At 5.5 inches wide, the Soundmatters foxLv2 -- a Bluetooth speaker system -- builds a wall of sound loud enough for small parties. Designed by a former NASA engineer, the speaker system, whose lithium battery acts as a subwoofer, is also a hands-free audio device. But I have to wonder: How necessary is Bluetooth in a portable speaker system? I mean, why would you keep it so far from your speakers that a wire wouldn't reach?

FoxL V2Don't misunderstand me. I dislike wire more than most, since I deal so much with it at work. That's why I bought a pair of Philips Bluetooth headphones for my iPod, and I adore them. On those days that I forget them and use the headphones that came with my iPod, the white cord is constantly draping over my keyboard or I'll rip the headphones out of my ear when I reach for my iced tea.

The Lv2 has the same Achilles heel as all portables. As soon as it leaves the charger, the minutes count down until you have to recharge it. It's certainly greener to have rechargeable cells in the device, but there are moments you'll wish you had a couple of AAs to keep it going. The battery lasts up to eight hours on a four-hour charge. You can plug it in when near an outlet. The Bluetooth may come in handy for shop owners who want to put iTunes to work but don't want to run wires in the store. They'll get professional quality sound from iTunes during the day and can quickly unplug it for a beach day. But if you're going to be carrying it around (it weighs less than 10 ounces), you'll need to consider the weight and footprint of its charger as well. Source: soundmatters