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Hands-on with the Samsung Shape M7 and Hub (photos)

Samsung is introducing the new Shape wireless audio platform, including the $400 M7 speaker, which supports Bluetooth, NFC, and dual-band Wi-Fi.

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Matthew Moskovciak

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1 of 24 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Shape Wireless Multiroom audio system

Samsung is the latest company to try its hand at the wireless audio market, with the newly announced Shape wireless audio platform. The system consists of two products, the M7 speaker and the Hub, which Samsung demoed at a private press event in New York.

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M7 speaker

The M7 speaker ($399) has a sleek, wedgelike shape, with a textured speaker grille and a plastic cabinet that's available in either a white or black finish.
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M7 speaker

The speaker can be positioned horizontally or vertically using the included stand and in the vertical position you can pair two M7 speakers to act as a stereo pair.
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M7 speaker

It's a good-looking speaker, although the cabinet doesn't have quite the same high-end feel that Sonos' speakers have.
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M7 speaker

Each speaker has touch-sensitive controls on the top.
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Corner placement

The M7 speakers can also be placed in a corner using an optional bracket.
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Optional bracket

Here's the bracket.
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Samsung Hub (left)

For multiroom setups, the Hub ($49) is required. It's a small black box that you connect to your router.
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Samsung Hub (back)

Setting up the Hub and several M7 speakers is done using the Shape smartphone app, and in the demo it didn't take more than a few minutes to get up and running.
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NFC pairing

Each speaker supports Bluetooth, NFC, and dual-band Wi-Fi, and with a single-speaker system, you connect directly to the speaker over Wi-Fi using your smartphone.
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Ethernet, USB too

There's also an Ethernet port on the back of each speaker for making a direct, wired connection. Note that while there is a USB port on the back, it's only used for firmware updates, so you can't directly connect a USB hard drive full of music.
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Smartphone app

The Shape app is available for both iOS and Android.
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Smartphone app

The app lets you sync music in multiple rooms or play different music in each room.
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Smartphone app

The app looked simple to use during the demo, although visually it lacked some of the polish of Sonos' apps, such as integrated cover art, which I was told will be available on the official app.
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Smartphone app

You can also connect directly to speakers using Bluetooth.
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Limited app support

At launch, the Shape app supports only a handful of streaming audio services: Amazon Cloud Player, Pandora, TuneIn Radio, and Rhapsody.
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Smartphone app

Volume for each room is independently adjustable.
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Renameable speaker

Each speaker can be renamed inside the app.
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EQ settings

EQ settings for each speaker are also adjustable via the app.
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Pick your connection type

The smartphone app lets you pick the connection type for each speaker.
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SoundShare-compatible

The M7 speakers have one more trick up their sleeve, which is support for Samsung's SoundShare feature. It only works with compatible Samsung TVs, but SoundShare lets you wirelessly (via Bluetooth) use the M7 as a speaker for your TV. It's a neat feature and gets rid of one more pesky wire in your TV cabinet.
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Also available in black

The M7 speakers are available in either a white or black finish.
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M7 speaker (black)

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M7 speaker (black)

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