Bluetooth speakers in 2024: the 5 biggest launches so far and what’s coming next

 A Beats speaker on a table, a hand holding a Bose speaker and a Wondeboom speaker being attached to a rucksack.
Credit: Beats / Bose / Ultimate Ears

The market for the best Bluetooth speakers is incredibly crowded, but that doesn't mean it can't still be interesting. As we'll discover, 2024 has been a good year so far for people who like their speakers to be really weird, really loud, or both.

As you can see below, some of our previous favorites have been updated this year. The Sonos Roam 2 launch was overshadowed a bit by the launch of Sonos's first headphones, the Sonos Ace, and by the controversy over the dramatic changes to the Sonos app. But our first impressions of the new speaker are very positive. It's not dramatically different but it's easier to connect over Bluetooth and it's had a bit of a redesign, too.

We've also seen updates from JBL, which updated the JBL Clip and the JBL Go and also turbo-charged its Extreme speaker. There was also one surprising release this summer: a new Beats Pill speaker from Apple.

Before its rather blatant Instagram product placement began in May we wouldn't have put money on a new Pill this year: the last model was discontinued in 2022 and hadn't been updated since 2015, so Beats Bluetooth speakers didn't appear to be an Apple priority. It's nice to be proved wrong, and to see not just a spec bump but a price cut, too.

Here are all of the big Bluetooth speaker launches so far in 2024 – and the ones that may also be worth waiting for in the months to come...

Bluetooth speakers in 2024: what have been this year's biggest launches so far?

Samsung Music Frame speaker with a saxophone player image, on dark wooden wall
Samsung Music Frame speaker with a saxophone player image, on dark wooden wall

Unveiled in January, the Samsung Music Frame is by far the strangest Bluetooth speaker of the year so far – and likely to retain its crown for the rest of the year, too.

It's a similar idea to the IKEA and Sonos Symfonisk Picture Frame, but instead of being a wireless speaker that looks like a picture, it's an actual picture frame. It can be integrated with your home cinema setup or used as a stand-alone Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speaker, and it boasts twin woofers, tweeters and mid-range drivers. It's a bit more expensive than your average picture frame, however: it's $399 / £499 / AU$499.

The similarly pricey ($399 / £399 / AU$599) but less strange Bose SoundLink Max (below), which we reviewed just this month, is one of our favorite speakers of the year so far thanks to its seriously powerful sound. It's the biggest, baddest member of the SoundLink family and it's particularly impressive at the low end. But that doesn't mean it's unsubtle: it's an excellent-sounding speaker.

A woman holding the Bose SoundLink Max speaker
A woman holding the Bose SoundLink Max speaker

Another interesting model launched just in time for summer is the new Ultimate Ears Everboom, and it's another monster: this 360-degree speaker (meaning it blasts sound outwards evenly in every direction) can reach maximum volumes of around 89dB. And you can boost it further with Outdoor Boost, which emphasises the most audible frequencies and ups the volume to 91dB. Like the Bose it doesn't sacrifice sound quality for sheer sonic power, but it's a little more affordable at $249 / £249 / AU$349.

It feels like all of the big manufacturers have been focused on outdoor speakers this year, and JBL is no exception: the JBL Extreme 4, which we reviewed last month, is another great-sounding and rather loud outdoor speaker with a fairly hefty price tag: it's $379 / £329 / AU$499. It's also one of the first speakers to include something we'll probably be heartily sick of hearing about from other firms by the end of this year: AI. JBL says its AI algorithm predicts speaker movement and response and tweaks the sound accordingly to make it "better and more powerful."

A screen-grab of a teaser posted by Beats by Dre on X, showing a hand pushing the top button of a Beats speaker
A screen-grab of a teaser posted by Beats by Dre on X, showing a hand pushing the top button of a Beats speaker

Last but not least, Apple has snuck into our round-up at the very last minute: the new Beats Pill speaker (above) is the first new Beats speaker in nearly a decade and only launched the same week we're writing this.

It looks like previous models but brings Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C and up to 24 hours of battery life, double that of the previous model. And in a rare example of Apple kit coming down in price, at $149 / £149 / AU$ tbc, it's $50 cheaper than its predecessor, too.

Bluetooth speakers in 2024: what speakers are worth getting excited about later this year?

the jbl flip 6 bluetooth speaker in red
the jbl flip 6 bluetooth speaker in red

We'd hoped to see the JBL Flip 7 earlier this year but it didn't appear among the firm's other speaker updates. We're now approaching three years since the JBL Flip 6 appeared and we're hoping to see a new version in the latter half of 2024 that will add Auracast, the mass-connection tech that JBL has added to several of its other speakers. Faster charging would be nice to have, too.

Auracast isn't the only significant upgrade that should be coming to more Bluetooth speakers later this year. The latest aptX codecs such as aptX Adaptive and aptX Lossless deliver significantly better audio quality over Bluetooth connections.

aptX Adaptive is starting to appear in some premium models, such as the second generation of the B&O Beosound A1, the newly launched Bose SoundLink Max and the Dali Katch G2. However, while aptX Adaptive is increasingly common in some of the best Bluetooth headphones it's still a rather rare sight, or rather sound, in the affordable Bluetooth speaker market.

aptX Adaptive could mean more traditional speakers getting the Bluetooth treatment too. So far that's largely been limited to premium models such as the $3K JBL 4329P Studio Monitors and desktop speakers such as Ruark's MR1 Mk2, but in May 2024 Fiio introduced new bookshelf speakers with aptX Adaptive streaming over Bluetooth for £319 / €379 / $349 per pair.

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