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Wireless speaker systems let you play music stored on a phone, tablet, media player, or computer that's across the room or even elsewhere in the house without fiddling around with cables and connections. Our tests showed that you don't have to trade sound quality for convenience, but you will pay a premium--several models we tested cost $400 or more.
Most portable models use Bluetooth wireless technology, which works with a wide range of mobile devices, including the Apple iPhone 5 and Android smart phones. But Bluetooth's reach is limited to about 30 feet, fine when the music source and the speaker are in the same room. Wi-Fi has a longer range, and with some sources you can stream music to multiple speakers in different rooms. Typically Apple devices use AirPlay to connect to your Wi-Fi network; Android and Windows devices generally use DLNA technology. (See Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth.)
Depending on the speaker model, you may also get an iPod dock or the ability to connect an iPhone, iPod, or other device via USB. And almost all of the tested wireless speaker models have auxiliary audio inputs for connecting other gear, such as a portable audio player or TV.