Libratone Zipp: Can this AirPlay speaker best Apple's HomePod?

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2018
Libratone's Zipp speaker is a customizable and powerful speaker that is sure to liven up any room whether at home or on the go. Its surprising list of features, not to mention inputs, makes it one of the best speakers you can add to your home.

Libratone Zipp on Nighstand


In putting the Libratone's Zipp through its paces, we tested the speaker's design, sound quality, and connectivity. Perhaps more interesting, however, is how Zipp compares to Apple's HomePod, an AirPlay (and soon to be AirPlay 2) enabled device with Siri integration.

Now let's go ahead and dig in.

Check out our in-depth video to see the speaker up close, as well as to hear a detailed sound test.



Design & build quality

Libratone Zipp Power Adapter


Right out of the gate, the Zipp draws comparisons to the HomePod. Like Apple, Libratone paid attention to the smallest of details. Take the power cord for example. Instead of using some off-the-shelf boring black cable that would mar the overall experience, Libratone opted to design their own nylon-wrapped variant. It uses a barrel connector, which can be handy since it can rotate in any direction. It also has a replaceable end, one that can be swapped for different international plugs.

Zipp is instantly recognizable with its brightly colored cover and logo-emblazoned crimson zipper pull. It has a solid weight, which is mostly a sum of the variety of speaker drives and the powerful internal battery.

Libratone Zipp Cover


Covering most of the top is a replaceable fabric. It has a few purposes: protecting the top of the speaker from debris, customizing color based on your mood or personality, swapping out if the original is damaged or sullied. The zip closure also happens to be where the Zipp gets its name.

Additional covers are available from Libratone for $29, which seems like a fairly reasonable price.

On top of the speaker is a simple light-up touch display used for system control, similar to the HomePod, but with more options. More on that in a bit. The speaker rests on a silicone base that prevents it from sliding around. By the way, if you are wondering, in all our testing, it did not leave any rings on our furniture.

As a whole, the Zipp very much exudes quality. Just on build quality alone, the Zipp comes off as a premium speaker.

Touch controls

Aside from using Siri, the HomePod has three physical controls including a touchscreen on its crest. Zipp easily one-ups the HomePod on this front.

Libratone Zipp Controls


A nightingale, Libratone's logo, is perched in the center of the touch-sensitive control panel, located on the speaker's top. Using the small circular screen, you can tap to play/pause, use the arrows to go forward/back in your tracks, and even choose from one of five customizable favorites.

Our favorite command, though, has to be the hush feature. Too many times am I at my desk listening to music when my girlfriend asks me a question. My usual recourse is to tap the speaker to pause, or scramble for my iPhone to pause it there.

Zipp takes a better approach. Regardless of what is playing, placing a hand over top of the speaker will "hush" the music, significantly lowering its volume. When you're ready, remove the hand and the volume will regain its original level. This is something we use all the time, and wish Apple would perhaps steal for the HomePod.

Inputs

Streaming your tunes is simple on the Zipp. Primarily because of the wealth of options available to stream from.

Libratone Zipp Streaming services


Zipp is a Wi-Fi-equipped speaker, so it is capable of streaming Spotify, Tidal, or internet radio all on its own. No device necessary. Wi-Fi is not a requirement though. Music can also be played over Bluetooth or using the auxiliary audio port located on the back.

Most importantly, at least for Apple users, is support for AirPlay, Apple's high-quality streaming protocol.

AirPlay and AirPlay 2

AirPlay, and Apple's upcoming AirPlay 2, is a proprietary streaming protocol that works over Wi-Fi to deliver audio and video data to compatible devices.

As an example, you can use an iPhone to stream audio or video to your Apple TV. In this case, you can use your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to stream audio to your Zipp.

Libratone Zipp AirPlay


It is dead simple to set up and use. Once the speaker is configured, tap the AirPlay icon in an app or in Control Center and the Zipp will show up. Streaming audio from almost any of your devices is literally two taps away.

AirPlay is also how music is streamed to the HomePod. And like the HomePod, the Zipp will also be upgraded to AirPlay 2.

Apple's next generation of AirPlay, AirPlay 2, brings better throughput and multi-room audio. That means music can be streamed from a device to multiple Zipps, HomePods, Apple TVs, or other AirPlay 2 speakers simultaneously. I have an Apple TV hooked up to a receiver in the living room, my HomePod in the Kitchen, and the Zipp in my office. I will be able to stream content to all these at the same time after the release of AirPlay 2, which is expected mid-2018 with the launch of iOS 11.4.

AirPlay 2 also pulls these devices into the Home app to work with HomeKit. What HomeKit will be capable of with speakers has yet to be seen, but we believe they will eventually be built into scenes. Allowing users to schedule or trigger scenes with music playback.

Audio quality

Any speaker, regardless of how many bells and whistles it's outfitted with, is useless if the sound quality is not up to par.

Luckily, the Zipp excels. 360 FullRoom Sound makes it easy to hear from any direction. A tactic the HomePod also adopts when not placed near a wall. This means wherever the Zipp is placed, it sounds great from anywhere in the room.

Libratone Zipp playing music


Audio quality usually depends on the method it is played through. For iOS users, the best sounding audio will come through AirPlay. It also supports AptX, which is a high-quality streaming protocol for Bluetooth. This will be useful for Android users.

When judging the audio quality, we tried several different genres of audio. Specifically: instrumental, rap, classic rock, pop, podcasts and movies.

Libratone Zipp Audio profiles


Our biggest takeaway was how well rounded the speaker sounded. Bass lovers may feel a bit underwhelmed, but personally, I preferred them laying off a bit. That isn't to say the bass isn't there, it is, it just isn't overpowering like it is on the HomePod.

It shines most with the clear mids and highs. Even at the loudest volume, there was no distortion in the audio.

What we really enjoyed was the different audio profiles that can be enabled, such as "Rock the House," "Easy Listening," "Movie Mode" and "Speech." This makes a huge difference depending on what you are listening to.

The clear audio is accomplished by a 100-watt Class D amp, a 4-inch woofer, two 1-inch tweeters, and two 4-inch passive radiators. Quite a powerful for package for a portable speaker.

App

Unlike the HomePod, the Zipp has its own dedicated app. It houses a bunch of functionality aside from just setup.

Libratone Zipp settings in app


There are a variety of settings, including configuring your Tidal or Spotify account, changing the voice profile, setting its location, changing the name, selecting your favorites or performing software updates.

Information like Wi-Fi strength, battery percentage and sleep timers are also readily available.

We appreciate the little touches too, such as color matching the app and the speaker. If the cover is changed on the speaker, you can choose the color corresponding color in the app to match the new cover.

There is also the ability to create "Soundspaces." Up to six Zipps can be connected together for multi-room listening. No need to wait for AirPlay 2 to launch.

Portability

One rarely sees a Wi-Fi speaker that also is portable. Zipp falls into this category. Take it on the go, and stream over Bluetooth.

There is a leather strap attached to the side (which is removable for when replacing the cover) that makes it easy to carry.

Inside, is a powerful battery that should last about 10 hours. In our tests, with moderate volume, we actually got almost 12 hours of use. This alone is one of the biggest selling points of the Zipp.

Since there is a powerful battery on the inside, why not use it to charge other devices? There is a USB-A port on the rear of the speaker, which is perfect for charging a phone on the go. Basically, by taking the Zipp with you, you always have a spare backup battery.

Zipp vs. HomePod

One thing we wanted to do, was directly compare the Zipp to Apple's latest home speaker. There are many similarities, as well as many differentiators.

Libratone Zipp and Apple HomePod


Let's take a care of what is similar first. To start, they both have powerful, omnidirectional 360-degree audio. They both support AirPlay, as well as the forthcoming AirPlay 2. Perfect for any Apple user.

Whether Apple Music on the HomePod or Tidal/Spotify on the Zipp, both are able to stream without the need for another device.

Price is also a bit similar, both aiming for the mid-range market. There are clearly more high-end speakers out there, but both Libratone and Apple are shooting for fairly premium audio at a somewhat affordable price.

This is really where the similarities end.

One big difference is the lack of a dedicated app for the HomePod. The HomePod is required to be configured solely in the Home app, whereas the Libratone provides a dedicated app with a wealth of functionality. It is not only convenient, but many users will find it more accessible as well.

There has been a lot of debate on the audio quality of the HomePod. Most agree it sounds great, though users are split on the heaviness of the bass. Some like the Beats-derived audio, while some, like me, find it a bit heavy-handed. While the Zipp is surely not bass-forward, the different audio profiles make it customizable based on user taste, something sorely lacking on the HomePod.

A neat feature with the HomePod is its intelligence. A built-in accelerometer tells the HomePod when it moves, and it automatically recalibrates the sound each time it does. Zipp isn't quite as crafty, instead relying on the user to set the location manually in the app.

HomePod has the edge when it comes to assistants. Siri comes baked right in, making it easy to control easily with just your voice. Zipp isn't completely by itself though; it has the ability to integrate with Amazon's Alexa.

What we feel really sets the Zipp apart from the HomePod, though, are audio inputs and portability.

Zipp can handle aux cables, Bluetooth, Spotify/Tidal streaming, Internet radio and AirPlay. HomePod can only handle streaming Apple Music or AirPlay. This can be a big decider when looking which to purchase.

Portability is also key. HomePod is limited. Since it requires Wi-Fi, it can't leave your home. It is also tied to a cable, with no external battery available. That means moving it around within a home can even pose challenges. Zipp has a handle, built-in battery and doesn't even require Wi-Fi, making it ideal for home or on the go use.

Zipp for the win

Libratone Zipp in the Kitchen


HomePod is a delightful speaker. Apple clearly has gone the extra mile to integrate the speaker into its own ecosystem. However, the way Libratone has outfitted the Zipp with a wealth of features while highlighting the premium audio makes it our personal preference.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Pricing and availability

Libratone Zipp ships in four different colors and is available on Amazon for $299. There is also a similar Zipp Mini available for $249, though we can't recommend it. Might as well spend the extra $50 for its full-sized brethren.

Covers are also available for the mini, and full size Zipp for $29 from Libratone.
propod
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    ...with an original Zipp Classic (superb dual ribbon tweeters) I have found the sound profile can be changed dramatically simply by relocating ie. on the floor closer to a corner - apparently the early Libratone app had a graphic equalizer too, for which I've seen posts wishing it was still available. I look forward to hearing the multiple horn tweeters of the HomePod, hoping they are equal or perhaps even better than the Zipp ribbons...
  • Reply 2 of 38
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,066member
    "...Our favorite command, though, has to be the hush feature. Too many times am I at my desk listening to music when my girlfriend asks me a question. My usual recourse is to tap the speaker to pause, or scramble for my iPhone to pause it there..."

    If I'm at my desk and listening to music that would mean I'm at my computer doing stuff. In which case if the gf comes in I'll just hit the spacebar, keeping my speaker within arms reach and putting my hand on top of it, just so that while the gf is talking I can still have some softer mood music in the background, seems to defeat the purpose. Plus I don't get to miss any of the song. I just find it hard to believe that you'd really pine for this feature on a HomePod.
    edited April 2018 dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 38
    wigbywigby Posts: 689member
    Libratone's Zipp speaker is a customizable and powerful speaker that is sure to liven up any room whether at home or on the go. Its surprising list of features, not to mention inputs, makes it one of the best speakers you can add to your home.

    Libratone Zipp on Nighstand


    In putting the Libratone's Zipp through its paces, we tested the speaker's design, sound quality, and connectivity. Perhaps more interesting, however, is how Zipp compares to Apple's HomePod, an AirPlay (and soon to be AirPlay 2) enabled device with Siri integration.

    Now let's go ahead and dig in.

    Check out our in-depth video to see the speaker up close, as well as to hear a detailed sound test.


    image

    Design & build quality

    Libratone Zipp Power Adapter


    Right out of the gate, the Zipp draws comparisons to the HomePod. Like Apple, Libratone paid attention to the smallest of details. Take the power cord for example. Instead of using some off-the-shelf boring black cable that would mar the overall experience, Libratone opted to design their own nylon-wrapped variant. It uses a barrel connector, which can be handy since it can rotate in any direction. It also has a replaceable end, one that can be swapped for different international plugs.

    Zipp is instantly recognizable with its brightly colored cover and logo-emblazoned crimson zipper pull. It has a solid weight, which is mostly a sum of the variety of speaker drives and the powerful internal battery.

    Libratone Zipp Cover


    Covering most of the top is a replaceable fabric. It has a few purposes: protecting the top of the speaker from debris, customizing color based on your mood or personality, swapping out if the original is damaged or sullied. The zip closure also happens to be where the Zipp gets its name.

    Additional covers are available from Libratone for $29, which seems like a fairly reasonable price.

    On top of the speaker is a simple light-up touch display used for system control, similar to the HomePod, but with more options. More on that in a bit. The speaker rests on a silicone base that prevents it from sliding around. By the way, if you are wondering, in all our testing, it did not leave any rings on our furniture.

    As a whole, the Zipp very much exudes quality. Just on build quality alone, the Zipp comes off as a premium speaker.

    Touch controls

    Aside from using Siri, the HomePod has three physical controls including a touchscreen on its crest. Zipp easily one-ups the HomePod on this front.

    Libratone Zipp Controls


    A nightingale, Libratone's logo, is perched in the center of the touch-sensitive control panel, located on the speaker's top. Using the small circular screen, you can tap to play/pause, use the arrows to go forward/back in your tracks, and even choose from one of five customizable favorites.

    Our favorite command, though, has to be the hush feature. Too many times am I at my desk listening to music when my girlfriend asks me a question. My usual recourse is to tap the speaker to pause, or scramble for my iPhone to pause it there.

    Zipp takes a better approach. Regardless of what is playing, placing a hand over top of the speaker will "hush" the music, significantly lowering its volume. When you're ready, remove the hand and the volume will regain its original level. This is something we use all the time, and wish Apple would perhaps steal for the HomePod.

    Inputs

    Streaming your tunes is simple on the Zipp. Primarily because of the wealth of options available to stream from.

    Libratone Zipp Streaming services


    Zipp is a Wi-Fi-equipped speaker, so it is capable of streaming Spotify, Tidal, or internet radio all on its own. No device necessary. Wi-Fi is not a requirement though. Music can also be played over Bluetooth or using the auxiliary audio port located on the back.

    Most importantly, at least for Apple users, is support for AirPlay, Apple's high-quality streaming protocol.

    AirPlay and AirPlay 2

    AirPlay, and Apple's upcoming AirPlay 2, is a proprietary streaming protocol that works over Wi-Fi to deliver audio and video data to compatible devices.

    As an example, you can use an iPhone to stream audio or video to your Apple TV. In this case, you can use your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to stream audio to your Zipp.

    Libratone Zipp AirPlay


    It is dead simple to set up and use. Once the speaker is configured, tap the AirPlay icon in an app or in Control Center and the Zipp will show up. Streaming audio from almost any of your devices is literally two taps away.

    AirPlay is also how music is streamed to the HomePod. And like the HomePod, the Zipp will also be upgraded to AirPlay 2.

    Apple's next generation of AirPlay, AirPlay 2, brings better throughput and multi-room audio. That means music can be streamed from a device to multiple Zipps, HomePods, Apple TVs, or other AirPlay 2 speakers simultaneously. I have an Apple TV hooked up to a receiver in the living room, my HomePod in the Kitchen, and the Zipp in my office. I will be able to stream content to all these at the same time after the release of AirPlay 2, which is expected mid-2018 with the launch of iOS 11.4.

    AirPlay 2 also pulls these devices into the Home app to work with HomeKit. What HomeKit will be capable of with speakers has yet to be seen, but we believe they will eventually be built into scenes. Allowing users to schedule or trigger scenes with music playback.

    Audio quality

    Any speaker, regardless of how many bells and whistles it's outfitted with, is useless if the sound quality is not up to par.

    Luckily, the Zipp excels. 360 FullRoom Sound makes it easy to hear from any direction. A tactic the HomePod also adopts when not placed near a wall. This means wherever the Zipp is placed, it sounds great from anywhere in the room.

    Libratone Zipp playing music


    Audio quality usually depends on the method it is played through. For iOS users, the best sounding audio will come through AirPlay. It also supports AptX, which is a high-quality streaming protocol for Bluetooth. This will be useful for Android users.

    When judging the audio quality, we tried several different genres of audio. Specifically: instrumental, rap, classic rock, pop, podcasts and movies.

    Libratone Zipp Audio profiles


    Our biggest takeaway was how well rounded the speaker sounded. Bass lovers may feel a bit underwhelmed, but personally, I preferred them laying off a bit. That isn't to say the bass isn't there, it is, it just isn't overpowering like it is on the HomePod.

    It shines most with the clear mids and highs. Even at the loudest volume, there was no distortion in the audio.

    What we really enjoyed was the different audio profiles that can be enabled, such as "Rock the House," "Easy Listening," "Movie Mode" and "Speech." This makes a huge difference depending on what you are listening to.

    The clear audio is accomplished by a 100-watt Class D amp, a 4-inch woofer, two 1-inch tweeters, and two 4-inch passive radiators. Quite a powerful for package for a portable speaker.

    App

    Unlike the HomePod, the Zipp has its own dedicated app. It houses a bunch of functionality aside from just setup.

    Libratone Zipp settings in app


    There are a variety of settings, including configuring your Tidal or Spotify account, changing the voice profile, setting its location, changing the name, selecting your favorites or performing software updates.

    Information like Wi-Fi strength, battery percentage and sleep timers are also readily available.

    We appreciate the little touches too, such as color matching the app and the speaker. If the cover is changed on the speaker, you can choose the color corresponding color in the app to match the new cover.

    There is also the ability to create "Soundspaces." Up to six Zipps can be connected together for multi-room listening. No need to wait for AirPlay 2 to launch.

    Portability

    One rarely sees a Wi-Fi speaker that also is portable. Zipp falls into this category. Take it on the go, and stream over Bluetooth.

    There is a leather strap attached to the side (which is removable for when replacing the cover) that makes it easy to carry.

    Inside, is a powerful battery that should last about 10 hours. In our tests, with moderate volume, we actually got almost 12 hours of use. This alone is one of the biggest selling points of the Zipp.

    Since there is a powerful battery on the inside, why not use it to charge other devices? There is a USB-A port on the rear of the speaker, which is perfect for charging a phone on the go. Basically, by taking the Zipp with you, you always have a spare backup battery.

    Zipp vs. HomePod

    One thing we wanted to do, was directly compare the Zipp to Apple's latest home speaker. There are many similarities, as well as many differentiators.

    Libratone Zipp and Apple HomePod


    Let's take a care of what is similar first. To start, they both have powerful, omnidirectional 360-degree audio. They both support AirPlay, as well as the forthcoming AirPlay 2. Perfect for any Apple user.

    Whether Apple Music on the HomePod or Tidal/Spotify on the Zipp, both are able to stream without the need for another device.

    Price is also a bit similar, both aiming for the mid-range market. There are clearly more high-end speakers out there, but both Libratone and Apple are shooting for fairly premium audio at a somewhat affordable price.

    This is really where the similarities end.

    One big difference is the lack of a dedicated app for the HomePod. The HomePod is required to be configured solely in the Home app, whereas the Libratone provides a dedicated app with a wealth of functionality. It is not only convenient, but many users will find it more accessible as well.

    There has been a lot of debate on the audio quality of the HomePod. Most agree it sounds great, though users are split on the heaviness of the bass. Some like the Beats-derived audio, while some, like me, find it a bit heavy-handed. While the Zipp is surely not bass-forward, the different audio profiles make it customizable based on user taste, something sorely lacking on the HomePod.

    A neat feature with the HomePod is its intelligence. A built-in accelerometer tells the HomePod when it moves, and it automatically recalibrates the sound each time it does. Zipp isn't quite as crafty, instead relying on the user to set the location manually in the app.

    HomePod has the edge when it comes to assistants. Siri comes baked right in, making it easy to control easily with just your voice. Zipp isn't completely by itself though; it has the ability to integrate with Amazon's Alexa.

    What we feel really sets the Zipp apart from the HomePod, though, are audio inputs and portability.

    Zipp can handle aux cables, Bluetooth, Spotify/Tidal streaming, Internet radio and AirPlay. HomePod can only handle streaming Apple Music or AirPlay. This can be a big decider when looking which to purchase.

    Portability is also key. HomePod is limited. Since it requires Wi-Fi, it can't leave your home. It is also tied to a cable, with no external battery available. That means moving it around within a home can even pose challenges. Zipp has a handle, built-in battery and doesn't even require Wi-Fi, making it ideal for home or on the go use.

    Zipp for the win

    Libratone Zipp in the Kitchen


    HomePod is a delightful speaker. Apple clearly has gone the extra mile to integrate the speaker into its own ecosystem. However, the way Libratone has outfitted the Zipp with a wealth of features while highlighting the premium audio makes it our personal preference.

    Score: 4.5 out of 5

    Pricing and availability

    Libratone Zipp ships in four different colors and is available on Amazon for $299. There is also a similar Zipp Mini available for $249, though we can't recommend it. Might as well spend the extra $50 for its full-sized brethren.

    Covers are also available for the mini, and full size Zipp for $29 from Libratone.
    Why did I have to read all the way to end to find out that this speaker doesn’t even listen for commands? There is some mention of Alexa integration but this speaker should not be conpared to any smart speakers because I don’t see how it’s even smart. It is simply another airplay speaker that borrows a few features from HomePod but not the good ones. Even the greatest sound in the world doesn’t appeal to me if I have to use a dedicated app instead of my voice.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,805member
    wigby said:
    Why did I have to read all the way to end to find out that this speaker doesn’t even listen for commands? There is some mention of Alexa integration but this speaker should not be conpared to any smart speakers because I don’t see how it’s even smart. It is simply another airplay speaker that borrows a few features from HomePod but not the good ones. Even the greatest sound in the world doesn’t appeal to me if I have to use a dedicated app instead of my voice.
    1) This is a speaker review which states it's an AirPlay speaker in the title, but if you want to compare intelligence and capabilities then HomePod can't really be compared to smart speakers when it's only reasonable voice activation option is music playback. On top of that, being a BT capable speaker as well as having an audio-in port it can easily be connected to any Echo, Google Home, or other full service smart speakers.

    2) It's hard to take any comment that starts with "why did I have to read all the way to end" seriously when you quote the entire article in your reply.
    edited April 2018 napoleon_phoneapartaylkalanh[Deleted User]muthuk_vanalingamaknabiwlymmike1larryapropod
  • Reply 5 of 38
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,684member
    I got a Zipp late last year. It lives in the bathroom for morning shower music. So far my wife and I are very pleased with it.  I really like it's sound and it's pretty easy and convenient to use.  Typically we play music from our iPhones via WiFi.  I have also used our Mac Mini as a Spotify source and connected the Zipp via AirPlay.  I have also streamed Internet Radio using the Libratone app - worked great.

    Somebody said they felt Zipp "borrowed" from Homepod, but Zipp predates the Homepod by a couple of years.
    aylk
  • Reply 6 of 38
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Considering reacting to the room is the Homepod's claim to fame, this again doesn't really cut it as a sound test... 
    Saying anything compares to it when using it in something that either advantages the other or doesn't use it at its full capacity is basically useless in my book; you're not really comparing both speakers but doing the same kind of thing Consumer Report did.
    wlymmike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 38
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    jsmythe00 said:
    SMH.  THIS should have been the HomePod.  Instead apple threw us some late half baked hamstrung device at a premium price. 
    Talking through your hat again seemingly, no knowledge of something yet full of "opinions".

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,805member
    foggyhill said:
    Saying anything compares to it when using it in something that either advantages the other or doesn't use it at its full capacity is basically useless in my book
    Then how could any comparison ever be good enough for you since there will always be some advantages and disadvantages to be noted?
    edited April 2018 aylk[Deleted User]muthuk_vanalingamlarrya
  • Reply 9 of 38
    "...Our favorite command, though, has to be the hush feature. Too many times am I at my desk listening to music when my girlfriend asks me a question. My usual recourse is to tap the speaker to pause, or scramble for my iPhone to pause it there..."

    If I'm at my desk and listening to music that would mean I'm at my computer doing stuff. In which case if the gf comes in I'll just hit the spacebar, keeping my speaker within arms reach and putting my hand on top of it, just so that while the gf is talking I can still have some softer mood music in the background, seems to defeat the purpose. Plus I don't get to miss any of the song. I just find it hard to believe that you'd really pine for this feature on a HomePod.
    "...Our favorite command, though, has to be the hush feature. Too many times am I at my desk listening to music when my girlfriend asks me a question. My usual recourse is to tap the speaker to pause, or scramble for my iPhone to pause it there..."

    If I'm at my desk and listening to music that would mean I'm at my computer doing stuff. In which case if the gf comes in I'll just hit the spacebar, keeping my speaker within arms reach and putting my hand on top of it, just so that while the gf is talking I can still have some softer mood music in the background, seems to defeat the purpose. Plus I don't get to miss any of the song. I just find it hard to believe that you'd really pine for this feature on a HomePod.
    I don't have a HomePod so I don't know how it works but if I initiate music on my Home, unless I open up Spotify separately on my PC, I can't pause it on the PC. It wouldn't be useful for me personally as my speaker isn't in arm's reach but i can see why someone might appreciate the hush feature.
  • Reply 10 of 38
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 692editor
    Zipp easily one-ups the HomePod on this front.
    Using the small circular screen, you can tap to play/pause, use the arrows to go forward/back in your tracks, and even choose from one of five customizable favorites.

    Zipp does NOT have a screen on the top of it. How does it one-up HomePod on this front? HomePod has a screen with a touch capacitive sense volume up/down control. Zipp has no screen and touch capacitive sense vol up/dn and track forward/back, with the mystery meat interface (not labeled controls are mystery meat - you don't know what you're going to get until you use them. Mystery meat here: tap to play/pause, 5 customizable other taps, and hover-the-hand for hush-not-mute.)

    If the author is suggesting that Zipp is better because it has more controls on the top surface, fine, but he should say so directly, rather than tell us Zipp has a screen it hasn't got.

    Smart speaker integration: You have to use Alexa, and you have to press a button on the top of the speaker to wake it, rather than use the wake word. It's essentially a glorified Echo Tap before Amazon allowed that device to use the wake word courtesy of a software update.



    The reviewer didn't clarify well is whether the speaker is acting like a Google Chromecast in the way it fetches audio. When Chromecast gets music from Spotify, it is pulling that music directly to the Chromecast, and not using the phone in the middle. That is, the audio is not being routed from phone and then to the speaker, but the phone sends the speaker a URL, and the speaker fetches it directly. This means that if the phone powers off or the app quits, the music still goes on. I suspect Zipp is not doing this, because they can't do it for Bluetooth, and they want a consistent user experience - music works the same way for them over BT as over Wi-Fi.

    Zipp is a Wi-Fi-equipped speaker, so it is capable of streaming Spotify, Tidal, or internet radio all on its own. No device necessary. Wi-Fi is not a requirement though. Music can also be played over Bluetooth or using the auxiliary audio port located on the back.
    That suggests that music is routed like Chromecast Audio, but then confuses it by immediately saying Wi-Fi is not a requirement, when it is if you intend to stream directly to the speaker from one of those sources. Instead of making the audio routing more clear, the author makes it less clear.

    Let's take a care of what is similar first.

    'care' is a non-count noun in this use. The article 'a' doesn't belong here.

    This was a silly comparison. Comparing a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker with a button to prompt an assistant with a speaker that adjusts its audio, and has a vocal prompt for the assistant is a bad comparison. They both have AirPlay, but so does the very cheap and small Jam Voice speaker. Zipp sounds good, and it's battery-powered, but it's no HomePod, and it isn't meant to be. Alexa was grafted onto Zipp through an update, it wasn't released with it. Should we also compare a Logitech UE Boom with HomePod? It's just as absurd.

    edited April 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 38
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 217member
    Soli said:
    wigby said:
    Why did I have to read all the way to end to find out that this speaker doesn’t even listen for commands? There is some mention of Alexa integration but this speaker should not be conpared to any smart speakers because I don’t see how it’s even smart. It is simply another airplay speaker that borrows a few features from HomePod but not the good ones. Even the greatest sound in the world doesn’t appeal to me if I have to use a dedicated app instead of my voice.
    1) This is a speaker review which states it's an AirPlay speaker in the title, but if you want to compare intelligence and capabilities then HomePod can't really be compared to smart speakers when it's only reasonable voice activation option is music playback. On top of that, being a BT capable speaker as well as having an audio-in port it can easily be connected to any Echo, Google Home, or other full service smart speakers.

    2) It's hard to take any comment that starts with "why did I have to read all the way to end" seriously when you quote the entire article in your reply.
    Hear hear Soli (pun not intended).
    Soli
  • Reply 12 of 38
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 243member, editor
    Soli said:
    wigby said:
    Why did I have to read all the way to end to find out that this speaker doesn’t even listen for commands? There is some mention of Alexa integration but this speaker should not be conpared to any smart speakers because I don’t see how it’s even smart. It is simply another airplay speaker that borrows a few features from HomePod but not the good ones. Even the greatest sound in the world doesn’t appeal to me if I have to use a dedicated app instead of my voice.
    1) This is a speaker review which states it's an AirPlay speaker in the title, but if you want to compare intelligence and capabilities then HomePod can't really be compared to smart speakers when it's only reasonable voice activation option is music playback. On top of that, being a BT capable speaker as well as having an audio-in port it can easily be connected to any Echo, Google Home, or other full service smart speakers.

    2) It's hard to take any comment that starts with "why did I have to read all the way to end" seriously when you quote the entire article in your reply.
    Good question!

    1) You're totally right that something like an Echo DOT can be connected to the Aux port. Know what is even better? Full on Amazon Alexa built in. And that is coming in a future update. I just delve into it into the article. I got to briefly test this out and it worked really well. Alexa and Google Home are both far smarter speakers than Siri is at this point. So if you are looking to compare smarts, Libratone will have Alexa built in, just like an Echo, and HomePod still has Siri.

    Soli
  • Reply 13 of 38
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,055member
    Speaking of pause, on the HomePod all you have to do is say: "Hey Siri pause" and "Hey Siri resume."

    No scrambling or fumbling for anything.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    Lab4UsLab4Us Posts: 30member
    "...Our favorite command, though, has to be the hush feature. Too many times am I at my desk listening to music when my girlfriend asks me a question. My usual recourse is to tap the speaker to pause, or scramble for my iPhone to pause it there..."

    If I'm at my desk and listening to music that would mean I'm at my computer doing stuff. In which case if the gf comes in I'll just hit the spacebar, keeping my speaker within arms reach and putting my hand on top of it, just so that while the gf is talking I can still have some softer mood music in the background, seems to defeat the purpose. Plus I don't get to miss any of the song. I just find it hard to believe that you'd really pine for this feature on a HomePod.
    I kind of chuckled at this being the favorite command.  As if it’s too hard to say “Hey Siri, volume 10 (or whatever)” instead of getting up and walking to your speaker, and then saying “Hey Siri, volume 50” when you’re ready to resume.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,061member
    I guess I have gotten used to Jony Ive’s elegant designs. I don’t care how it sounds. It’s ugly.
    jcs2305watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 243member, editor
    vmarks said:
    Zipp easily one-ups the HomePod on this front.
    Using the small circular screen, you can tap to play/pause, use the arrows to go forward/back in your tracks, and even choose from one of five customizable favorites.

    Zipp does NOT have a screen on the top of it. How does it one-up HomePod on this front? HomePod has a screen with a touch capacitive sense volume up/down control. Zipp has no screen and touch capacitive sense vol up/dn and track forward/back, with the mystery meat interface (not labeled controls are mystery meat - you don't know what you're going to get until you use them. Mystery meat here: tap to play/pause, 5 customizable other taps, and hover-the-hand for hush-not-mute.)

    If the author is suggesting that Zipp is better because it has more controls on the top surface, fine, but he should say so directly, rather than tell us Zipp has a screen it hasn't got.

    Smart speaker integration: You have to use Alexa, and you have to press a button on the top of the speaker to wake it, rather than use the wake word. It's essentially a glorified Echo Tap before Amazon allowed that device to use the wake word courtesy of a software update.



    The reviewer didn't clarify well is whether the speaker is acting like a Google Chromecast in the way it fetches audio. When Chromecast gets music from Spotify, it is pulling that music directly to the Chromecast, and not using the phone in the middle. That is, the audio is not being routed from phone and then to the speaker, but the phone sends the speaker a URL, and the speaker fetches it directly. This means that if the phone powers off or the app quits, the music still goes on. I suspect Zipp is not doing this, because they can't do it for Bluetooth, and they want a consistent user experience - music works the same way for them over BT as over Wi-Fi.

    Zipp is a Wi-Fi-equipped speaker, so it is capable of streaming Spotify, Tidal, or internet radio all on its own. No device necessary. Wi-Fi is not a requirement though. Music can also be played over Bluetooth or using the auxiliary audio port located on the back.
    That suggests that music is routed like Chromecast Audio, but then confuses it by immediately saying Wi-Fi is not a requirement, when it is if you intend to stream directly to the speaker from one of those sources. Instead of making the audio routing more clear, the author makes it less clear.

    Let's take a care of what is similar first.

    'care' is a non-count noun in this use. The article 'a' doesn't belong here.

    This was a silly comparison. Comparing a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker with a button to prompt an assistant with a speaker that adjusts its audio, and has a vocal prompt for the assistant is a bad comparison. They both have AirPlay, but so does the very cheap and small Jam Voice speaker. Zipp sounds good, and it's battery-powered, but it's no HomePod, and it isn't meant to be. Alexa was grafted onto Zipp through an update, it wasn't released with it. Should we also compare a Logitech UE Boom with HomePod? It's just as absurd.

    Lots to tackle here! Let's check it out!

    So your first critique based on the controls of the unit. I still stick with my original description. It may not be the blurry colorful display of the HomePod, but it is still a display. It changes what it shows based on what you are doing (selecting a favorite vs controlling music, vs setting up a sound space, vs off). You also try to criticize the controls as "mystery meat" because you don't know what they are. Fact is, they are more labeled than the ones on the HomePod. HomePod has no identification on any button. Whether play/pause, prev/next, volume, Siri, etc. The Zipp shows you these controls during the setup so most should know how to use them. On top of that, the controls are extremely similar to the HomePod.

    HomePod has basic controls, I think the Zipp has more controls, as well as additional features. Ones like "hush" are super useful. Favorites allow you to jump to your favorite stuff without your device. And Amazon Alexa subs in as the virtual assistant. Right now, yes, it requires a button press to activate Alexa. But just like Amazon did, this is something Libratone could change in the future.

    As far as the audio goes, I believe this works solely on the speaker, not requiring your device. Wi-Fi is required for Spotify, Internet radio, and Tidal. But when you take it on the go and use Bluetooth, you'd have to stream it that way. So it uses Wi-Fi when available, and your phone when it's not. I think that is the best way to do it.

    The comparison is still not absurd. They are both mid-range speakers, both have virtual assistants, and both are Wi-FI based and support AirPlay. Fact is, in my experience, it sounds better than HomePod, can be moved unlike HomePod, has a bunch of additional features lacking on HomePod (Aux input, Bluetooth input, battery, USB output, more controls, Spotify streaming, Tidal streaming, audio profiles, and more), and overall is a better device. It is a few bucks cheaper too.

    I've used both quite a while and there are three areas that HomePod bests the Zipp. Setup/iOS integration. The ability to move your device near it to start setup is so nice. Siri/Apple Music support. I do like Siri, and would prefer to use Siri over Alexa. I also use Apple Music, so Spotify integration on the Zipp doesn't affect me, but that isn't the case for many users. Lastly, bass. Many people like the over-pronounced bass found on the HomePod. 

    These products are extremely similar and aimed at a similar audience. It is perfectly apt to compare them.
    larryamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 38
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 243member, editor
    Lab4Us said:
    "...Our favorite command, though, has to be the hush feature. Too many times am I at my desk listening to music when my girlfriend asks me a question. My usual recourse is to tap the speaker to pause, or scramble for my iPhone to pause it there..."

    If I'm at my desk and listening to music that would mean I'm at my computer doing stuff. In which case if the gf comes in I'll just hit the spacebar, keeping my speaker within arms reach and putting my hand on top of it, just so that while the gf is talking I can still have some softer mood music in the background, seems to defeat the purpose. Plus I don't get to miss any of the song. I just find it hard to believe that you'd really pine for this feature on a HomePod.
    I kind of chuckled at this being the favorite command.  As if it’s too hard to say “Hey Siri, volume 10 (or whatever)” instead of getting up and walking to your speaker, and then saying “Hey Siri, volume 50” when you’re ready to resume.
    My speaker is just sitting on my desk. Thing is, if you are streaming certain things over AirPlay and you try to play/pause, it doesn't always pick up where it left off on the HomePod. That is one reason I like being able to "hush" instead. Secondly, if I am listening to something live, which I do a lot, I don't want to pause. I want it in real time. "Hush" again solves that problem. I also think it is kind of rude when my girlfriend is talking me I say in a loud and clear voice "Hey Siri volume 50%".
  • Reply 18 of 38
    The comments about bass and Apple/Beats products is such an overused cliche. In this instance, the fact that HomePod has far more power and response for bass is being treated like it's a negative rather than a positive. The user has the ability on HomePod to manually adjust equalization if they want less bass response. But if you do like bass, there's no compromise. How does that turn into a "win" for the Zipp? Likewise, it doesn't appear that the Zipp has any auto adjustment of the sound for the space like the HomePod. It doesn't have a controller like the A8 and it doesn't have the sophisticated microphone array. And yet the review treats the Zipp like it's directing sound around the room in the same way. It's not. It's not even remotely similar for that. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 38
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 692editor
    vmarks said:
    Zipp easily one-ups the HomePod on this front.
    Using the small circular screen, you can tap to play/pause, use the arrows to go forward/back in your tracks, and even choose from one of five customizable favorites.

    Zipp does NOT have a screen on the top of it. How does it one-up HomePod on this front? HomePod has a screen with a touch capacitive sense volume up/down control. Zipp has no screen and touch capacitive sense vol up/dn and track forward/back, with the mystery meat interface (not labeled controls are mystery meat - you don't know what you're going to get until you use them. Mystery meat here: tap to play/pause, 5 customizable other taps, and hover-the-hand for hush-not-mute.)

    If the author is suggesting that Zipp is better because it has more controls on the top surface, fine, but he should say so directly, rather than tell us Zipp has a screen it hasn't got.

    Smart speaker integration: You have to use Alexa, and you have to press a button on the top of the speaker to wake it, rather than use the wake word. It's essentially a glorified Echo Tap before Amazon allowed that device to use the wake word courtesy of a software update.



    The reviewer didn't clarify well is whether the speaker is acting like a Google Chromecast in the way it fetches audio. When Chromecast gets music from Spotify, it is pulling that music directly to the Chromecast, and not using the phone in the middle. That is, the audio is not being routed from phone and then to the speaker, but the phone sends the speaker a URL, and the speaker fetches it directly. This means that if the phone powers off or the app quits, the music still goes on. I suspect Zipp is not doing this, because they can't do it for Bluetooth, and they want a consistent user experience - music works the same way for them over BT as over Wi-Fi.

    Zipp is a Wi-Fi-equipped speaker, so it is capable of streaming Spotify, Tidal, or internet radio all on its own. No device necessary. Wi-Fi is not a requirement though. Music can also be played over Bluetooth or using the auxiliary audio port located on the back.
    That suggests that music is routed like Chromecast Audio, but then confuses it by immediately saying Wi-Fi is not a requirement, when it is if you intend to stream directly to the speaker from one of those sources. Instead of making the audio routing more clear, the author makes it less clear.

    Let's take a care of what is similar first.

    'care' is a non-count noun in this use. The article 'a' doesn't belong here.

    This was a silly comparison. Comparing a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker with a button to prompt an assistant with a speaker that adjusts its audio, and has a vocal prompt for the assistant is a bad comparison. They both have AirPlay, but so does the very cheap and small Jam Voice speaker. Zipp sounds good, and it's battery-powered, but it's no HomePod, and it isn't meant to be. Alexa was grafted onto Zipp through an update, it wasn't released with it. Should we also compare a Logitech UE Boom with HomePod? It's just as absurd.

    Lots to tackle here! Let's check it out!

    So your first critique based on the controls of the unit. I still stick with my original description. It may not be the blurry colorful display of the HomePod, but it is still a display. It changes what it shows based on what you are doing (selecting a favorite vs controlling music, vs setting up a sound space, vs off). You also try to criticize the controls as "mystery meat" because you don't know what they are. Fact is, they are more labeled than the ones on the HomePod. HomePod has no identification on any button. Whether play/pause, prev/next, volume, Siri, etc. The Zipp shows you these controls during the setup so most should know how to use them. On top of that, the controls are extremely similar to the HomePod.

    HomePod has basic controls, I think the Zipp has more controls, as well as additional features. Ones like "hush" are super useful. Favorites allow you to jump to your favorite stuff without your device. And Amazon Alexa subs in as the virtual assistant. Right now, yes, it requires a button press to activate Alexa. But just like Amazon did, this is something Libratone could change in the future.

    As far as the audio goes, I believe this works solely on the speaker, not requiring your device. Wi-Fi is required for Spotify, Internet radio, and Tidal. But when you take it on the go and use Bluetooth, you'd have to stream it that way. So it uses Wi-Fi when available, and your phone when it's not. I think that is the best way to do it.

    The comparison is still not absurd. They are both mid-range speakers, both have virtual assistants, and both are Wi-FI based and support AirPlay. Fact is, in my experience, it sounds better than HomePod, can be moved unlike HomePod, has a bunch of additional features lacking on HomePod (Aux input, Bluetooth input, battery, USB output, more controls, Spotify streaming, Tidal streaming, audio profiles, and more), and overall is a better device. It is a few bucks cheaper too.

    I've used both quite a while and there are three areas that HomePod bests the Zipp. Setup/iOS integration. The ability to move your device near it to start setup is so nice. Siri/Apple Music support. I do like Siri, and would prefer to use Siri over Alexa. I also use Apple Music, so Spotify integration on the Zipp doesn't affect me, but that isn't the case for many users. Lastly, bass. Many people like the over-pronounced bass found on the HomePod. 

    These products are extremely similar and aimed at a similar audience. It is perfectly apt to compare them.
    It's not a display. Zipp does not have a display. It's a touch capacitive sense control with lit targets for touch. It does not change what those icons are. It doesn't draw on a screen. It hasn't got any pixels, and there's no resolution. It's not a display. This is a very basic, easy thing to define, and you're using the incorrect word.

    Homepod has a display that's fairly useless, vaguely showing Siri animations - but it is a full color display with pixels and resolution. Its controls are adjacent to the display and the industrial design makes it look as if they're part of the display - but they're cap sense on the perimeter around the display.

    A control interaction that isn't expressed in a way that the user knows what's going to happen before they initiate it is mystery meat interface. Yes, you have two more interactions that are labeled than HomePod, track forward and back. Play/pause is not labeled. Hush is not labeled. They're mystery meat. You have to discover them accidentally by trying, rather than knowing what you're going to get before you do.

    Instead of thinking that Zipp is using the speaker over Wi-Fi to retrieve the audio and using the phone as the controller to select it (passing the URL to the speaker to go fetch audio independently of the phone) why didn't you ask Libratone? Your response here sounds like you presumed. We have the press contacts for them, we should really ask them, don't you think? And, the way you wrote the paragraph still says "Wi-Fi is not required" directly after talking about a function that only works with Wi-Fi. This should have been laid out much more clearly.

    Again: Alexa was an afterthought for this speaker. It didn't ship with Alexa when the product first shipped, it arrived via software update. The way that you prompt Alexa on it is the most inconvenient way possible: you have to get up and physically touch the touch sense controller on its top, which was so bad an idea that Amazon updated the Echo Tap to not require the button press when it's plugged into wall power. Zipp is a fine Bluetooth speaker, and a good AirPlay speaker, but it's a very weird item to compare with HomePod on smart speaker footing.

    edited April 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 38
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 692editor
    Soli said:
    wigby said:
    Why did I have to read all the way to end to find out that this speaker doesn’t even listen for commands? There is some mention of Alexa integration but this speaker should not be conpared to any smart speakers because I don’t see how it’s even smart. It is simply another airplay speaker that borrows a few features from HomePod but not the good ones. Even the greatest sound in the world doesn’t appeal to me if I have to use a dedicated app instead of my voice.
    1) This is a speaker review which states it's an AirPlay speaker in the title, but if you want to compare intelligence and capabilities then HomePod can't really be compared to smart speakers when it's only reasonable voice activation option is music playback. On top of that, being a BT capable speaker as well as having an audio-in port it can easily be connected to any Echo, Google Home, or other full service smart speakers.

    2) It's hard to take any comment that starts with "why did I have to read all the way to end" seriously when you quote the entire article in your reply.
    Good question!

    1) You're totally right that something like an Echo DOT can be connected to the Aux port. Know what is even better? Full on Amazon Alexa built in. And that is coming in a future update. I just delve into it into the article. I got to briefly test this out and it worked really well. Alexa and Google Home are both far smarter speakers than Siri is at this point. So if you are looking to compare smarts, Libratone will have Alexa built in, just like an Echo, and HomePod still has Siri.

    We can't compare things based on what they "will have" in the future, only on the functionality it has today. There's no guarantee that Zipp will gain the ability to use Alexa via the wake word.

    watto_cobra
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