Today I’m going all techy on you and talking about portable speakers. Gone are the days when you might buy a hefty, ugly sound system that would take up a corner of the living room and never move. Today, consumers want to be able to play music that seamlessly moves from room to room and doesn’t take up a whole lot of space. And for most of us, ideally without splurging out on a high-tech surround sound system and breaking the bank. That’s where portable speakers come in: they’re neat, compact and stylish, without compromising on style or sound.
In our house, I listen to a lot of Classic FM (yep, I’m 28, no sniggers please) as I work in the spare room or go about my morning routine, while my boyfriend Olivier might want to play something on Spotify in the kitchen or living room. We have a UE Boom bluetooth speaker, which is so light and easy to carry around up and down the stairs, and produces sound at the click of a button. We’ve taken it away with us or brought it to friends houses for drinks and parties.
But there’s lots of other elegant, understated speakers that are designed as much for their form as their function too. Simple and contemporary in style, they’re for those who appreciate good design as much as great sound.
Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A2 is one example. Looking a little like an old transistor radio in form, the slim Beoplay A2 comes in five colours, including grey and leafy green, with a beautiful leather strap for portability. It weighs in at 1.1kg and has up to 24 hours of battery life, which is really good compared to the 8 or 10 hours of some speakers. I won’t get too techy, but it has what Bang & Olufsen call a ‘True360 sound solution’ which basically means that sound emits from every side of the speaker to completely fill a room. Music can be streamed via Bluetooth using B&O Play’s app that allows you to personalise the way you want to hear your music.
I also like Vifa, a Danish brand that names its speakers after Scandinavian cities. They’ve collaborated with Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat to create a special woven textile cover that gives the speakers a warm look and feel. They say of their products: ‘Authentic sound, premium materials and technology all brought to its fullest expression by a simple yet sophisticated Nordic design, translated in to versatile high-end products.’
One of my favourites is the Oslo, in the graphic above. Coming in five different colours, from pebble grey to a bright blue, it weighs a little more at 2.4kg and also uses Bluetooth. An unfussy, minimal design, it has clean lines and discreet embroidered volume buttons on the front. It looks sturdy and classic without over dominating a room. They say: ‘It’s Nordic aesthetics at its finest: non-intrusive and discreet, yet remarkably confident about the statement it makes in any interior.’
What do you think? Have you invested in a portable speaker?