Libratone Zipp review: PlayDirect AirPlay takes on Bluetooth speakers
7 January 2014
Summary: Libratone isn't a household name yet, but the 30-person Danish company with its roots in acclaimed Steinway Lyngdorf audio is hoping to change the face of portable speakers, literally. Having grown from just ten employees at the introduction of its cashmere-adorned Lounge and Live AirPlay speakers in 2011, the company is back with a new Zipp portable speaker, targeting a well-heeled market segment now dominated by the likes of Bose and Jawbone.
Pros: Sounds terrific, easily fills a room, PlayDirect makes AirPlay truly portable for iOS and Mac users, Looks great, can change appearance with optional sleeves, Leather strap is a helpful / quirky addition, PlayDirect Wi-Fi has better range than Bluetooth
Cons: Expensive speaker, expensive sleeves, No Bluetooth so no wireless support for Windows or Android, PlayDirect interrupts 3G data unless manually configured, PlayDirect can be finicky, requiring reboot
Excerpt: Aside from being one of the boldest standalone speakers I’ve yet to lay my tech-nerd eyes on, Libratone Zipp supplies some truly desirable sound. Combining equal parts: chic Scandinavian minimalism, unique wireless streaming technology and Libratone’s patent-pending sound experience, this frizzy, cylindrical device is both aesthetically and audibly pleasing.
Conclusion: The wireless Libratone Zipp is portable, ultra-stylish, and a solid audio performer at moderate volumes, but its signal processing will be a turn-off for some.
Pros: Portable, wireless audio via Apple Airplay. Innovative PlayDirect feature allows for wireless audio without a Wi-Fi network. Quality audio performance at moderate-to-high levels. Does not distort on deep bass tracks. Simple set up process.
Cons: Not for bass lovers, nor purists opposed to digital signal processing. Shape of speaker prohibits strong stereo image.
Review: Libratone Zipp is the portable AirPlay speaker to beat
26 October 2012
Conclusion: Though it’s 1.3 pounds heavier, the Zipp feels about as portable as the big-but-totable Big Jambox (4.5 out of 5 rating). And as great as the Big Jambox sounds, the Zipp sounds even better. With its clever AirPlay and PlayDirect implementations, its simple setup process, and its attractive design, the Zipp is an easy speaker to recommend. If you want a portable AirPlay speaker, it’s an excellent option—as long as the price isn't too steep for your needs.
Summary: It’s furry! It’s cylindrical! It’s available in a variety of bright colours! Yep, it’s clear from the off that the Libratone Zipp is a bit of an attention-seeker. That shape isn’t simple affectation, though. Instead it’s designed to deliver 360-degree sound – or ‘FullRoom’, as Libratone calls it – and that means it should be happy anywhere in your gaff.
Excerpt: The more Apple fiddles around with its dock connector, the less iOS speaker manufacturers seem to care. The proof of the pudding is that there are far fewer dock-based audio systems sent our way compared to the enormous wave of Lightning-agnostic wireless speaker systems. That doesn’t mean that the likes of this Libratone Zipp here aren’t interested in the iFamily. On the contrary, they’ve just realised that AirPlay is a safer way to go.
Pros: Great looks, very easy to use, decent battery. The fact that it can create its own wireless network for playback is an excellent touch.
Cons: Audio quality is average to good, but should really be good to very good at this price.
Excerpt: Libratone is a relatively new company, and this is the third speaker that we’ve seen from it. While both the Beat and the Live were qualified successes, they couldn’t quite justify their premium price tags with their sound quality. The Zipp aims to change that.
Pros: High build quality, Wi-Fi Direct, Agile, punchy sound, Good detail
Cons: Battery could last longer, Sound not particularly weighty
Conclusion: In many ways the Libratone Zipp is a triumph. Libratone has reinforced its superb design credentials with a beautifully styled product that combines AirPlay with lossless wireless audio on the move and its 2.1 driver arrangement is unique in a speaker of this size. Then again you are paying a huge premium for these achievements and arguably lossless audio isn't worth it for a speaker whose bass overwhelms detail in the higher frequencies, especially when it badly affects...
Pros: Lossless audio on the move, Stylish, customisable design, AirPlay
Cons: Short battery life over WiFi, Bass overwhelms treble, Extremely expensive
Excerpt: Libratone's Zipp is another entry in the continually expanding market of colorful and unusually shaped wireless, portable speakers. However, while most of those speakers use Bluetooth, the Zipp uses Apple's AirPlay technology; and instead of being a short, wide speaker system, the Zipp is a tall cylinder. See all audio reviews .
Excerpt: Libratone's Zipp is another entry in the continually expanding market of colorful and unusually shaped wireless, portable speakers. However, while most of those speakers use Bluetooth, the Zipp uses Apple's AirPlay technology ; and instead of being a short, wide speaker system, the Zipp is a tall cylinder.