Airpulse P100X Review
A good-looking retro speaker that comes a at a high price
The Airpulse P100X is a solid speaker system with plenty going for it. Sporting good looks that will fit into almost any setup, a focus on solid treble performance and strong Bluetooth connectivity, the P100X proves itself to be quite versatile. But with limited connectivity, no smart features and a high price point, it isn’t quite worthy of an instant recommendation.
- Solid, fashionable design
- Strong performance in trebles
- Offers aptX HD
- Middling bass performance
- Only RCA input
- No smart features
- UKRRP: £499.99
- aptX HD BluetoothCan listen to higher quality tracks over Bluetooth
If you’re known for delivering products that deliver great performance for budget prices, it’s unfortunately often the latter trait for which your brand is likely to become known. This is a challenge faced by manufacturers the world over, overcoming the perceived stigma of being “cheap” in order to sell premium products for premium prices.
Edifier is one such company, attempting once again to shed old preconceptions and carve out a space for itself at the high end of the bookshelf speaker space, this time with the Airpulse P100X.
Constructed from MDF, sporting a snazzy design, two tweeters, Bluetooth 5.0 support and a long-throw mid-woofer with an aluminium diaphragm, it certainly has both the looks and features to fit in with a fancy crowd. But, as ever, the proof is in the pudding: does the execution here warrant your hard-earned cash?
- Constructed from MDF
- Cloth covered grill
- Four physical switches
It’s no easy task to design a high-end device, no matter the product category. Any design needs to be distinctive enough to stand out, but not so much so as to appear gaudy. Sufficient features need to be included to keep up with the competition, but they need to be pulled off with enough panache that they never become issues in of themselves. Lastly, and especially when it comes to speakers, they need to feel built to last for years.
On this last point in particular, the Airpulse P100X succeeds with aplomb. Taken as a whole, the device has the look of a 1940’s wireless, with rounded corners, physical dials, a cloth frontage and burnished brown tones. Importantly, being constructed from MDF it feels solid enough to take any knocks life might offer, aside from a fall to the ground.
This is a design that will also fit in well with any setup with which it might be paired, whether that be in a modern living room, as a gift to an older relative or to a teenager; there’s no specific target audience in mind. That versatility alone earns it major kudos, while the fact that the device is a single unit means that cable management is simpler – although there isn’t as much potential for stereo imaging at play as a consequence.
- Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD
- RCA input offered
- 4.5 inch long throw mid-woofer inside
Beyond the issue of design, the question of features comes to the fore. Right off the bat, the inclusion of Bluetooth 5.0 is welcome. At a time when many devices languish on 4.2, it’s hardly a given that the newest standards will be supported.
What this means beyond improved stability and range for the P100X when paired to the likes of a smartphone is a little more longevity as standards continue to evolve in the future. While it would have been nice to see the likes of a multi-point connection (being able to be connected to more than one device at a time), I found no issues with performance in this area.
With regards to different Bluetooth codecs, only aptX HD from Qualcomm is listed as being formally supported. For some Android smartphone owners this will be a welcome inclusion, since it allows a higher resolution in supported tracks – although any difference may be negligible.
Unfortunately, from a connectivity perspective, the P100X is a little lacking overall. With only a single input on the rear (RCA), the device is somewhat limited for versatility.
- Treble-focused sound
- Good for classical music
- Bass lacks energy
Looks and features aside, a speaker system is only as good as its sound quality, and on this front the Airpulse P100X certainly seems to have the goods to deliver.
It comes with two 10W tweeters and a 40W long-throw mid-woofer for a total output of 60W – which, given the size of the unit, offers plenty of potential for good performance. And when it comes to certain genres, it’s a solid overall performer.
This is a speaker system that heavily favours trebles, sometimes at the expense of bass performance. Pop and classical music sound clear and concise, with good separation and pleasant energy, while audiobooks are a particular treat.
Things fall down when it comes to those genres more heavily reliant on driving bass; punk, electro and dance in particular aren’t served very well. Although there’s warmth and some punch, it isn’t quite as competitive an offering for the price point as some others are able to deliver.
In all, the Airpulse P100X is versatile speaker with some clear limitations when it comes to its sound quality.
Should you buy it?
You’re looking for a fashionable speaker If you like your audio products to stand out, the Airpulse P100X speaker certainly does that with evocation of 40s style.
You listen mainly to bass-heavy genres This is a speaker that favours the top-end over the low-end – you won’t find much depth or punch here.
The Airpulse P100X is an interesting speaker that has some definite strengths. It has a design straight out of a 1940s shopping catalogue, oozing a retro charm that will allow it to fit into nearly any living room set-up with ease; even as a centre-piece. With solid construction to match its good looks, it feels likely to last for years.
However, it begins to disappoint for features and overall sound quality. Offering only a RCA input harms its appeal as a generalist option, while its treble-focused sound means that fans of certain genres might be best to look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a handsome speaker to complement your new living room, and aren’t too fussed about having the very best in sound quality, the Airpulse P100X is for you. Should you care less about looks, however, it would be best to look elsewhere.
How we test
We test every wireless speaker we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested for a month
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There’s no mobile app to connect the P100X but there is a wireless remote control for switching between apps.