Sound systems

The best party speakers, sound systems to buy this Christmas 2021

Are you having a party or just want great surround sound? We’ve tried portable speakers – and here are our tech editor’s top picks.

The Christmas holidays are nothing without the famous track by Mariah Carey. These speakers will ensure that it is heard.

LG XBOOM 360

An unexpected design, similar to a lamp but a guaranteed entertainer

$ 649, lg.com.au

ADVANTAGES

– 360 degree sound

– Quality sound that fills the room

– Bonus light show

THE INCONVENIENTS

– 5.5 kg of weight

– More expensive than some

– DJ Gimmicky Effects

Many portable speakers are designed for disposable meetings, but this model has a more elegant dining feel. The audio entertainer is 50cm tall, features a cone-shaped design and has a light inside that can be programmed to glow in different colors. Its lantern shape and acoustic sound provide 360 ​​degree sound and if you are really keen on it you can also use it as well as an app to add DJ effects to your music. The speaker also comes with a handle and controls on the top, and can play music for 10 hours without being plugged in.

Verdict: 4.5 / 5 stars

Sonos roam

The most portable Sonos speaker is surprisingly accomplished

$ 299, sonos.com.au

ADVANTAGES

– The sound adapts to its location

– Works with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

– Doubles as a smart speaker

THE INCONVENIENTS

– Play on one side

– No power adapter

– Very powerful bass

This artfully designed column is the smallest and cheapest Sonos speaker on the market, but it borrows a lot from its bigger and more expensive siblings. The Roam can play songs from a nearby phone via Bluetooth or directly from a music service via Wi-Fi. A mic button on the top provides quick access to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, sound body is waterproof for outdoor use and, if you have other Sonos speakers, it can transfer music to them with just the push of a button. Best of all, it delivers surprisingly full sound for such a small device.

Verdict: 4.5 / 5

Apple HomePod Mini

Siri’s favorite music machines just added some color

$ 149, apple.com/en

ADVANTAGES

– Economic

– Works with others in stereo

– Three bold new colors

THE INCONVENIENTS

– No upgrades apart from color

– Will not work with Spotify

– Works best with an iPhone

Apple didn’t make big changes to its smart speaker this year, but it did make it a bold one. The latest HomePod Minis are now available in Orange, Yellow, and Bright Blue, and each comes with a matching cable. The baseball-shaped speakers feature top touch controls, 360-degree sound, and can be paired with others to stream music in stereo or as TV speakers. However, HomePods are the most useful for iPhone users and will only work with a limited list of music streaming services.

Verdict: 4/5 stars

JBL Charge 5

Only a handful but this speaker is ready for a summer outdoors

$ 199, jbl.com.au

ADVANTAGES

– Resistant and waterproof body

– Play music for 20 hours

– Can also charge a phone

THE INCONVENIENTS

– Distortion at high volume

– Limited app functionality

– No headphone jack

Like a puppy, this speaker begs to be taken to the beach or the pool this summer. The JBL Charge 5 features a waterproof shell, comes in a choice of five colors, and is shaped like a water bottle for easy transport. It has stylish molded music controls on one side and a charging connection on the other side that can be used to plug in a phone for charging. Considering its size, this speaker will only entertain a modest beach party, but it’s a handy device to have on standby.

Verdict: 3.5 / 5 stars

Blue Ant X4

A colorful “ear” speaker complete with microphone

$ 299, blueant.com.au

ADVANTAGES

– Good value for money at $ 299

– Comes with a microphone

– will work with others

THE INCONVENIENTS

– Lack of serious bass

– Large enough

– Only splash proof

This party speaker is billed as “ear candy” and you can see how successful it would be with the kids. The BlueAnt X4 comes in five colors including vibrant blue and pink, a ring of LED lights on its face, and it comes with a microphone for impromptu karaoke sessions. The 2.6kg speaker also features a handle, simple controls including a large volume knob, and 50 watts of audio power. It doesn’t deliver as much bass as you’d expect from its size, but it can be paired with other X4 speakers to give it more oomph.

Verdict: 3.5 / 5 stars