CNET First Look
Libratone Zipp: Portable AirPlay speaker plays bigThe pricey Libratone Zipp offers a new way to stream music via AirPlay. Design and sound quality are great, but there are some notable caveats.
I'm David Carnoy, Executive for CNET.com, and I'm here with the Libratone Zipp. This is portable AirPlay speaker and as you can see, it has a very eye-catching modern design. It looks like a cylinder, a canister, whatever you wanna call it. It has this little carrying strap on the side which makes it easy to carry around. What's really cool about it is that you can connect directly from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad directly to this device via AirPlay. With most other AirPlay speakers, you have to go through a WiFi network, but this one connects really like a Bluetooth speaker, but because it's AirPlay, it actually sounds better than Bluetooth and this speaker sounds really good for a compact speaker. What's interesting about it is that you can place it wherever you want obviously. It can go on the floor, it can go on a table, and it sounds very different depending on where you place it. There's also a iPhone app that allows you tweak the sound a little bit depending on where you place the device. The other interesting feature is that this has a removable cover to it. You can buy this in a couple different versions. The base model, this gray model here is $400, that is quite a bit of money but there's also $450 package which comes with two extra covers. Normally the covers are $50, so you'd get a little bit better value by buying those extra covers. There are really only a few buttons on the device. The main power button is on the top, you simply press that to put it in wireless mode, also volume controls on the top. You can also use the speaker in a wired mode. You can connect the cable and connect an audio device to the speaker. That does improve battery life, the battery life is about 8 hours if you are using it in wired mode but if you put it into wireless mode and use it as an AirPlay speaker, it only gives you about 4 hours. You can also plug the speaker into the wall, it comes with an AC adapter and that's how you charge it. A lot of people will use this in their homes as kind of a little show piece but you can also take it on the road, take it outside, take it from room to room. Now, there are other premium wireless speakers, you have the Jawbone big JAMBOX for instance that has a built-in speaker phone. Then you have the Bose SoundLink Wireless II that's also a portable Bluetooth speaker and it's a little bit more durable than this one. But if you're an owner of an iOS device and you're looking to use this more at home than on the road, I would say this is the better choice, though it is pretty pricey at $400, it does sound better than the competition and it does look a little better. I'm David Carnoy, and that's the Libratone Zipp. Thanks for watching.