Portable speakers come in many inexpensive varieties these days, but to get quality sound, you have to pay extra for stereo. Even then, the internal speakers are usually only a few inches apart, limiting the quality.
HMDX Audio has a less expensive option that allows two speakers paired together to offer true stereo sound. The new speakers, Jam Plus, are part of a collection that expands on the popular Jam speaker that came out last year.
The Jam Plus speakers cost $60 each and are offered in many bright colors, including blue, pink, purple and yellow. (For the serious-minded person, a sober gray is also available.) They have a minimal, compact design, and come in packaging that looks like a jar of jam.
The speakers have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that offers four hours of wireless play, which frankly is not much. But they also come with a USB cable to connect to wired devices. HMDX says the Jam Plus speakers have a range of up to 30 feet, like most wireless speakers.
Setup via Bluetooth was a snap. A switch on the bottom of each speaker allows for mono or stereo playback. With a quick flip, you can be listening to stereo music from left and right speakers. The sound is decent, although not very heavy on the bass.
For longer playback and good performance, HMDX offers the $120 Jam Party boombox, which lasts up to eight hours on a full charge. Two internal speakers provide a more booming bass, and a retractable handle enhances portability. But those extras come with a steeper price, and you don't get true stereo sound.
Over all, the vibrant colors of the Jam Plus might not fit every décor, but the price definitely fits a tight budget.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.