Now that your music lives on your phone, tablet, or laptop, you can listen anywhere. But to really pump up the jam, you’ll need a speaker.
Here, three portable versions that rock.
BEST FOR TRAVEL
Jawbone’s Mini Jambox: $180
Battery life: Up to 10 hours.
Why it’s a buy: At just 2.3-by-6 inches and weighing a half-pound, this speaker fits in a tiny carry-on yet is powerful enough to fill your hotel room with sound.
Like all the models we tried, the Jawbone connects wirelessly to your device. To control the music, use your phone or computer, or, for simple adjustments, such as changing volume and skipping a track, hit the buttons directly on the speaker.
BEST STEREO REPLACEMENT
Sonos’s Play:1: $200
Battery life: Plug only.
Why it’s a buy: The Sonos is the audiophile’s choice, with volume and sound quality that blow away the competition. Indeed, this 6.4-by-4.7-inch speaker is the only one in our test that deserves a slot in your stereo or home theater setup.
One caveat: Unless you purchase a separate $49 “bridge” gadget that uses Wi-Fi, the Sonos requires a cable to connect to your Internet service.
BEST FOR OUTDOORS
Logitech’s UE Boom: $200
Battery life: Up to 15 hours.
Why it’s a buy:This slim speaker blasts music in a 360-degree radius and has a water-resistant skin, making it a go-to for picnics or pool parties.
Like the Jawbone, the 7.1-by-2.6-inch Logitech can also act as a speakerphone, though you must answer or end each call by touching the actual phone.
MANAGE YOUR MUSIC
Don’t let your digital library slip into disarray. Here’s how to keep your tunes user-friendly:
Zap duplicates. iTunes often registers multiple copies of the same song (usually because it has been saved to more than one folder).
To fix this, click the “View” menu, select “Show duplicate items,” then delete the repeats.
Digitize everything. If you still have some old CDs kicking around, try a conversion service. For between 69¢ and $1 per disc, companies like MusicShifter and Murfie will convert your music to MP3 or other digital formats.
Create playlists. Is “Shuffle” too jarring? Make it simple to listen to only what you want by making lists by genre, mood, or activity. On iTunes, try Genius, which lets you pick a track, then creates a playlist filled with similar songs.