Are you into all the wireless craziness that is going on? Wondering which is the wireless speaker for you? With wireless technology becoming the norm; there are many speakers coming out for different purposes. There are small portable ones; medium-sized ones to fit a room and all size in between. So how can you pick from all of these speakers. I will be reviewing the Libratone Zipp.
In case you haven’t heard of Apple Airplay; it’s a feature on the newer apple products (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBook, iMac, and Apple TV) that allow you to stream content wirelessly to other Airplay devices.
The Libratone Zipp is a Bluetooth speaker for Airplay sharing. The growing Danish company has brought their talents overseas for use with the latest apple products. What does Libratone have to offer?
Libratone Zipp – Style
Let’s start with the design. From the first look; I was immediately attracted to the Zipp. It was a minimalist yet bright design. It’s very eye-catching. It can be placed/stored anywhere without clashing. The Zipp comes with a standard black Italian Wool cover. The Wool cover is zipped; hence the name Zipp. You can purchase more covers in different colors for $49.99 a piece. The design is easy on the eyes and can pretty much go with anything. It has a leather carrying strap which also serves as a port cover sort of. Nice and sturdy; it can lift the somewhat heavy speaker.
The Zipp has a cylindrical shape. Measuring 10.2 inches tall and a diameter of 4.8 inches; making the Zipp fairly portable. It doesn’t fit in your pocket or anything like that. The top of the Zip has a button that resembles the iPod Classic’s click wheel. With the logo (bird) in the center. Pressing the center of the button turns on the speaker. Then you have your usual controls and a LED status indicator. The indicator stays on when playing music, and blinks when on standby.
Down the side of the speaker are the other inputs and buttons. They can be hidden and uncovered by the leather strap. There is a battery status indicator, PlayDirect button, Airplay setup button, USB port, 3.5 mm auxiliary cable input.
Libratone Zipp – Features
If you haven’t heard of the Libratone Zipp; one of the features that people mostly love/hate about it is the PlayDirect feature. What is PlayDirect? It’s a sort of wireless connection between he Libratone Zipp and your iDevice. It’s basically AirPlay on the go. This allows you to stream music from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch without wireless connection. Pretty awesome right? That has to be one of the main selling points of this speaker.
What’s the good and bad of the Zipp’s PlayDirect feature? The good is that you don’t need a wireless connection to play music. When you are on Wi-Fi the speaker can go farther than regular bluetooth speakers. The bad is that you can’t access the internet; the entire time you’re synced to the Zipp. That means you can’t use streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, etc.
There are various ways to set up. I heard direct USB setup was easier; so I did that. Airplay setup was painless! When I say painless; I mean that I wish all other setups were this easy. I connected my phone to the speaker; held down the PlayDirect button. When the alert of sharing the Wi-Fi connection came on the screen; I accepted and BOOM; my speaker restarted and was ready to work.
The Zipp has a 4 inch bass driver which gives it the noticeable difference against other speakers. The rich sound provided by the Zipp is somewhat unbelievable. You can’t believe it’s coming from a speaker that size; but the weight of it lets you there are heavy-duty components inside. Along with the bass driver; the Zipp has 2 one-inch ribbon based tweeters. The tweeters helped for a balanced sound with the bass. The rich sound filled up my room without distortion. The music is enjoyable and it doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a portable speaker. It’s more like a mid-range home theater system.
With the Libratone iOS app you can see the battery status of your speaker. Not only that; you can optimize the sound with genre settings. It also has settings for the placement of the speaker to ensure optimal sound and coverage.
Battery life was great. It lasted me just about 4 hours. That is plenty of time for such a powerful speaker.
To Zipp Up or Not?
I enjoyed the Zipp speaker. Although it is portable; I won’t be moving it around too much. It is great for those backyard hangouts, BBQ’s, Picnics and beach days. The size definitely does not sacrifice the sound. The syncing and PlayDirect features are also major pluses. Are you willing to cough up $399 for this speaker? I’ll tell you one thing; you’re definitely getting what you pay for! If you’re skeptical about the Libratone Zipp; it has won awards such as the CES Innovations 2013 Designs and Engineering Awards Honoree. It is sold at apple stores across the country.
This speaker is specifically for those who have a Mac/iOS ecosystem going. The lack of bluetooth capabilities would make it useless for those that own Android devices and Windows Phone. I fell in love with its range and rich sound. Even though it’s quite an investment; it might be a worthy investment to your Mac ecosystem.