Libratone Beat £550

11th Mar 2011 | 10:00

Libratone Beat

Can this stylish new wireless speaker set live up to its price tag?

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

Like:

Easy setup; USB and iOS transmitters

Dislike:

Very expensive; Acquired taste

This could be the strangest looking speaker unit we've ever reviewed at MacFormat. A 47cm-tall triangular design with a chrome carry handle at the rear, its entire body is covered in 'blood orange' cashmere (slate grey, black and beige are also available).

If you can find one to match your room's décor it looks neat enough, but comparisons to a cat's scratching post are inevitable.

Libratone Beat has two input methods: a 3.5mm auxiliary socket for connection to any audio device that takes standard headphones, and a wireless receiver to stream sounds from your Mac or iOS device. There's no built-in dock connector.

For wireless sounds, it comes supplied with USB and 30-pin transmitters, and a USB cable that fits the 30-pin dongle so you can power your iOS device through the mains while transmitting.

Other than the pairing button, the speaker unit itself is devoid of controls – you must use your Mac or iPod for changing volume.

Sound quality is a mixed bag. It has enough volume to fill a room and bass is strong and solid, though the midrange is a little subdued, and sometimes swamped by the treble.

As you might expect given its vertical form factor, stereo separation is poor. Although well detailed, the promised 360-degree sound proves patchy in practice; it's generally obvious the sound is coming from one source.

While the Libratone Beat scores heavily for style and convenience, its audio quality, while far from shabby, doesn't justify its £500+ price tag.

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