"Fluance" isn't exactly a household name, but the online direct-to-consumer Canadian company has been a recent favorite of audio aficionados for serving up excellent performing speakers for modest prices. The Fi50 ($200) is the company's second wireless Bluetooth speaker and like its predecessor, the($150), it's one of the best sounding wireless speakers you can buy for the money with one caveat: it has to be plugged into a power outlet and doesn't run off an internal rechargeable battery. Call it a "luggable" more than a portable.
It looks similar to the Fi30, features the same medium-density fiberboard cabinet and comes in three different color options. But it's significantly bigger and heftier than the Fi30, weighing in at 13.4 pounds or 6.1 kg (the Fi30 weighs 8.3 pounds or 3.8 kg) and it doesn't have a handle, so it's a little cumbersome to move around from room to room.
This new model adds an LED display (the no-frills Fi30 had nothing), has a much larger, 40-watt amplifier, better drivers and tweeters and an equalizer that lets you adjust treble and bass via the touch controls on top of the speaker. Those touch controls also include volume up/down buttons but no pause/play button.
That LED display can be dimmed or even completely turned off so it doesn't bother you when you sleep. I like the look of the speaker, though its somewhat retro design may not appeal to everyone. The black ash version Fluance sent me to review wouldn't be my first color choice; I'd probably go for the white version with bamboo (there's also a black option with walnut trim).
On the back of the speaker you'll find an audio input for connecting non-Bluetooth devices, a USB input for charging smartphones and tablets, and a physical power switch. Although I was only mildly annoyed that I had to reach around to the back of the speaker to turn it on and off, others may find it more of a nuisance.
I'm more of a fan of rubber feet, but Fluance does include a set of screw-in metal cleats as a style element. You can opt to go with rubber pads instead, but the spikes will work well on softer surfaces.
It's worth mentioning that the speaker uses the older Bluetooth 2.1 standard (though I had no problem connecting) and offersstreaming for devices that support the feature. AptX is supposed to make Bluetooth audio sound better, although it's debatable how much of an impact it has on sound quality.