less thrilled with their sound when I streamed more delicate, nuanced acoustic jazz and classical music.
The gist: McIntosh for the masses.
Al said: At $999, the Mu-so Qb isn’t cheap, but its combination of good looks, solid features, and sound and build quality make it a winning all-in-one for someone wanting to fill a small space with big sound.
The gist: It may be small, but all those drivers indicate a real hi-fi component.
Al said: The Festival’s overall sound quality was impressive, characterized by warm mids, detailed highs, and punchy yet controlled bass.
The gist: You'd expect to pay more for a speaker of this quality.
Award: Reviewers' Choice