The first AV device that comes to mind as a summer leisure companion is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker that can be taken outdoors for active leisure activities.
In late July, when I was conducting research for this article, the area I live in was in the middle of summer, and I couldn’t stand the heat when I started the comparison in my yard.
Bluetooth speakers are a gadget that can be played outdoors and around water during the hot summer.
The greatest feature of Bluetooth speakers is that they are portable and can be taken anywhere. As long as you have a smartphone, you can boost the sound and listen to it, making Bluetooth speakers a staple item for summer.
The world’s three leading audio brands dominate the top share of the Bluetooth speaker market. In this article, I dared to explore the differences between the BOSE, JBL, and Sony Bluetooth speakers.
Models I Tested and Their Main Differences
The first thing to keep in mind is the size and market price of Bluetooth speakers. Basically, the larger the size of the speaker that plays music, the better the sound quality, especially in terms of bass reproduction.
The current best-selling speakers are generally the size of a 500ml PET bottle, with a budget in the $100 to $150 range. The standard specs are IP67 waterproof and dustproof for active outdoor use.
The following three models from the three major brands of Bluetooth speakers, Bose, JBL, and Sony, meet these specifications:
It may be wild to treat BOSE, JBL, and Sony products as rivals because of their close price, but they are still similar in terms of specifications.
- BOSE weighs 580g, JBL 550g, and Sony 580g, a difference of only 30g.
- The toughness specifications for dust and water resistance are IP67 for BOSE, IP67 for JBL, and IP67 for Sony, but Sony’s are also corrosion-resistant.
- The BOSE, JBL, and Sony products’ battery life is exactly the same at approximately 12 hours.
- The BOSE and JBL models are waterproof with the charging terminal intact, while the Sony model uses a waterproof cover.
How I Tested
While there are differences in speaker design and proprietary technologies among the products, what is interesting about Bluetooth speakers is the difference in sound quality.
I paired the speakers with an iPhone and compared the same music.
I focused on two popular songs, Jack Harlow’s “First Class” and Fisher’s “Losing It.”
Bass-Oriented BOSE, Crisp JBL, and Balanced Sony
I started with the BOSE SoundLink Flex, a pioneering brand that expanded the Bluetooth speaker market with the SoundLink mini.
The SoundLink Flex Bluetooth Speaker can be placed either horizontally or vertically and features Bose’s unique PositionIQ technology, which automatically corrects the sound balance.
However, it does not seem to be designed to be placed in a vertical position like a bottle.
When I actually listened to the BOSE SoundLink Flex Bluetooth Speaker’s sound, I found that it excels at reproducing a space-filling sound with a rich bass volume, as exemplified by recent Bluetooth products.
In both songs, vocals have natural mid and high-frequency ranges, but the balance of their voices should be more bass-oriented.
The “PositionIQ Technology” correction does not change how the sound is heard, even when the unit moves horizontally or vertically. Still, there does seem to be a momentary lag in operation.
Of the three models tested this time, BOSE was the only one that sounded muddy when music was played in a dripping bucket of water, so it would be best to be careful if the unit is exposed to water at any time.
The JBL FLIP 6 has a cylindrical body suitable for vertical (or horizontal) placement.
JBL is a well-established brand in the audio world, but lately, they have been very successful with their West Coast style, where you can dance to music by the pool.
Functionally, the unit is simple, with nothing special about it other than the ability to chain multiple units together.
In fact, listening to the JBL FLIP6, the sharpness of the dynamic rhythmic ticks, the pleasantness of the beats, and the ample volume of the bass are outstanding.
At the same time, singing voices, both male and female vocals, have a crisp rise.
The sound balance of the Bluetooth speaker is exquisite, with no discomfort in the high frequencies and a clear and dynamic presentation of singing voices and melodies.
It has the power to play as a passive radiator even when wet with water. It is truly a Bluetooth speaker with a high degree of perfection.
Finally, I checked out the Sony SRS-XB33. Although it has a cylindrical body and is basically monaural playback, it is a multifunctional and highly functional model that supports stereo playback when placed horizontally by switching from the application to enjoy high-quality sound both vertically and horizontally and supports the LDAC codec.
Listening to the sound of the Sony SRS-XB33, I found the volume of the bass to be rich and the singing voice to be adequate, somewhere between BOSE and JBL.
Although it is difficult to describe its individuality, the bass is at a level that can be used outdoors, and it has plenty of power.
Interestingly, it can be set to stereo when placed horizontally via an app. The LDAC codec-compatible option for Android phones can also be used for listening to music in a more relaxed setting.
The waterproof specification is a bit problematic since it comes with a rubber cover. Still, the fact that it is corrosion-resistant and can be used in saltwater is a definite advantage.
Incidentally, water tends to accumulate in the passive radiator when immersed in water, so it is recommended to tilt the unit once before listening to music.
As you can see, using the three models revealed surprisingly different qualities.
As we enter the full-fledged leisure season, I hope you will enjoy a fulfilling music life by taking Bluetooth speakers along with you.