3 wireless speakers for your summer-fun soundtrack

Consumer Reports

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If you're planning a picnic or hitting the beach, or just lounging in the back yard, isn't it more fun with a soundtrack you can share? Portable wireless speakers let you amplify the digital music stored on your smart phone, tablet, laptop, or MP3 player via Bluetooth, so there's no trail of wires to trip over.

Here are several of the best models we've recently tested:

TDK Life On Record Wireless Weatherproof Speaker, $150: This Bluetooth speaker is tops in our Ratings, and it's also a CR Best Buy. In addition to its claimed ruggedness—TDK says it's dust- and water-resistant—it was one of the best-sounding portable models we tested. This speaker was also very easy to use, and its audio input lets you user non-Bluetooth devices, too. Plus you can charge an iPod or iPhone, or any smart phone, via its USB port. [edited]

Edifier iF335BT Bric Bluetooth Connect, $100: If you'd like to spend a little less, this speaker also is a fine choice. It's among the better-sounding portable models we tested, and Bluetooth pairing was very easy to accomplish. And its remote control makes for easy beach-chair operation.

Sony SRS-BTX500, $290: This Bluetooth model is pricier than the other two, but it has a sleek black-and-silver design and packs in NFC (near-field communication) technology, which lets you pair a compatible smart phone or tablet simply by tapping it to the speaker. It was among the better-sounding portable speakers in our tests when Sony's Mega Bass bass-boost feature was activated. And NFC made the Bluetooth pairing a breeze—even when there wasn't one.

For more advice and reviews, see our Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker systems buying guide and Ratings.

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