If you're in the market for a portable Bluetooth speaker that's a little bit different — something very much unlike what everybody else has — I highly recommend you check out the Polaroid P3. I've been listening to it for the past several weeks, and I've grown quite attached to it. It's just so damn charming.
Polaroid P3 Music Player Read More
You might be wondering, Wait, Polaroid makes speakers now? Yup. The company synonymous with instant film cameras released its audio products at the tail end of 2022, consisting of four portable Bluetooth speakers: the P1 ($60), P2 ($130), P3 ($190) and P4 ($290).
While all the speakers are colorful and little bit quirky, the P3 is poised to be the most popular (in my opinion). It has a unique boombox-like design, and at less than $200, it's not terribly expensive.
The Polaroid P3 doesn't look like your average portable speaker.
The coolest thing about the Polaroid P3 is also the most obvious thing about it; it looks like a little boombox. It has retro flair and modern pop, thanks to its colorful design.
There's plenty of fun details to be found, too. In the middle of the speaker, for example, there's a circular LED display that's quirky more than functional, but it still does manage to be helpful: it can quickly tell you the name of the song playing, show you the remaining battery life of the speaker...and show a dancing graphic that wiggles with the music.
This speaker wants to be carried and touched.
The Polaroid P3 has a big metal bar that makes it easy to carry around your house or elsewhere — and makes you feel oddly compelled to grab it whenever you're listening to it. Plus, there are several playback buttons on top of the speaker, including a really tactile and satisfying analog dial for volume control. It's a speaker that encourages you to interact with it.
The P3 works like any other Bluetooth speaker.
Despite the flamboyant design, the Polaroid P3 works just like any other portable Bluetooth speaker — it's super easy to use. There are power and pairing buttons on top of the speaker, as well as several buttons for playback controls. Basically, once you start playing the music, you can control everything directly on the speaker without having to touch your iPhone again.
The Polaroid P3 does offer a companion app called the Polaroid Music App, but there's no obligation or pressure to use it — and I honestly don't think there's any reason to do so. The app basically just curates playlists for you, but that's not anything different from what Spotify or Apple Music can do.
The speaker is very well built.
The Polaroid P3 isn't dinky; it's substantial. It's made of a combination of metal and hard plastic, and weighs just under 3.5 pounds. When I carry around the house, from room to room, I'm always a little taken back at how dense it feels. It's nice.
The review unit that I've been testing is (obviously) red, but you can get the P3 in several different fun colors, including blue, yellow, gray or black. I probably would've preferred the black option, but you choose a color with a little more pop if you like.
That said, it's not a 360-degree speaker.
As was true with traditional boomboxes, the Polaroid P3 is very much a front-firing speaker system. This means that the P3 speaker needs to be playing directly in front of you for it to sound best. It's noteworthy because a lot of popular portable speakers, like the UE Boom 3 or Sony SRS-XB23, that play more omni-directional (or even true 360-degree) sound.
Despite the way it looks, the Polaroid P3 is a mono-speaker and can't play true stereo sound on its own. However, as is true with a lot of other wireless speakers these days, you can pair the P3 with another P3 and configure them in a stereo pair.
Polaroid P3 Speaker: The Verdict
The Polaroid P3 is a solid portable Bluetooth speaker that I've enjoyed listening to and carrying around my house for the past few weeks. It's sounds good, but it needs to be facing you. It feels substantial and dense, not like a lot of other cheap portable Bluetooth speakers that are mostly made of lightweight plastic. And at $190, it's a little expensive but not crazy expensive.
The kicker is, that well, the Polaroid looks like nothing else. And that, ultimately, is why I've been so enamored with it.