Available from… • http://www.apple.com/uk
Learn more… • www.libratone.com
The Libratone Zipp pops out of the box in an arresting fashion, looking like a cross between a homemade explosive device and a fur hand muffler. The functional hand strap also doubles to protect the buttons when moved down, and the felt cover is interchangeable, should you feel like a change of colour – it comes with three out of the box.
The Zipp is actually quite weighty at nearly two kilos, but if we’re honest, it’s not so heavy that it has any effect on its portability in the slightest. Tech spec-wise, it has USB, AirPlay and 3.5mm jack connectivity. On a full charge it will work unplugged for four hours wirelessly and eight hours through a cable, and it belts out 60w of sound.
Once the device is set up, it has quite a tasty response – a well-rounded sound when using a flat EQ, and it doesn’t fall into the trap that so many other portable speakers do, which is to try and amp up the bass at the expense of everything else. It’s certainly loud enough, though not so much that you could use it to replace monitor speakers for heavy-duty usage. But it’s in the AirPlay functionality where the speaker really excels
With direct play you can hook up with any AirPlay- ready device instantly. There’s a companion app available that you’ll need to permanently pair to the speaker, and to get it connected via AirPort on your Mac, it’s not much more complicated, although you do have to be patient as the speaker goes into setup mode. There is also the option to connect via USB and with a Mac, which is a little easier for those that prefer the wired approach.
The Zipp’s aim seems to be a multi-use speaker that you can hook up to all your devices and have the added bonus of portability. It does all these and does them well enough, but with such a high price we can’t help but feel that other items on the market are worthier of your investment.