It's nearly November, which means the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards are weeks away. The Awards are turning 14 this year and there will be 18 categories ranging from best smartphone and best tablet to best speaker and best smart home device.
Each category has between six and eight shortlisted nominations, all of which have been reviewed by us in full at some point over the last 12 months. There are some excellent contenders across the board and as you might have discovered, we have been diving a little deeper into each category over the last couple of weeks through a series of features. Each feature presents the nominations for a specific category in more detail and explains what we loved about each device when we reviewed it.
So far, we have looked at the best tablet / 2-in-1 category, best smartphone, best laptop, best game, best home entertainment device and best streaming service, among others. Today, it is time to look at the best wireless speaker category. There are some brilliant nominees, from multi-room speakers to Bluetooth speakers, but only one can be king of sound.
B&O Play Beolit 17
When we first heard the B&O Play Beolit 17 we assumed it was a wired speaker. That it can kick out such considerable volume, with smooth low-end bass and a considered balance of mid and treble is true testament to the Bang & Olufsen roots to which B&O Play is linked.
Sure, it's expensive, the sound isn't perfectly cohesive from all angles or when the volume is particularly low, but these are minor nitpicks from a product that's good enough to cater for all your audio needs - both at home or outside. Play it loud, play it proud - there's little better than the Beolit 17.
Bose Soundlink Revolve
The Bose SoundLink Revolve provides what you almost always get from Bose: a minimal, stylish speaker that sounds really good. While there are plenty of great-sounding Bluetooth speakers out there, it's nice to have one that doesn't have an attention-seeking design, or painted in some migraine-inducing colour scheme.
While it would be nice to have a smart assistant built-in, the SoundLink Revolve still gets all the basics right. It'll last playing music all day on a single charge, it looks good, is easy to use, portable, and built to last.
Denon Heos 2
If you're looking to invest in a good value multi-room audio system that can handle virtually all streaming services and file types – including the very best in hi-res lossless audio – you'll not find much better than the updated Denon Heos HS2.
The extensive choice of wireless speakers and amplifiers means you can build a complete multi-room system to suit the size of your home and budget, while the excellent Heos 7 HS2 offers enough performance and style to stand alone and impress in most living rooms.
The Libratone Zipp is a total rework of its 2012 original. The new quirky zip-up design is fun, while the physical size - which perhaps makes it a bit too large to cart around outside of the house - lends well to stomping bass and audio output considering its £219 price point.
That's the rub of it really: for only about £50 more than many smaller portable competitors, the Zipp gives an extra wallop of sound. If you're after an at-home portable speaker then Libratone, whether you know the name or not, seems to have that corner of the market neatly zipped-up here.
The Sonos PlayBase is beautifully designed as the perfect sound-enhancing solution for your telly. It delivers excellent sound quality and enough bass to be sufficient as a top notch standalone speaker too. And if you want to add other Sonos speakers and the Sub then it can also be setup as the ultimate 5.1 system.
If you've got the cash then the PlayBase is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it kind of speaker. It's great for music, radically enhances TV audio, blows away the PlayBar's more dated design, and is the perfect addition to Sonos's full around-the-home audio package. The PlayBase might be late to the soundbase party, but it's what the party has been waiting for.
Exuberance is the XB40's raison d'être, which is exactly what you get - unapologetic extroversion. Brash bass and big beats, serious volume, plus the lights fantastic. And all that wrapped up in a rugged-looking and colourful design. For that we can't fault the XB40, because it delivers that funky light show and brings a lot of fun with it.
Strip away the bass and you don't have the cleanest sound you'll find on the Bluetooth speaker, nor the greatest degree of sophistication, but that wasn't the aim here. The 'Extra Bass' button being a big clue. Someone has to bring the fun to the party and, in this case, it's the Sony XB40.
Ultimate Ears UE Wonderboom
We have enjoyed UE speakers for many years and the Wonderboom is an excellent smaller-scale proposition in the series. It's ideal for those who want to get out into the world and not have to worry about dropping it or getting it wet. All without breaking the bank. The fun and simple design has plenty of appeal, especially in its various colour options.
Ok, so there are more sophisticated designs in speakers of this type, which might suit your décor at home a little better, but the UE Wonderboom is for the active generation. If you camp, ski, have a pool, like to party, go outside or are just a free spirit who loves music, then it's hard not to see the appeal of the UE Wonderboom.
The V-Moda Remix brings some high-end elements to the Bluetooth speaker party. Its got big sound for its small scale, although the low-end can't rival the better-priced B&O BeoPlay A1, which pulls the rug out from under V-Moda's speaker somewhat. If the Remix was £50+ cheaper then it would appeal to a much wider audience and for good reason: because it sounds great.
After many months of listening we can confirm the V-Moda Remix is a quality portable Bluetooth speaker. Its customisation and amp quirks don't elevate it to the same almost-unrivalled level as V-Moda's over-ear headphones and its high-end competition is considerable, but it's still a great speaker.
Voting in the 14th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards is now open so you can let us know which one of these great devices you think should win the Best Wireless Speaker award for this year and give us your verdict on all, or some, of the other tech across the 17 categories.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 14 November in association with EE. Voting closes on 3 November.