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AQ Smart Speaker with Apple AirPlay
AQ Audio is a relatively new arrival to the consumer end of the audio world but boy has it made a good first impression.
Its debut in-house product, the AQ Smart Speaker with Apple AirPlay, is amongst the finest wireless speakers we've yet encountered, and here's why.
As with many high-end audio bits of kit, the AQ Smart Speaker with Apple AirPlay (okay, I'm dropping the Apple bit from now on) is seriously snazzy. The tapered triangular cone that forms its chassis is covered on the front by classic black speaker cloth (with hidden blue LED power indicator) and the back has a nice simple but attractive grey plastic finish, while bisecting the two is an aluminium strip. It looks great.
It's also well built with a solid feel to its plastics and a big thick rubber foot on its bottom, to keep it from slipping around.
Running along the top edge are power and volume controls while round the back is the charging socket, a USB socket for applying firmware updates, an auxiliary input and this speakers signature feature, its Left, Mono and Right switch.
Flick this switch from its normal Mono position and it will turn the speaker into a left or right channel speaker. Pair it with another AQ Smart Speaker set to the opposite side and you have yourself a pair of stereo wireless speakers. It's a really nifty trick and one that we can see appealing to many people, though of course you have to double your initial £219 investment to get this.
Otherwise the Smart Speaker is a typical AirPlay speaker in terms of how it functions - you set it up to talk to your Apple devices (easily done with the help of dedicated apps) then you can throw your digital music across the airwaves to the speaker over a range as long as your Wi-Fi.
The resultant sound quality is excellent with bag loads of detail and plenty of power too. Given its size it's no surprise it doesn't totally knock your socks of with volume but, for a battery powered unit that will keep going for up to 10 hours on AirPlay and up to 20 hours using a standard aux connection, it's mighty impressive.
Available imminently, we can't wait to get our hands on a sample for a thorough review.