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Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air review

8.8/10 AVG.
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Specs / Features

Wireless Inputs Airplay
Warranty (Months) 24 months
Size 71 x 30 cm (28 x 11.8 in)
Weight N/A
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Reviews summary section

What's good

  • Excellent sound fidelity on acoustic music
  • Wireless streaming via AirPlay
  • Easy setup

What's bad

  • Somewhat weak bass
  • Control lag when pausing, playing or adjusting volume wirelessly

Like its predecessor, the Zeppelin Air has the same oblong shape that hearkens back to the flying airships of the past that shared the same name. Measuring in at a little over 2 feet in length and weighing 13.5 pounds, it is larger than many other iPod docks available. Its large size is due to the five drivers, – two 3-inch midrange drivers, two 1-inch aluminum tweeters and a 5-inch subwoofer – which are hidden away by the curved cloth grilles. The rear of the speaker has Ethernet and USB ports, a 3.5mm audio input, Lightning connector and a composite video output. Besides an iPod dock, the Zeppelin Air also allows wireless streaming via AirPlay.

Besides a couple design tweaks, the biggest improvement is its simplified setup. Now you only need to download the control iOS app and tap through some screens to connect the speaker to the WiFi network. A purple light indicates the speaker has been connected. Experts warn that the process is much more complicated when using a PC over a Mac. While wireless streaming generally worked, they did experience some dropouts and interference when they strayed too far from the WiFi router. As well, they also dealt with control lag and it can take a few seconds to play, pause or even adjust the volume of a track.

Of course what matters the most is sound quality and the Zeppelin Air delivers. For the size, reviewers consider it to be one of the best speakers in terms of quality even when compared to more recent desktop iPod docks. They describe it as having a clean and powerful sound though they add the bass is somewhat weak. Still, Digital Trends states, "The bass is much bigger and deeper than we thought it would be…The bass gets a little hollow and boomy and higher volumes, but never bottoms out or goes flat." In general, critics recommend it for more acoustic music such as classical or bluegrass for the most accurate reproduction and soundscape.

Despite some flaws, reviewers were still impressed with the Zeppelin Air. PC Mag states, "The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air remains one of the best-sounding speakers we've tested…" Crutchfield adds, "The Zeppelin Air sounds substantially better than the first-generation…And the added functionality of Apple AirPlay made it a definite asset…"

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