Product: Stelle Audio Pillar
There is no shortage of bluetooth speakers available right now, so the ones that stand out have to have a little something extra. That could be more features, a fantastic design aesthetic, or incredible sound quality at a reasonable price. The Stelle Audio Pillar easily meets two out of these three.
The major selling point of the Stelle is easily the design. Its long, sleek shape not only creates a full-bodied sound, but it's incredibly slick and looks at home in the office, living room and even the kitchen, which is where I'd recommend using it.
For people who love the idea of creating a wonderful entertaining environment in their kitchen and dining room, the Stelle Pillar, especially in the brushed varieties, is a smart pick. It fits in seamlessly with stainless steel appliances and if placed in the right location, it can fill two rooms with quality sound. If you've got an open floor plan between your kitchen and eating areas, then the Stelle is worth a look alone because it's one-sixteenth of the price of a sound system wired into your home.
In our tests, we tried working it into the decor in the dining room in hopes that guests wouldn't be able to pick out where the audio was coming from. Think of it as a "hiding in plain sight" audio solution for entertaining. Sure, if you walk right up to it, you'll be able to figure out where the sound is coming from, but the tube shape means the sound disperses somewhat evenly if placed in the right location.
The Stelle comes in a wide variety of simple metals that are brushed, polished and matte. The Dwell Studio collaborations are gorgeous and add a nice bit of pattern to the pillar shape, but will cost you an additional $50.
Beyond the design bonus, in our tests we found the conference phone function was a wise add-on functionality for Stelle. Pairing it with your computer is simple, so it can be used for Skype and Google Hangouts easily, as long as you pair it as a headset instead of an audio device. Similarly, you can pair it with your mobile device to create a headset pairing for standard phone calls too. The sound is far better than speaker phone and the quality on the other end is quite surprising as well. The tube design means that the person on the other end is more likely to get a full bodied voice back at them because you don't have to yell directly into the receiver.
From an audio perspective, it does put out a really satisfying, consistent sound with very little distortion. It definitely meets quality expectations for $299, but audio snobs will probably never be satisfied with a Bluetooth speaker solution.
Ultimately, the Stelle is ideal for people who love sleek, modern designs in their speakers. Specifically, if you want an audio solution that people could honestly mistake for a sculpture, than this is a smart pick. Beyond that, it gets bonus points for having one of the better speaker phone functions I've come across in a while.
Pros: The design is one of the most chic available and works in a variety of settings without screaming, "I'm a speaker!" The call feature is really well-executed and produces high quality audio on the caller and receiver's end.
Cons: It's on the high end of bluetooth speaker prices. The awesome collaboration with Dwell Studio costs an additional $50.
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.