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Devialet Mania: Stylish, portable and very pricey

Devialet’s debut portable speaker costs a pretty penny but has the looks and audio chops to entice those willing to splash the cash

Hi-fi audio brand Devialet has revealed its first foray into the world of portable smart speakers, the Devialet Mania.

The Mania, which is available to purchase from retailers including Harrods and Selfridges now, continues the French manufacturer’s approach of fusing innovative audio technology with attractive design.

There are three iterations of the speaker available at launch, with the black and grey models costing £690 and the special edition Opéra de Paris variant setting you back a cool £890. That’s a lot for a portable speaker, but this is the company behind the Dione soundbar (£1,990) and Phantom wireless speaker (£2,790), so premium prices are to be expected.

And in terms of aesthetics and sonic prowess, the Mania looks well placed to justify its hefty price. I got to spend some hands-on time with Devialet’s latest creation last month and left very impressed by what I saw and heard.

The Mania takes some clear design cues from its Phantom stablemate, adopting a spherical shape that features an integrated carrying handle. Weighing in at 2.3kg, it’s easy enough to pick up and move around, while an IPX4 rating for water resistance ensures you can safely use it outside.

A large proportion of the speaker is covered in a woven fabric (either black or grey depending on the model you buy), and this is complemented by polished silver detailing, which gives the Mania a sleek, sophisticated air. The Opéra de Paris version goes a couple of steps further by adding embellishment in 24-carat moongold and also comes with a charging dock that’s being sold separately for £69.

Behind the Mania’s eye-catching façade is some seriously impressive audio technology. The speaker contains four full-range drivers working alongside two subwoofers to create immersive 360-degree sound. The woofers operate in a push-push configuration and are powered by Devialet’s Speaker Active Matching (SAM) technology – the same tech used by the Huawei Sound – which processes audio to perfectly match the specifications of a speaker.

But an advanced driver arrangement only tells half the story. The Mania also uses a second patented Devialet technology: Active Stereo Calibration (ASC). Four built-in microphones constantly monitor the Mania’s surroundings and adjust the output from its drivers on the fly to deliver a convincing 360-degree stereo soundstage regardless of where the speaker is positioned. Having heard it in action in the centre of the room, on the floor against a skirting board and while being carried around outside, the technology certainly seems to work effectively, though my listening time was admittedly brief.

The Mania can clearly handle a range of genres adeptly – it delivered everything from Dr Dre to David Bowie (with some David Guetta thrown in for good measure) with plenty of detail and startling bass impact. Devialet says the pair of subwoofers go as low as 30Hz and I was certainly impressed by their low-end performance.

In addition to high-resolution streaming over a wireless connection and a luxurious design, the Mania offers a pleasing range of functionality. There’s Bluetooth connectivity (version 5.0) for use when streaming outside of the confines of your living space, full voice assistant support courtesy of built-in Amazon Alexa, and Apple AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect are both supported, too. The Mania is also compatible with the Devialet app, which provides a few basic customisation and control options if you’re not using Alexa or the physical controls on the speaker itself.

The Devialet Mania is available to buy now and we hope to receive a review unit in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back for our full review.

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