Gift Guide: JBL Soundfly Airplay Speaker

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The JBL Soundfly is a fresh take on the small speaker craze. Instead of relying on a battery for power, the Soundfly sports an electrical plug on the backside. Just plug it into the wall for power and connect your iOS device with Airplay. There are no wires, once it’s connected to the local wireless network, it always works.

The obvious downside is that the speaker can only be used where there’s a plug. But, with the right location, I found the Soundfly to be a dead-simple solution to an age-old problem of blasting Ke$ha while you’re taking a shower.

Features

Pros

  • Never have to worry about a dead battery
  • Quality audio response
  • Small and convenient

Cons

  • Not very portable
  • Location limited to outlet plugs

Who’s it for?

The Soundfly is just the latest in a long line of small, wireless speakers. Buy it for the casual music listener who needs a low profile speaker. I used it all throughout my house but mostly in the kitchen and bathroom since both have conveniently placed electrical outlets.

There are two versions of the Soundfly. I tested the $199 Airplay version that only works with the newest Macs and select iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. There is a $179 Bluetooth version that is compatiable with Android devices and PCs but I cannot attest to the audio quality. With the Airplay version, the audio was crisp although a bit shallow; there wasn’t much bass. However, audio streamed with Bluetooth generally sounds inferior to Airplay.

Why the Soundfly?

There are a bunch of small speakers available for less than $200. The Jabra Solemate is still my favorite because of its great audio quality and novel 3.5mm cable storage. But it runs on battery and the wireless connectivity is Bluetooth so it doesn’t sound great. With the Soundfly, just plug in the unit to the wall (or keep it plugged in), wait about 10 seconds for it to initialize, and then connect to it with your iOS device. It’s that easy.

Again, the Soundfly is limited to electrical outlets. It’s not as portable as other small speakers, but I found myself opting to use the Soundfly due to its dead simple operation.

How do you get it?

Both versions of the Soundfly are available from JBL.com and Amazon for $199.

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