Fender rocks into the Bluetooth speaker game
It takes something special to stand out in the completely saturated Bluetooth speaker market these days, like say, taking the shape of a humanoid robot or a dining table. Then again, you could bear the name of an iconic instrument maker, like the very first set of Bluetooth speakers from Fender.
Both speakers promise Fender's "signature sound" and are inspired by the company's classic guitar amps, with a protective grille and amp-like control knobs on top. They hook up to Bluetooth devices within a range of 33 ft (10 m), feature a built-in microphone for phone calls and come with support for AAC music files and aptX technology.
The Monterey is aimed at audiophiles and is the bigger of the two speakers, packing two woofers, two tweeters and a quad driver system into its heftier body. It also offers a standard 3.5 mm aux input and two RCA jacks so you'll have options when hooking up your music, but is the less portable of the two as it requires power from a wall outlet.
The Newport on the other hand, is designed to be taken with you and is powered by a battery for a claimed 12 hours of use. Inside are two full-range drivers matched to a tweeter channeling 30 W, along with a USB port to charge mobile devices.
The Monterey is priced at US$350 and the Newport at $200, so they are certainly far from the cheapest Bluetooth speakers you'll find. The Monterey calls to mind Marshall's Woburn unit but has a rated output of 120 W and is quite a bit cheaper. Meanwhile, the Newport is comparable with the Marshall Stockwell portable speaker.
However, if you're not too bothered about the rock 'n' roll aesthetic, Amazon's Echo speaker is the least expensive of all those here, and brings Alexa smarts to the party.