Bowers & Wilkins is a well-known and highly respectable company which specializes in high-end audio systems. These speakers have exceptional design and amazing sound quality, but that also comes with a price. Nevertheless, these speakers and audio systems are in their own product category and are not competing with those affordable speakers ($150-200) which are not expensive, but which can’t deliver AirPlay quality.
A couple of months ago, we have reviewed a wireless speaker named A7, which is probably one of the best AirPlay speakers that you can buy, but which is priced at $800. Today we are going to talk about another product made by Bowers & Wilkins, which also impressed us with its output quality, and that’s a speaker named Z2 speaker.
Z2 comes with AirPlay functionality, which means that you can wirelessly stream music from your iOS devices and Macs as well, but it also offers the Lightning port, so you can simply plug-in your iPhone 5 and the music will start flowing. Just as you can expect from Bowers & Wilkins, Z2 is exceptionally crafted product which will find its prominent place on a shelf or a desk in your room. It is a bit rounded in shape and comes with a certain curvature, but it’s minimalistic in design. Its top side is a bit inclined and recessed, and holds the Lightning port and two touch-sensitive volume buttons. It is very easy to place and pick up a phone, yet it will be stable and easy to control. Touch-sensitive volume buttons work well and they are almost hidden. On the bottom right of Z2 you can find a single LED light, which signalizes when a speaker is on/off, connected to Wi-Fi, as well in some cases like initial setup of troubleshooting.
You will also receive a small plastic remote where you can find all the controls (power button, volume, play/pause, previous, next). There’s also an input selection button using which you can select the Lightning port, AirPlay streaming, or the AUX port. There’s no such button of the Z2 itself, which I really didn’t like. In case you lose this remote, I am not sure you’ll be able to switch the input selection, which is a serious problem.
In order to play music via Lightning port, you can simply place your iPhone and the music will start playing. But in order to use AirPlay streaming, you’ll need to pair these two. Bowers & Wilkins designed their own iOS app which assists during this process. You’ll get to use very simple and nicely explained tutorial, so the initial setup should be a breeze.
No matter if your play music through the Lightning port or via AirPlay, sound quality will remain the same. Sound is very rich in all frequencies, and can be really loud. Inside Z2 there are two 3.5inch drivers and two 20Watt amplifiers. You will also notice some bass, which is in pair with the small size of this speaker.