A stylish and flexible wireless speaker, but not quite the best-sounding out there. Read our Libratone Zipp 2 Review.
Do you want a home speaker that responds to requests for Abba songs, and records what you say so that it can push ads for nappies and hair restoration products? Or would you prefer a portable speaker that does the job for rained-out BBQs and hastily arranged beach trips?
The Libratone Zipp 2 does both. It’s a chunky portable wireless speaker with Bluetooth, wi-fi and support for Amazon Alexa, and that might be enough for you to overlook the fact that it’s not quite the best-sounding speaker in its category.
You can’t miss a Libratone Zipp speaker. The zip running around the bottom allows you to remove the grille fabric and replace it with another design or colour.
It’s a gimmick, but Libratone’s speakers have a youthful energy that means they look equally at home in a child’s room as the pages of a fashion magazine. The speaker’s minimalistic aesthetic should blend in to just about any room of the house.
The Zipp 2 is equally versatile in use. It’s a Bluetooth speaker with a battery that lasts up to 12 hours at a reasonable listening volume. A chunky leatherette strap makes carrying the speaker around comfortable, without making it look like one designed solely for portable use.
It’s also just as prepared for life plugged-in as any modern multi-room unit. The Zipp 2 has full Alexa support, meaning you can talk to it, rather than simply controlling it through an Echo Dot. There’s no Google Assistant support, but speakers that support more than one voice assistant are still relatively rare.
The Libratone Zipp 2 has Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2 and a 3.5mm auxiliary input too, making it extremely versatile for a minimalistic speaker. The capacitive control panel on top looks simple. You tap it to play and pause. A ring of LEDs along its perimeter indicates the volume.
However, long-press this pad and a series of tiny icons light up. These access extra features, such as playlist or radio station favourites, sound optimisation for the room shape and Sound Space, which links up individual Libratone speakers.
These shortcuts could be better implemented – in a well-lit room, the buttons aren’t that visible, and in any case, it’s simpler to ask Alexa for a radio station or playlist.
Keep it dry
The Zipp 2 does more than you might expect. But there are two missing features. It’s not water resistant, and Libratone’s approach to multi-room is a little basic.
Despite its cylindrical shape, the Zipp 2 has a distinct back and front, but the sound is not especially sensitive about placement. Its 10cm woofer and 25mm tweeter use a ‘360-degree’ deflector to spread coverage. The two large oval-shaped passive radiators sitting on its sides help give the bass a decent amount of heft.
It’s a satisfying listen too. Bass depth is solid for a speaker of its size, and treble detail is good. There are no glaring vacuums of presence of texture in the mids. And while it does start to sound a little uncomfortable at high volumes, you should be worrying about your neighbours long before hitting the sort of volume at which the Zipp 2 struggles.
However, the Zipp 2’s limitations become obvious in comparison with the top performers. A closed-in presentation means you’ll find greater separation of midrange elements elsewhere.
Though the Zipp 2’s sound dispersal may be 360-degree, there’s still a lingering sense that it emanates from a single point in the room. Add this to less than stellar midrange coherence and you end up with a performance that sounds a little too much as though instrument and vocal lines are stacked on top of each other.
These slight deficiencies in the performance are a timely reminder that the Libratone Zipp 2 is a lifestyle speaker above all. Those who prioritise sound quality may prefer a more open and coherent presentation.
The Zipp 2 almost seamlessly skips between being a portable and smart speaker. And, thanks to Libratone’s styling and a wide array of features, it looks and feels the part in either role.
This is a great choice for those looking for a stylish and flexible wireless speaker – but if your priority is sound quality, there are better options around.
The Zipp 2 earns full marks for lifestyle appeal, but its sound quality is a little below the very best.
- Works well in or outside the home
- Full-bodied sound
- 360-degree sound
- Limited soundstage precision
- Slightly muddled lower midrange