The Libratone ZIPP was one of my all-time favorite speakers. It looked great, sounded amazing, and let you customize the look with exchangeable covers. With portable AirPlay it was as close to the perfect speaker for an iOS-user as you could find. Now Libratone has rebooted the ZIPP and they are offering the smaller, and less expensive, Libratone ZIPP MINI.
The new Libratone line has a new look. It’s more curvy than before and has a zipper that runs around the circumference of the speaker, rather than running vertically as it did with the original. The ZIPP MINI has an MSRP of $249 and comes with a risk-free 30-day money back guarantee. And it is available in four different colors.
Here’s what Libratone has to say about their ZIPP MINI:
“Libratone ZIPP MINI combines exceptional sound quality with multi-room connectivity. Enjoy incredible room-filling sound anywhere around your home. Pair multiple ZIPP speakers together to create an immersive listening experience.”
The real story with the Libratone ZIPP MINI begins with the internals. And what’s inside the ZIPP MINI is nothing short of impressive. First, the ZIPP MINI has 2 3.5” low-frequency radiators, a 1” soft dome neodymium tweeter, a 3” neodymium woofer, and a 360-degree reflector. These are powered by full digital class D amplified adaptive DSP sound optimization with 60 watts of total power across 2 DSP amplified channels. That’s right, this little portable speaker serves up 60 watts of amazing sound!
The connectivity technology is also impressive. It has WiFi dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 aptx for enhanced Bluetooth streaming, AirPlay, DLNA, and Spotify Connect. AirPlay means you can easily stream directly from iOS devices. DLNA means you can stream directly from Android and Windows devices. And Spotify Connect means you can get an optimized stream of your favorites from Spotify. It also includes noise isolating microphones that connect using the Bluetooth onboard.
The speaker is 8.8” tall, 3.9” wide, and is weighs just 2.4lbs. The base and top of the speaker have a white satin surface.
It has a comfortable black handle for carrying or hanging the speaker and, of course, the replaceable Coolweave covers that give the speaker line its name. The speaker is designed to accept either 110 or 240V AC power and a rechargeable battery inside will provide up to 10 hours of play.
At the lower back of the speaker, there is a power button, the AC input, a 3.5mm audio in jack for creating a wired connection, and a USB port. The USB port is there for USB play-in and for USB charge-out so you can charge your phone on the go. Yes, this little speaker packs pretty much everything you would ever want into one small speaker!
In fact, there’s even more. The speaker’s shape means you get 360 degree sound. There’s no need to point the speaker in one direction or another. It always sounds great. If you like, however, you can link two speakers together and have a left and right channel for true stereo sound. And you can go even further by pairing up to 6 speakers per group and 8 groups on any given wireless network.
The round circle on the top of the speaker isn’t just decorative. No, this attractive circle also serves as the touch interface. This touch surface controls the volume, play, pause, and lets you skip forward and back.
It even has what the company is referring to as a “hush gesture detection” and the ability to select five programmable internet radio stations so you can get to your favorite music with just a touch.
Finally, there is the free, downloadable app. Available through both the iTunes App Store and the Google Plat Store, the app lets you control your music on the go and much more.
You can control “Voicing” by selecting from a different series of presets that tweak the equalization.
You can control the “Room Settings” by determining where the speaker will be placed and then selecting from one of a number of presets intended to optimize the speaker for that setting.
The app also lets you change the name of the speaker, tells you how much battery life is left, what network it is on, and the relative strength of the WiFi signal.
Seriously, with the reboot of the ZIPP Libratone threw in everything but the kitchen sink into this speaker, and in the process created the least expensive ZIPP yet. In fact, at $249 the ZIPP MINI is just $49 more than the SONOS PLAY:1. And while SONOS has thus far been the gold standard for multiroom speakers this little powerhouse brings some things to the table that the PLAY:1 can’t even begin to offer. For example, the PLAY:1 needs to be plugged into a power source. The ZIPP MINI gets up to 10 hours of play when away from a power source. SONOS uses WiFi or the Ethernet port to stream music. The ZIPP MINI uses WiFi for AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and Google Play. But it also has Bluetooth for Bluetooth streaming and has both a 3.5mm and USB port for direct music connections. The PLAY:1 comes in Black or White and will always be the color you buy.
The ZIPP MINI comes in a number of different colors and, for a small fee, you can change the color at will.
“LIBRATONE ZIPP MINI SPEAKER COVER: Our CoolWeave mesh fabric perfectly complements today’s distinctive home fashion trends. Available in a range of fresh fashion colors it conveys a cool, urban edge. The breezy mesh fabric and the unique diamond-shaped weave reflect light brilliantly and allow sound to penetrate it cleanly and beautifully.”
Yes, I thought the PLAY:1 was a winner when it first came out. In fact, I purchased a number of them and still use two of them as part of my surround sound system. After testing the ZIPP MINI, however, the PLAY:1 looks like a bit of an antique.
So let’s run down the features that make the Libratone ZIPP MINI an amazing speaker for just $249. (Hell, it would still be amazing at a significantly higher price point.)
WiFi + Bluetooth Connectivity: Use WiFi for longest range and highest music quality, or Bluetooth to stream from any device, anywhere.
Stream Anything: Stream any audio or video service like YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, and more.
360° FullRoom Sound: Unique acoustic technology sends sound waves in every direction through 5 internal speaker drivers.
Touch Controls: Control your music directly from the speaker with the intuitive touch interface.
Play to Multiple Speakers Simultaneously: Pair up to 6 speakers together in the same room or in multiple rooms
App Simplicity: Easily setup, combine, configure and control your ZIPPs with the easy to use Libratone App.
Spotify Connect: Play your Spotify music directly from ZIPP without needing your phone.
Portability: Easy to move around your home with a convenient carrying handle and up to 10 hours of battery life.
Internet Radio: Stream your favorite internet radio stations directly from the cloud to your ZIPP
Personalization: Change your cover in just seconds to match your mood or decor.
My bottom line: if you have $249 to spend on a new speaker this is currently the speaker to buy. There’s no debating that, not by a long shot. Check it out here!
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Everything; Speaker sounds great; Works on battery; Easily controlled and tweaked from the app; Changeable covers; Amazing array of connectivity options; Nice price, especially for what you get.
What Needs Improvement: If this speaker were waterproof or even water resistant it would be awesome.