Seven new pieces of powerful portable audio for heavenly summer sounds

Our selection of new Bluetooth speakers should keep you surrounded by sound for the rest of the season

Marshall Middleton bluetooth speaker
(Image credit: Marshall)

Portable audio continues to evolve. The tinny Bluetooth speakers of old are now a distant memory, as manufacturers work out how to squeeze bass drivers, room-filling surround sound, long-lasting batteries and even water-resistance into devices designed to live on the road. There’s also a renewed focus on static aesthetics, with sculptural, playful forms that work well on shelf, countertop or table. Read on for our selection of seven new speakers that have caught our eyes and ears. 

Bluetooth speakers: portable audio for summer sounds

1. Marshall Middleton

Marshall Middleton speaker

Marshall Middleton speaker

(Image credit: Marshall)

First up is a Bluetooth device from an old hand at amplified sound. Marshall’s Middleton speaker is another step towards the venerable amp maker becoming a fully fledged consumer brand. The Middleton is an expensive device with a pleasing 2kg heft thanks to its high quality of construction. Black cloth, durable post-consumer plastic casing and gold detailing translates the aesthetic of the company’s famed valve amps into a hand-held device with a 20-hour battery life. Two woofers and two tweeters deliver the sound, with simple analogue bass and treble controls to tweak it. In true Marshall style, you can ‘stack’ up a bunch of Middletons to make your own mini festival backline (the speaker’s water resistance should also help). 

Marshall Middleton Bluetooth Speaker, £269.99,

2. A.bsolument Prodige

A.bsolument Prodige speaker

A.bsolument Prodige speaker

(Image credit: A.bsolument)

The French-made Prodige speaker has been designed with retro-futurism in mind. Using speakers made by French brand Focal, the Prodige is the latest product from Arthur Verne’s audio company A.bsolument. Fashioned from recycled aluminium and sustainably managed wood, the speaker’s material make-up inevitably draws comparisons with Rams-era Braun and the ever-popular Panasonic hi-fi components from the 1970s and 1980s. A 90-watt Bluetooth system, driving two tweeters and one large woofer, the speaker is hand-made in the Auvergne and designed to last a lifetime. 

Prodige Bluetooth Speaker, €690,

3. Acer Halo Swing

Acer Halo Swing Speaker

Acer Halo Swing speaker

(Image credit: Acer)

A smart speaker with built-in Google Assistant, the forthcoming Halo Swing comes with a charging dock and an embedded LED display for showing the time, notifications, and so on. Compact enough to pick up and sling in a bag on the way out of the house, the Swing has an eight-hour run time when it’s set as a standalone subwoofer-powered sound system. At home on the dock, the Swing dovetails with the Google Home Ecosystem, so fans of automation and voice command will find it slots right into your set-up. 

Acer Halo Swing, available soon,

4. Sony SRS-XE200

Sony SRS-XE200 Portable Wireless Speaker

Sony SRS-XE200 portable wireless speaker

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony’s X-Series of portable speakers combines Bluetooth connectivity with a distinctive pentagonal form and a clutch of contemporary colour ways. Featuring hard-wearing silicone fabric coverings, the speakers are shaped to mimic the stacked arrays of overhead speakers found at large venues. Even shrunk down to bag-sized convenience, the 16-hour speakers can easily fill a room with a consistent, even quality of sound. Sony’s Party Connect system allows a staggering 100 speakers be connected – just make you’re not broadcasting your phone-call to thousands. 

Sony XE200 X-Series Portable Wireless Speaker, £109,

5. BE@RBRICK Audio

BE@RBRICK Audio 400% Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Be@rbrick Audio 400% portable Bluetooth speaker

(Image credit: BE@RBRICK Audio)

Japan’s Medicom Toy company is the creator of the cliquey Be@rbrick range of pop culture figurines. Drawing on a limitless supply of characters from art, commerce, film, comics and music, these bear-like figurines are available in a variety of sizes, from 7cm (‘100%’) upwards. The newest model is a collaboration with Ukranian acoustic engineering company Rinaro Isodynamics. The BE@RBRICK Audio 400% Portable Bluetooth Speaker involved 20,000 hours of engineering time to transform the basic body shape into a four-driver speaker capable of creating a 360-degree sound field. Operate volume and track selection by twisting each paw and experience six hours of playback from this self-conscious cult object. 

Be@rbrick Audio speaker, available from November 2023, $499,,

6. Pantheone Obsidian

Pantheone Obsidian Speaker

Pantheone Obsidian speaker

(Image credit: Pantheone)

Pantheone Audio is an Australian brand that’s hoping to muscle in on the sculptural speaker scene – think Devialet, Bowers & Wilkins or even Syng. The company’s second product, the Obsidian, is a faceted, rock-like form cast from handmade resin. Available in black or white, the Obsidian is pitched at those who want their speakers to be conversation pieces when the music stops. 

Obsidian by Pantheone Audio, £1,199,

7. Soundcore Motion X600

Soundcore Motion X600

Soundcore Motion X600 speaker

(Image credit: Soundcore)

Styled to resemble an old-school boombox, the Motion X600 is a portable powerhouse, containing no less than five speakers and five amplifiers in its slimline form. The device is available in three pastel colours, with the added bonus of being waterproof. The internal arrangement ensures that sound is evenly dispersed around a room, with 50W of power and an emphasis on hefty bass.  

Soundcore Motion X600, £199.99,

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.