GadgetGuy 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Sound and vision

100% human

Speakers evolved

Sound at home doesn’t necessarily have to be stuck in the living room, with speakers available all throughout the house thank to multi-room audio and Bluetooth speakers you can take with you.

Sonos Play:1

Price: $299

The entry level to the Sonos system, the Play:1 is a surprisingly powerful compact speaker that can rock the living room, kitchen, or bathroom, and if you have a few, they can be synchronised in a party mode, playing music throughout the home together.

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Panasonic All3

Price: $379

While we’ve yet to experience Panasonic’s answer to the Sonos, it gets our attention this holiday season because unlike Sonos, uses an open standard developed by Qualcomm to get sound working throughout your home.

This standard is “AllPlay,” and while Panasonic is the only developer with products currently available in Australia (that we know about), it means you won’t necessarily have to buy Panasonic products only as more companies begin to support the “AllPlay” multi-room technology.

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Samsung M7

Price: $499

Samsung’s effort in multi-room audio isn’t the open standard Panasonic is using. Rather, it’s closer to what Sonos has succeeded in, with a range of products allowing music to be synchronised across small, medium, and large speakers, as well as having quite a few soundbars. If the person you’re buying for already has a recent Samsung soundbar, this could provide some extra sound throughout the home.

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Harman/Kardon Esquire

Price: $349

Harman/Kardon’s first Bluetooth speaker grabbed high marks from us this week not just because it’s an elegant leather bound portable speaker, but also because it has a lovely warm tonality to it and can even charge two devices simultaneously, making it a good speaker to keep around with you, not just for sharing your music with the world.

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B&O BeoPlay A2

Price: $479

A clear speaker with a design focused on taking it with you, the BeoPlay A2 is bright and cheerful and offers loads of volume, making it ideal for filling a room, or even a park and potentially annoying all the other guests.

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Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth speaker

Price: $599

The problem with Bluetooth speakers is they often look the same. Basic blocks with a clean look, a couple of ports, and a simple on switch that’s often found somewhere on the body you’d check last.

But not Marshall’s Stanmore. No, this thing is pure rock god beauty, looking like it walked out of an Aerosmith video from the 70s, and with a quality of audio that really does max it to eleven.

If there’s a musician in your life, this is a great gift idea.

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