What Exactly Is A Car Without Having A Good Car Stereo System

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David Carnoy/CNET



Dec 2020

Anker's Soundcore Motion Plus came out in 2019 and managed to slip beneath my radar, which is a shame because it's arguably one of the best-sounding speakers around $100, if not the best Bluetooth speaker for this price range. It's a larger speaker than many mini Bluetooth speakers, but it's still compact. It manages to sound quite a bit fuller than much of the competition under $100, with bigger bass, more volume and better clarity. It's also fully waterproof (IPX7-rated) and has support for the aptX streaming codec for devices like Samsung's Galaxy phones that support it.

There are so many reasons to get a Bluetooth speaker. Maybe you need an outdoor speaker for gatherings, are building surround sound with multiple speakers in your home theater or perhaps you're just looking for great sound that can be moved on a whim. Regardless of the reason, there's almost certainly a portable speaker with powerful sound that'll work for you.

Music library size

75 million

Over 75 million

70 million

Over 70 million

Over 80 million

Over 60 million

French stalwart Deezer has been operating in the States since 2016, and it has a lot to offer, including a free tier (mobile only) and 56 million tracks. It has more subscribers than some others on this list thanks, in part, to its previous affiliation with Cricket Wireless. The main Premium plan is $10 a month but users are also able to upgrade to a lossless version (CD quality) for $15 a month. While it reportedly boasts more users than Tidal, the service doesn't offer enough to differentiate it from its similarly priced competitors.

Do I need spatial or Atmos audio? The short answer is "No" and the long answer is "Not in the slightest". Stereo music has been around since the 50s and it makes the handful of Atmos audio tracks available seem insignificant in comparison. Apple may rave about how "magical" spatial music is, but unless you have a pair of compatible AirPods or an expensive Atmos system you won't be able to hear it properly anyway. In our own listening tests we've found that the catalog is indeed pretty limited and the quality of the mixes varies wildly. The music industry tries to push surround music every twenty years or so -- beginning with Quadraphonic in the 70s, and continuing with DVD-Audio in the 2000s -- but we think it will continue to remain niche.  

Above, 'General Robert Ogden Tyler, standing second right, and the staff of the Artillery Reserve, photographed in Culpeper, Virginia, August-November 1863 by Timothy O'Sullivan,' according to Lost Civil War. 'Tyler's artillery batteries were active for the Army of the Potomac during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. General Tyler was severely wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864, injuries from which he never fully recovered. He died in 1872 at the age of 42.' DeMarco said this O'Sullivan image 'captured the humanity of their faces'

In the early days, the engineers were more focused on crafting a piece with great sound than being concerned about the appearance of the product. Today, most developers are only marginally concerned about sound quality, but interested in the design. Consequently, they are still using much of the technology from a decade ago so paying a higher price isn't truly getting you a better stere

So which music streaming services offer the best combination of price, sound quality and library size? Read on to find an in-depth look at each of the services and a feature comparison, along with a full price breakdown in the chart at the bottom of the page. We'll update this list periodically. And if you want the TL;DR, these are the top three.

In our quest to find the best Bluetooth speaker, we considered factors such as sound quality, battery life and more -- below, we present our current contenders, including compact mini models, pocket-size micro versions and heftier models with powerful audio. If you're looking for more, we can also recommend the best smart speakers and flac download the best Wi-Fi speakers and music systems.

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Student discount


Yes, Price varies by country


Yes, $5, £5 with Hulu and Showtime

Premium: $5, HiFi: $10 (US only)

Yes, $5

Sarah Tew/CNET

At $30 (with an instant 20% off coupon), the Tribit XSound Go is one of the top Bluetooth speakers for the money. Besides sounding decent for streaming your favorite music and more, this affordable Bluetooth speaker is also fully waterproof.