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Hands-on with the Libratone Zipp AirPlay speaker (gallery)

I have used quite a few Bluetooth speaker solutions and some have been great, but Apple's AirPlay via WiFi promised more. The unique Libratone Zipp plays flawlessly and is a serious AirPlay speaker to consider.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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Front of the Libratone Zipp retail package

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Back of the Libratone Zipp package

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I enjoyed the line that you see when you open the package and get ready to check out the contents.

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The retail box contains the charger, extra wool covers, and detailed instructions.

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PlayDirect is Libratone's cool technology that lets you make a direct WiFi connection to the speaker with no router or network needed.

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The Zipp speaker and rest of the A/C charger is found in the lower part of the retail box.

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Here is the Zipp in the default gray wool blanket with the A/C adapter.

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The top is white with an older iPod looking control button. You press the logo to turn the speaker on and off while the ring is used for volume with a light indicator on it.

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The battery indicator, PlayDirect and AirPlay indicators and buttons are in one area with the USB port and aux jack below.

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The leather strap is used to carry the speaker, but can also rotate to cover up the controls when you have it set on a table.

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Here you can see how it compares to the Nokia Play 360 speaker in size.

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The A/C adapter plugs in to the bottom and there is an opening so the speaker sits flat when plugged in.

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Here is a shot of the naked Zipp with the wool blanket removed.

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This shows how the wool cover fits around the control area. Take it slow when removing or attaching the wool in the area of the controls.

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I now have the blue cover on the Zipp.

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The Libratone iOS app lets you control settings on the speaker.

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You can optimize the way the sound comes out of the Zipp using the iOS utility.

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More connection settings in the iOS app.

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There are default equalizer sound settings for you to choose from as well.

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When you plug in to the Libratone Zipp via USB you get this pop-up.

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When you use a music app you can tap the icon and choose the Libratone Zipp as the audio output.

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Speaker firmware updates are managed via the iOS app.

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As you can see the Libratone appears in your WiFi network settings.

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