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Libratone Zipp 2 review: The best Amazon Alexa smart speaker

Christopher Minasians
14 Jan 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
279
inc VAT

The Danes are back with the Zipp 2 – a speaker that boasts a host of connectivity options and Amazon Alexa, the dandy virtual assistant

Pros 
Stunning design and build quality
Excellent sound
Fantastic connectivity options
Cons 
A touch expensive
No Bluetooth aptX support
Isn’t waterproof
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Libratone, a Danish company that’s renowned for its beautifully-designed and superb-sounding audio products, is back with the Zipp 2. This smart speaker features Amazon Alexa, the virtual assistant, boasts plenty of connectivity options and even has a neat user interface. What’s not to love?

READ NEXT: Our favourite Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant speakers

Libratone Zipp 2 review: What you need to know

The Zipp 2 is something of a do-it-all smart speaker that, thanks to its driver configuration, produces a 360-degree, room-filling sound. There’s no shortage of connectivity options and, with its delicious design, the speaker has all the key ingredients of a best-in-class product. It’s not quite perfect, though, as water resistance goes amiss.

READ NEXT: Best Bluetooth speakers – our favourite wireless speakers

Libratone Zipp 2 review: Price and competition

The Zipp 2's price fluctuates. Originally reviewed at £219, the speaker has now gone up back to £279. Despite the price hike, I've not changed my verdict.

It has plenty of competition: the Ultimate Ears Megablast costs £170 and is a fully-fledged waterproof smart speaker; the Sonos One at £200 is sonically the one to beat; and, of course, there’s Amazon’s very own set of speakers that exclusively support Alexa calling. The regular second-generation Echo costs just £90, while its larger and more capable sibling, the Echo Plus (first generation), costs £90 and the newer second generation Plus comes in at £140. The ‘Plus’ range cleverly links with other appliances in your smart home setup.

Libratone Zipp 2 review: Build quality and design

As its name suggests, the speaker has a zip that allows you to remove its cover. This is particularly useful if you fancy a change of colour or simply want to give the cover a clean. Additional covers are available at additional cost. Once removed, they reveal the Zipp 2’s drivers, which are housed in an all-plastic enclosure.

There’s a circular touch panel at the top of the speaker, which gives you control of its features. Touching the illuminated microphone button activates Alexa, which you can also trigger using your voice with the six far-field mics.

Hold the button a little longer and you’ll uncover more options: a mic mute option; hush gesture recognition that allows you to mute the speaker; media controls; your top five playlists or radio stations; SoundSpace link that allows up to 10 Libratone speakers to link up; RoomEQ that calibrates the speaker’s EQ to match its environment; and firmware update. You can even adjust the speaker’s output volume by moving your finger clockwise or anti-clockwise round the dial. Nifty.

When it comes to connectivity, Libratone hasn’t held back, with AirPlay 2, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DNLA, USB and a 3.5mm jack at your disposal. Unlike the Sonos One that ignores Bluetooth, this Danish manufacturer has made it a lot easier for your friends and family to pair their devices with the smart speaker.

The Zipp 2 weighs 1.2kg, is 261mm tall and 122mm wide. This doesn’t make it the slimmest nor the most portable smart speaker in the world, but its fabric handle does make it easier to carry around. The speaker also runs off battery power, which means there’s no need for it to be plugged in. The battery lasts around 10hrs and charges pretty quickly through its proprietary DC connector.

The main drawback is the lack of water resistance. Unlike the Ultimate Ears Megablast, it won’t survive a splash, let alone full submersion. There’s also no support for Bluetooth aptX, a higher quality codec that increases wireless audio fidelity.

READ NEXT: Libratone Zipp review: A Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker that’ll shake your room

Libratone Zipp 2 review: Libratone app and Amazon Alexa

The Libratone app provides an intuitive user interface through which you can control the speaker from afar. With it, you can enable or disable Alexa, stream Spotify (via Spotify Connect), Tidal, and your favourite radio stations from around the world. Given the speaker is built with Alexa in mind, Amazon Music is naturally the default music service. It has a wide selection of songs, so you won’t struggle to find your favourites.

Within the app you’ll find EQ settings, the ability to change LED brightness, and see what’s playing (including the source). The same can’t be said about some of its competitors, so it’s refreshing to see Libratone focusing on user experience, which will make a world of difference in day-to-day use.

Amazon Alexa works stupendously well, too. The six far-field microphones pick up voices from afar, although if you crank up the volume you’ll naturally have to shout for it to hear you, which is common sense, really.

As with other non-Amazon speakers, the Zipp 2 doesn’t feature Alexa voice calling – if you’re dying to have it, you’ll need to opt for one of the Echo devices, instead.

READ NEXT: Ultimate Ears Megablast review: The best multi-purpose Amazon Alexa smart speaker

Libratone Zipp 2 review: Sound quality

Libratone has designed the Zipp 2 to project sound around the room. To facilitate this, a plastic reflector sits between the 4in neodymium woofer and the 1in soft dome neodymium tweeter to deliver a full 360-degree sound. This thing gets very loud.

Its two 4in low frequency radiators which allow the Zipp 2 to get down to 50Hz, which is perfect for the soft bassline rumble in ’Mia’ by Bad Bunny and Drake. Its mid-bass impact is rather impressive. Not only does it reproduce a tight, controlled mid-bass shunt, it also doesn’t overpower the mids. Other smart speakers, such as the Ultimate Ears Megablast or Amazon Echo struggle in this domain, but not the Zipp 2. So, if you were longing to enjoy Michael Jackson’s voice in ‘Rock With You’, you’re in luck. Its performance in this department is comparable to the Sonos One, but isn’t as forward-sounding as the latter.

Cymbals sound exquisite. While the Zipp 2 extends well into the upper regions of a frequency sweep, it doesn’t sound sibilant nor fatiguing. Libratone has managed to get the blend just right. It’s also impressive to hear the speaker’s prowess when it comes to separating instruments. To put it to the test I used ‘Versace On The Floor’ by Bruno Mars and, suffice to say, I wasn’t left disappointed: the soft 80s piano vibe, backing vocals and cymbals aren’t mixed into one jumbled mess.

READ NEXT: Our Sonos One review

Libratone Zipp 2 review: Verdict

On the whole, the Zipp 2 is quite the smart speaker. It sounds fantastic, has an intuitive app that makes it easy to use, a multitude of connectivity options, Amazon Alexa to answer your every need, and a stylish Danish design that’ll blend into any living environment.

It's rather expensive and is more expensive than the Sonos One, which also boasts excellent sonic qualities. However, the Zipp 2 also sounds spectacularly good, comes with all the juicy connectivity options, and has the ability to be used on-the-go. It far surpasses the Ultimate Ears Megablast and Amazon-branded speakers with its multitude of inputs and sonic capabilities. In my opinion, it’s the best Amazon Alexa speaker on the market right now.