Review Price £329.00
That said, while we were impressed with the Libratone Zipp's performance, it didn't quite add up to the sum of its parts. As mentioned bass performance is excellent and provides a warm, satisfying undercurrent particularly to bass heavy tracks, but it does so at the expense of the treble and a significant amount of detail is lost. This is less noticeable outside where sound quality is compromised anyway, but indoors it detracts from the Zipp's ability to be your main dock.
In addition for all its acoustic might, the Libratone Zipp isn't actually that loud. We suspect this is because Libratone has curtailed the maximum volume to avoid distortion and the Zipp is indeed distortion free, but it can be drowned out by the 15W, 424g Pasce Minirig which also offers far more detail. The Zipp has more bass than the Minirig, but the greater high frequency treble performance actually makes the Minirig carry further outdoors.
As for battery life the Libratone Zipp is good, but not great. Libratone quotes up to eight hours, but we found this was achievable only when connected via the 3.5mm jack. When connected via AirPlay we achieved just four hours – not enough for a full day out in the park – and we suspect this would drop further had we had it at maximum volume the entire time. In addition, while the Libratone Zipp has a battery indicator it shows just full charge with a green light and low battery (under 10 per cent charge) with a red light which isn't overly reassuring. By contrast the aforementioned Minirig lasts for up to 60 hours or nine hours at maximum volume with a graduated battery indicator, but it lacks any form of wireless connectivity.
All of which brings us back to the question we posed at the start of this review: is the Libratone Zipp worth £329. This is simultaneously an easy and difficult question to answer. On the one hand the Libratone Zipp is a beautifully styled portable speaker that can do just about everything and it has superb bass performance. In fact there is no portable speaker on the market that can currently match its functionality so if its needs match yours there is no other choice.
That said the Libratone Zipp isn't actually as loud as you would imagine, its battery life is mediocre and that powerful bass reproduction actually overwhelms a little too much of the detail in the high end. Furthermore for £329 you can buy a brilliant dedicated dock like the Monitor Audio i-deck 200 (now selling for a bonkers £150), buy a £90 Pasce Minirig for out and about and still pocket £90. In fact you can buy two Minirigs and pair them together for a bombastic listening experience wherever you are.
In many ways the Libratone Zipp is a triumph. Libratone has reinforced its superb design credentials with a beautifully styled product that combines AirPlay with lossless wireless audio on the move and its 2.1 driver arrangement is unique in a speaker of this size. Then again you are paying a huge premium for these achievements and arguably lossless audio isn't worth it for a speaker whose bass overwhelms detail in the higher frequencies, especially when it badly affects battery life. As such this potentially revolutionary product comes up a little short both at home and on the move. It's a flawed genius.
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