The Libratone Zipp immediately gave me the warm and fuzzies, obviously attributed to its chic 100% wool cover exterior unlike anything out there. No getting around it, the Zipp is a touchy-feely device which proved to warm up curiosity amongst normally audio-tech uninterested parties, eliciting more than a few, "What is this?" Because, how many electronic devices come with different outfits? But the Zipp is more than good looks, it also proved to be the most simple to use Airplay device I've tested, plug and play personified in a cylindrical form...
- Input Type: 3.5mm Stereo Jack,USB
- Power Source: AC,Battery Power (8 hours wired or up to 4 hours wirelessly per charge)
- Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
- Drivers: One 4-inch bass and two 1-inch ribbon based tweeters
- Frequency Response: 60-20,000Hz
- Full Digital Amplification 2.1 Stereo system with FullRoom DSP optimization
- 60W total
- 110-230V AC wall charger
- 10.2" x 4.8"
The Zipp's coolest feature: PlayDirect. It's an option most buyers will only appreciate once owning/using, but after trying it it's now difficult to accept other Airplay devices don't offer the same freedom from being tied to a computer network. Essentially the feature creates its own Wi-Fi network for AirPlay purposes, which means there's a layer of setup removed: you don't need a computer wi-fi network to use Airplay! Turn on your iOS device (or Mac computer) and just choose the Zipp as your Airplay device and listen away (a straight up Airplay interface is also an option).
Undress the Zipp of its bright wool coat and you realize the speaker isn't just fine looks, it's armed with an active bass driver and 60 watt amp underneath, setting it apart from other tinny-sounding portable Airplay rivals, and capable of a full-throated sound with a very modest footprint.
The Zipp's 360-degree design results in widest placement versatility we've tested when measuring performance with placement. Put it in the middle of the room, put it in the corner, place it on the floor...the Zipp is a remarkably full voiced single source performer which surprises even when pushed, only distorting at the most upper volume range.
Ideally, the Zipp is used as a secondary Airplay device to accompany a laptop's main desktop speakers (for example, when wanting to extend the audio range across the living room into a dining room our onto the patio). But even alone, the Zipp is more than capable of filling a small to medium size room with satisfying sounds inching towards the boundaries of bookshelf systems thanks to a well balanced range of audio put out (the active 4-inch bass and two 1-inch ribbon based tweeters are particularly suited for bass-centric music). Vocal performance is distincly clear, supported by a foundation of depth on the bass end.
The only knock against the Libratone Zipp is the price. At nearly $400, it's a splurge purchase even if its marked as the sole audio device in the house. But considering the Scandinavian design hits all the marks by appealing to the eyes, satisfying the ears, and operating as simply as any wireless device in the market (not to mention the option to change the speaker's "outfits"), the Libratone Zipp is a splurge worth making for anyone looking for their first Airplay device with every sense in consideration, especially well appointed for small space dwellers with penchant for high design.
Pros: Playful yet extremely tasteful design, small footprint allows a wide amount of placement options, the modest size hides a full bodied sound working both as a primary audio source and even better as a complementary Airplay source, setup is practically fool proof.
Cons: At 4 lbs the Zipp is portable but a little hefty, expensive and additional wool sleeves are another $50 (wish each color was an option instead of additional purchase).
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.