CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Aperion Aris review: Not yet a stream come true

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
MSRP: $499.99

The Good The Aperion Aris has excellent sound quality for a streaming speaker, and decent stereo separation. The speaker has a very intimate sound and is best suited to ensemble music or folk. Build quality is very good. The promise of an AirPlay option is a big plus.

The Bad The speaker's reliance on buggy Windows software is a problem, and for best performance you'll need to use the 3.5mm input. The Aris isn't as well-suited to background listening, losing some scale off-axis, and it isn't as accomplished when playing complex music like progressive rock or stirring classical. The price is a little high.

The Bottom Line The Aperion Aris is a high-performance streaming speaker with an intimate sound, but its reliance on Windows streaming is a low note.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

At its announcement in May 2012, the Aperion Aris was billed as the world's first wireless speaker for Windows. While there are dozens of Apple AirPlay speakers, and even an Android speaker or two, why has no one thought to make a Windows one? Apart from sounding unfashionable, play with the Aperion Aris for 5 minutes and you'll find out why.

The problems with the Aperion aren't exactly the fault of the speaker, as Windows' Play To feature is fairly unreliable, but it does make us pine for the Apple AirPlay option that's due for the Aris this spring. Sound quality is fairly good for a device of this type, and it can go plenty loud. If only it weren't so expensive.

Design and features
The chassis of the Aris is pretty distinctive, constructed from a single piece of brushed aluminum and sitting atop a red steel stand. The thin stand is removable if you don't like the look and the bottom of the unit has a rubberized surface you can use instead. On top you'll find volume controls and power; there is no remote.

The Aris features a total of six drivers -- two tweeters, two woofers, and two passive, rear-facing radiators -- and boasts an amplifier with a total power output of 100W (likely 50W per channel). While it lacks an EQ circuit it does come with three different sound modes: Natural, Bass Boost, and Enhanced Stereo.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At the rear of the unit you'll find a PC Card-like expansion port and a 3.5mm input. Included in the box is a compatible adapter that adds wireless connectivity (with WPS) and an Ethernet jack.

The rear of the unit features dual passive drivers. Sarah Tew/CNET

The manufacturer anticipates that the main use of this speaker will involve Windows Media Player's Play To feature, as used in Windows 7 and 8. Right-click on a file in Windows Media Player and choose Play To -> Aperion Aris and the sound will (theoretically) appear out of the Aris. The box is also DLNA-compatible, so you aren't limited to Windows, and there are numerous apps, including the official Aris app, available for iOS, Android, and Mac.

The Aris comes with a wireless card. Sarah Tew/CNET

The Aris Control app is available for iOS and Android and is designed to be used specifically with the Aris. Unfortunately, it didn't work as well as even Windows' Play To function (about which more shortly) and either refused to recognize the Aris player or failed to offer up a usable library from within my Android phone.

In the three years since Windows 7's Play To debuted with promises of effortless streaming, I can say there is not a day that I've found it could fulfill them. I've used a dozen different configurations of networks, PCs, and playback devices, and Play To has consistently proved buggy.

Compared with Sonos' system, Apple AirPlay, or even other implementations of DLNA, Windows Media Player didn't satisfy. It either couldn't find the player or the stream would stop and start more frequently than an NFL match. I was hopeful Microsoft had fixed the problems with Windows 8, but no, playing to the Aperion would stop after 30 seconds or simply say Device Disconnected and require a reboot.

Best Speakers for 2020

All best speakers
  • VIZIO SB3621N-E8

    The Vizio SB3621n-E8 is the best budget soundbar we've ever heard, period.

  • Q Acoustics 3020i

    Starting at: $267.74

    The Q Acoustics 3020i bookshelf speakers combine cutting-edge design with excellent sonics.

  • Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2

    Starting at: $349.98

    The Elac Debut B6.2 changes things up with a greater emphasis on build quality and sonic...

  • Sonos One

    Starting at: $197.96

    With great sound, a compact size and the option of either Google Assistant or Alexa, the...

  • ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

    Starting at: $579.98

    The ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 shattered our expectations for the sound quality we could expect from...

More Best Products

All best products