Key Features: 2 x 3.5-inch drivers; Class D amp; AirPlay; Lightning dock connector; Aux input
Manufacturer: Bowers & Wilkins.
This speaker functions both as a wireless dock, using Apple’s AirPlay standard, and as a more traditional jam-your-phone-in-the-top dock. It uses the Lightning port, and there are no plans to produce a 30-pin version.
The Bowers & Wilkins Z2 more-or-less ignores Android users, although there is a 3.5mm auxiliary jack on the rear should you want to plug in another source. When quizzed about its decision to leave out Bluetooth, Bowers & Wilkins said there were no plans to change the current Apple-oriented strategy, but teased with the addendum that you never know what might happen in the future.
Bowers & Wilkins has tuned the unit to mitigate another issue with small speakers too – limited bass. The Bowers & Wilkins Z2 has a fairly warm sound, with decent bassy thwack for a little unit.
It’s clever, easy to use, and has sound that we’d happily listen to casually. However, there are naturally limitations in a speaker box this small. Bass depth and sound separation are fairly limited, as is treble detailing – not surprising given the lack of separate tweeters.
These are all things to expect from something that relies on a pair of fairly small drivers, but is something that we find hard to swallow when paying over £300. It’s a problem of many smaller AirPlay docks, which command up to a £100 premium over their non-wireless counterparts. AirPlay doesn’t come cheap, apparently.
However, if the cash means little to you and you’re after a classy smaller dock that produces good sound quality in a small package, the Bowers & Wilkins Z2 sounds like a winner.