Even if you hate Apple prioducts, you have to admit that AirPlay is a pretty useful wireless streaming standard. The Swedish boffins at Libratone certainly do, having created this exotic speaker just for the AirPlay format.
Measuring in at a full metre wide and weighing 12 kilos, this speaker isn’t for the light hearted. It’s also not for anyone that doesn’t use Apple products – seriously, although there are apps on Android that will work on the AirPlay standard, the simple fact is that unless you use Apple products, you’ll probably get frustrated. The speaker does have a 3.5mm jack and an optical input for non-Airplay connections, but that’s kind of beside the whole point.
Admittedly, the speaker could make a good TV speaker for rooms without surround sound. There’s even some patented tech on board to make the sound fill the room. But it’s not surround sound, so isn’t quite as versatile as a dedicated soundbar or 5.1 speaker system. It does come with a wall mounting kit in the box, which is a nice addition for anyone wanting to use it as a TV speaker.
The good news for Apple users is that the Libratone Lounge unit is nice and easy to set up. With a WPS router, getting connected to your wireless network is simple, although you will definitely need to read the instructions to make it work. There’s only a single button on the speaker, which controls all functions depending on how many times and how long you press it. Kind of like morse code for Airplay connectivity, I guess.
Once connected, the speaker is an impressive beast. Audio quality is superb, even at maximum volumes. There’s no on board volume control though, which means adjusting the volume through your device. That’s not a deal breaker by any means, but sometimes it’s a lot more convenient to be able to adjust volume manually.
The design of the Lounge is perhaps its biggest selling point though. With a minimalist elegance and a cashmere wrap covering the speakers – which comes in a wide range of colours – the speaker can match pretty much any decor. The fact that the speaker sounds great helps as well.
But at $1,599, this massive speaker is appealing to a limited market. If you love your Apple ecosystem and want to enjoy the benefits of AirPlay, it’s worth the asking price, but otherwise it’s probably just an expensive ornament that you probably won’t use to its full potential.
Price: From $1,599
Nick Broughall is the Australian Editor of TechRadar.com, where he gets to indulge his passion for geekery and the lastest technology. He is also the Editor of EFTM.com.au, where he gets to indulge his passion for manliness, from sampling fine liquor to the joys of growing a beard. It’s a pretty good life, really.