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Creative ZiiSound D5 review

Creative ZiiSound D5
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £280
inc VAT

The Creative ZiiSound D5 wireless iPod dock is easy to set up but its sound quality is disappointing, especially at such an eye-watering price.

The Creative ZiiSound D5 is an iPod speaker dock. Unlike any other speaker dock we’ve seen, the iPod connects wirelessly over Bluetooth. There’s therefore no need for a separate remote control, which are often clumsy and awkward to use for navigating through an iPod’s menus, as you can use your iPod itself to control music playback and adjust the volume.

The D5 comes with a Bluetooth adaptor compatible with any iPod that has an Apple dock connector, as well as all iPhones. We had no trouble using the adaptor to pair an iPhone 3GS with the D5 – the pairing occurred almost instantly without any hiccups. Although the D5 has a touch-sensitive slider for adjusting the volume, it’s more convenient to adjust the volume directly from your iPod instead.

The effective range of the wireless connection between the D5 and your music source will depend on a number of factors, including the construction of your property and any interference from existing wireless networks. In the Expert Reviews Labs, which is a worse case scenario since there are several thick walls and numerous wireless networks, we could wander with our iPhone up to 15m away from the D5 before music cut out which is surprisingly good for a Bluetooth connection

It’s not necessary to use the included Bluetooth adaptor – the D5 will work with any Bluetooth-equipped MP3 player or computer that supports the necessary Bluetooth A2DP music streaming protocol. Unlike previous Creative Bluetooth-equipped speakers we’ve seen, we didn’t have any trouble pairing the D5 with the Bluetooth adaptors integrated in a laptop.

However, Creative states that the included adaptor has superior sound quality to standard Bluetooth adaptors since it is capable of transmitting higher bit-rate audio. We were a little sceptical of these claims, but we were surprised to find that Creative’s adaptor did indeed improve audio quality.

Using an iPhone’s built-in Bluetooth, we noticed that vocals in some pop and rock tracks sounded muddy and indistinct. The high end sometimes sounded overpoweringly harsh and bright in several different genres of music from classical to electronic and R&B. Using Creative’s adaptor, vocals sounded noticeably clearer and more detailed. The high end didn’t sound quite as bright either.

Even Creative’s adaptor couldn’t do anything to compensate for the D5’s weak and unfocussed bass. Audio quality wasn’t a complete disappointment though – acoustic pop and folk tracks sounded reasonably clear, rich and warm.

The D5’s wireless connection is really convenient, both to set up and use – there’s no other iPod speaker dock quite like it. Unfortunately, audio quality is disappointing, especially at such a high price. Unless you have money to burn, we just can’t recommend it.


Rating **
Speaker configuration 2.1
Price £280

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