(Pocket-lint) - It's not an easy task, picking out speakers nowadays. The market's flooded, and there are a plethora of high-quality options every way you turn. On the bleeding edge, adaptability is increasingly looking like the newest battleground – speakers that tick more than one box.
Libratone is at the forefront of this change, and its ZIPP 2 smart speaker is the perfect example of how home speakers are evolving. This isn't just a living-room smart speaker with Wi-Fi, nor is it simply a portable option. It's nestled comfortably in between, reaping the best of both worlds.
We thought it would be useful to examine quite what this means, and to talk through some of the reasons why portable home speakers are looking more and more like the best type of smart speaker to pick up right now.
There's no downside to portability
Gone are the days where a portable speaker meant tinny playback in the park, or distorted bass in the garden. The ZIPP 2 is part of the new wave of speakers that sound phenomenal whether you're in your living room or out and about.
The ZIPP 2 was designed with both sorts of use fully in mind, meaning that you can count on it to produce the goods in both situations and more besides. You’re getting a full 12 hours of portable use with the ZIPP 2 for playback on the go - the speaker’s carrying handle isn’t just for show. Hang it up, place it somewhere, or carry it with you; the possibilities are pretty near endless. And if you're travelling the company also sell the compact and bijou ZIPP MINI 2.
Plus, with a striking design and the statement zip that gives it its name, you'll also have your hands on a conversation piece whether as part of your home decor or outdoors. And if grey isn't your colour then you can always dress it up to stand out for a conversation starter at parties or tone it done to blend in with your home décor with its optional swapable covers.
They sound fantastic
There's no getting away from it - speakers are all about sound quality, whatever other benefits they bring. Thankfully, the ZIPP 2 is a powerhouse in this regard. It's a great-sounding speaker, with a solid build that makes its portability almost feel deceptive.
The ZIPP 2 has full, satisfying ranges and can absolutely fill a room, with 360-degree sound that ensures it doesn’t matter where you’re standing to get pinpoint and balanced sound quality. The Bass has rumbling depth, but you won’t lose any detail in the mid and high ranges.
The ZIPP 2 also has an automatic room-scanning feature that will adapt its sound to the environment, giving you even more reliable performance regardless of where you use it.
And if you buy more than one, they can be paired together to offer stereo playback, letting you have get higher-quality playback.
And if you’d rather have an even more portable version for travelling with, the ZIPP 2 Mini is a likely solution, a scaled-down version of the speaker that still packs a punch in the sound stakes.
Multi-room audio without myriad speakers
Multi-room audio isn't exactly an easy (or affordable) vision to realise. Most multi-room audio setups get seriously expensive the minute you're over a couple of rooms, while there are likely to be some spots in the house where you simply don't need a speaker all the time, but would love one every so often.
It's not particularly efficient to have a permanent outdoor speaker on your porch for example, if you only use it once a year. But if you're the proud owner of one or more ZIPP 2 speakers, though, the equation becomes a lot more sensible. You might have permanent indoor spots in mind for these great-sounding speakers, but if you need to unplug them and take them outside for a garden party or barbeque, nothing's stopping you.
With the ability to also easily connect up to 10 ZIPP 2 speakers, it's multi-room audio, which includes support for Apple's new AirPlay 2, comes without the constraints of price or layout that would otherwise be off-putting.
Why settle on one setup when you could have countless?
In fact, one of the most liberating aspects of smart home technology is the freedom to set up your home exactly as you want it, not necessarily as it was built or as your landlord left it.
Thanks to Alexa, your own timers and routines, your own lighting and, of course, your own sound system is all controlled via your voice. Yep, the ZIPP 2 can anchor everything together. Why be limited to a set layout and order, when you could simply pick up your speaker, put it down somewhere else and see how that works for a few hours?
That’s the freedom to enjoy great sound, and great design, however you want, whether that’s indoors or out, at home or on the road.
A great bundle offer
For a limited time, Libratone is offering a special bundle deal on a pair of Libratone ZIPP 2 speakers at Amazon.co.uk. Costing £312.79 for two instead of £229 each, you'll save around £146.