Need help finding gifts that provide amazing audio? Check out what's hot this holiday season and surprise the music guru in your life.
With so much music available right at our fingertips there's never been a better time to listen to our favorite artists and songs from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. Amazing quality audio isn't as easy to come by, however, especially when you're trying to sift through thousands of portable speakers and headphones to find what sounds best and fits comfortably. We've highlighted a handful of products that are definitely worth considering as a gift for yourself or even your fellow audiophile. And, if your search expands beyond the realm of audio, check out our extensive 2015 Holiday Gift Guide for plenty more exciting gifts for the holiday season.
Sonos Play Speakers
These top of the line speakers are super-simple to set up and provide excellent quality for any genre of music or media. The smallest of the bunch is the Play:1, but you can step it up to the next level with the Play:3 or the brand-new Play:5 that's just been released in time for the holidays. Although slightly different in design, what they all have in common is superior sound. Whether you just want one as a gift or a couple to pair together for a full spectrum of awesomeness, Sonos Wireless Speakers are a safe bet for any audiophile.
If you have a favorite speaker at home that doesn't use any Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but wish it did — Chromecast Audio grants that wish. This little puck connects to any standard speaker via the 3.5mm auxiliary cable on the side and is powered by a Micro-USB charger. While this audio accessory is connected it grants Wi-Fi access to your speaker, allowing you to cast your favorite music apps, whether it be Spotify, Pandora, or Google Play Music. You also have the benefit of utilizing your smartphone without interrupting your cast, unlike traditional Bluetooth speakers.
Bose QuietComfort 20 Headphones
Bose has crafted these amazing noise cancelling in-ear headphones that allow you to enjoy uninterrupted music that surpasses the quality of many other headphones in its price range. Using TriPort technology and Active EQ to deliver digital quality audio, there's no genre of music that sounds weak on any level. Bose's Stay Hear+ tips are comfortable and stable for long-term use and the inline microphone makes it quick and simple to manage your calls in between your playlists. With the QuietComfort 20 Headphones you get 3 pairs of tips in different sizes, clothing clip, USB charging cable, and a nice carrying case for travel.
Sony SRS-X88 Premium Bluetooth Speaker
The SRS-X88 pumps serious sound for its portable size using 5 speakers: 2 super tweeters, 2 magnetic fluid mid-range drivers, and a subwoofer with dual passive radiators. This speaker is Google Cast-ready for streaming music from your favorite apps and can also be connected via Bluetooth, NFC, or streamed over Wi-Fi with DLNA and AirPlay support. With 90W of amazing sound you can rock it in any room of your home, even throwing additional speakers in the mix using the SongPAL App. If you're after incredible audio without the bulk of a large speaker, the SRS-X88 is a great one to roll with.
Beats Pill+ Speaker
The new Beats Pill+ is a nicely designed mid-range Bluetooth speaker that sports a smooth build and features a stereo active 2-way crossover system for optimized sound across all genres of music. Although the drivers inside are somewhat smaller, the neodymium magnets surrounding them allow for powerful sound output you'd expect to hear from larger sized speakers. The simple interface of the Beats Pill+ offers the ability to skip tracks, play or pause, adjust volume, and even use it as a speakerphone. It's charged using a Lightning cable instead of a traditional Micro-USB, providing approximately 12 hours of battery life a medium volume level. This slightly beefy speaker sounds great and has a unique look that fits nicely in just about any environment.
Grain Audio PWS.01 Bluetooth Speaker
While there are thousands of Bluetooth speakers that lack style and sound quality, this is one exception that sounds as good as it looks. The PWS.01 from Grain Audio packs two 2-inch loudspeakers and a passive radiator that uses a bass isolation system to keep the overall mix crisp, thick, and most importantly — clear. Its beautiful walnut enclosure is matched with a rubber edging that keeps the speaker from sliding around while rocking out. On a full charge the PWS.01 is good for up to 8 hours and even includes a handy mesh carrying bag for travel.
Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 Bluetooth Headphones
These over-the-ear wireless headphones provide a comfortable way to enjoy music and media for an extended period of time without fatigue. The noise-isolating fit with Skullcandy's soft leather seal lets the powerful 50mm drivers push audio the way it's meant to be heard. The Hesh 2.0 Headphones connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone, tablet, or TV and will stay powered up to 12 hours off a complete charge. There's even a built-in microphone if you need to manage your calls while enjoying your playlist.
Google Play Gift Card
Sometimes the best gift is letting them pick for themselves. They know exactly what they want, and you don't want to be the one that asks them, right? Luckily you can always opt for a Google Play Gift Card. These cards can be used to purchase music, movies, books, apps, and more, redeemable on the web or straight from a smartphone. It's a great last-minute gift that you simply can't go wrong with.