There are wireless speakers and there are wireless speakers. At the cheap end of the range you will find the tinny plastic sounding units with very little to offer most people, while at the top end, the expensive products will tear a large hole in your wallet. But what about the middle of the pack, where decent quality meets a reasonable price?
The SmartSpeaker by AQ Audio offers a few features that many wireless speakers lack – one, the ability to link two speakers together for stereo sound. By pairing two AQ Audio SmartSpeakers together you can create stereo sound that actually has acoustic separation. The speaker is also perfect for multi-room needs, because instead of using Bluetooth, it relies on your router to distribute the wireless sound.
This use of AirPlay (or an “AirPlay” compatible Android app) instead of Bluetooth for wireless capability has both its advantages and disadvantages in terms of performance.
* Better range – while Bluetooth wireless is typically is limited to about 10m (33ft), this wireless speaker in only limited by the range of your router.
* The ability to easily switch between any Air Play device set-up on your router network.
* The sound over routers/WiFi (or maybe it is just MY routers) seems to be more prone to drops or skipping.
* Less convenient for travel – when traveling you will have to go back through the set-up to re-pair (not repair!) the speaker and your music source to the router/WiFi source.
* Set-up – it is pretty easy for both. If it takes you longer than 1 minute to set-up an Air Play or Bluetooth speaker… something is wrong.
See the video below for my hands-on review.
* Sound Performance – Clean sound but it lacks bass, and therefore, overall depth. The AQ SmartSpeaker seems to a little mid-range heavy.
* Sound Volume – Offers 24 Watts of power, but honestly it seems less than that. I am not sure if you lose efficiency when using Air Play, but I have 6 Watt speakers that sound louder. Overall, it is certainly loud enough, but I was expecting something louder.
* Rechargeable – offers 10 hours of battery life, although expect less if you are playing at higher volumes.
* The cool feature is that using iTunes you can pair two AQ SmartSpeakers together and have stereo sound.
* Nice clean look. At the end of the day, my wife dictates which speakers I am allowed to use in our home. Speakers that blend into the decor are favored, and my wife LOVES the AQ SmartSpeaker. They blend in perfectly with our home’s decor.
The AQ SmartSpeaker remind me of nice computer speakers minus the sub-woofer. I love the fact that they can be set-up in a variety of places around a home and turned on when needed. I do wish that they had more bass, and would be especially pleased if they developed a wireless sub-woofer that could be blended into the system. Call me a dreamer!