Bluetooth speakers provide a convenient way to enjoy music and audio anywhere without wires. Most Bluetooth speakers share common features like wireless connectivity, portability, and speakerphone calling. But beyond these basics, Bluetooth speakers can vary significantly in their functions and capabilities. This guide will explore the many features and functions available in today’s Bluetooth speakers so you can determine what capabilities matter most for your needs.
Basic Bluetooth Speaker Functions
At their core, all Bluetooth speakers provide the following functions:
- Wireless audio streaming – Bluetooth speakers connect wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth enabled device to stream music and audio up to 30+ feet away. No wires needed!
- Speakerphone – Many Bluetooth speakers have built-in microphones that allow you to use the speaker like a speakerphone for calls. Answer calls without taking out your phone.
- Portability – Compact and powered by rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth speakers are designed for enjoying your audio on the go. Take them anywhere – the beach, camping, tailgating and more.
- Controls – Typical controls include power, volume, play/pause, track skip and Bluetooth pairing. Some may have bass and treble controls.
- Rechargeable battery – A lithium-ion battery provides hours of portable playtime. Battery life spans from 5 hours for smaller models up to 20+ hours for larger ones.
Advanced Bluetooth Speaker Functions
Beyond the basics, Bluetooth speakers can offer many additional functional perks like:
- Voice assistant support – Speakers with integrated voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa allow for voice-controlled music playback, smart home controls and more.
- Wireless stereo pairing – Two of the same speakers can connect wirelessly to each other to provide left and right channel separation for wider, stereo sound.
- Wireless multi-pairing – Some speakers can connect to two smartphones simultaneously so you and a friend can take turns DJing playlists from your devices.
- Speakerphone conferencing – For conference calls, some speakers have omnidirectional microphones that pick up voices from around the room.
- True wireless – True wireless speakers have separate left and right speakers with no wires between for full wireless synchronization.
- Sound customization – Higher-end speakers offer adjustable equalizers and pre-programmed sound modes like movie, music, vocal booster and more.
Rugged & Waterproof Features
For outdoor and active use, look for Bluetooth speakers with these rugged features:
- Waterproof/water resistant – IP67 or IPX7 ratings indicate speakers can be submerged for 30 mins in 1 meter of water. Splashproof IPX4 models handle sprays and splashes.
- Dustproof – Sealed designs keep dust and sand out. Look for an IP6X dust tight rating.
- Shockproof – MIL-STD-810 certifications indicate speakers can withstand drops, vibration, shock and more hazardous conditions.
- Floats in water – Some waterproof speakers are designed to float so they don’t sink if dropped in a pool or lake.
- Rubber housing – Durable exterior rubber or silicone protects against drops and dings.
For visually-engaging speakers, look for these built-in lighting effects:
- LED lightshow – Colored LEDs flash, pulse and glow in time with your music. Some allow customization of colors and patterns.
- Strobe lights – Forward-facing white strobes add a party vibe. The strobe rate can be adjustable on some models.
- Speaker lights – Perimeter LED strips give ambient glow to the speaker housing and reflect the vibe of the music playback.
- DJ effects – DJ-inspired flashing lights add professional lighting flair. Disco, techno and other effects may be included.
Battery & Connectivity Extras
A few final functions that enhance usability:
- Quick charging – Replenish low batteries fast, typically to 50% in 30-60 minutes. Great for topping off before heading out.
- External battery – Some larger speakers can be used to charge your smartphone or tablet when low on power.
- Wired mode – If batteries deplete, you can still use the speaker by connecting audio sources via auxiliary cable.
- USB port – For playing music directly from a thumb drive or charging other devices from the speaker battery.
- Speaker stands – Allow upright positioning and angling of the speakers for best sound quality.
- Basic Bluetooth speaker functions include wireless streaming, speakerphone, controls, portability and rechargeable battery.
- Additional features like voice control, wireless pairing, conferencing and sound adjustment provide premium capabilities.
- Rugged, waterproof models are best for outdoor and active use.
- LED lighting effects add visual appeal and vibe to your music.
- Battery and connectivity extras enhance long-term usability and versatility.
Knowing these key Bluetooth speaker functions will help you select the right model to suit your listening needs, environment and lifestyle. With the wide range of features available today, you can find a portable speaker that goes far beyond just basic wireless streaming.