Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Pioneer FreeMe Portable Speaker

With summer approaching, more and more of us are making the most of the weather by heading to the beach, hosting a barbecue, or even stepping into the garden to wash the car. And in such settings, it’s often good to have a bit of background music.

Of course, there are a few options: you could play music through your phone (and put up with the tinny sound, as well as looking like a teenager), you could use earphones (unsociable), or you could make use of some form of external speaker.

Until relatively recently, though, most of these have been terrible – battery-draining, cumbersome, and often of a sound quality on par with your mobile phone. However, over the past couple of years there have been significant improvements. And one newcomer which hopes to push its way into the market is the new FreeMe by Pioneer.

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Like most current external speakers, this one connects to your phone or MP3 player through the use of Bluetooth. This connectivity also means that you’re able to make and receive hands free calls through the device, perfect for group conversations (or neighbours ear-dropping).

It also includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with up to 7 hours’ playback, as well as the option to plug it into the mains if you’re using it at home. Another neat feature is the 360° reach of the device, made possible by having speakers on all sides for an evenly distributed sound.

As for the appearance, it is quite good looking, compact, and comes in two different forms – one leather-bound and one with a natural rubber casing. The leather will come in a choice of black or brown, and the rubber in black, white, or aqua blue.

The speakers will be available from July, except for the brown leather version, which is due to be released in August. However, prices are going to be predictably higher end with £130 for the rubber version and £170 for the leather one. But given the competition and premium brand, they are right up our street.

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