When it comes to accessory speakers for iOS devices, no product impressed me more than the Wren Sound Systems V5AP AirPlay speaker that I reviewed back in June. This is a gorgeous piece of equipment with sound quality to match, but it surprised me that Wren Sound Systems chose to link to the speaker via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. Fast-forward to now, when the company has provided TUAW with a test unit of the new Bluetooth-equipped V5BT (US$399.00).
What's great about supporting Bluetooth is that the device now works with a vast ecosystem of devices, not only iPhones, iPads and iPod touches, but a huge number of Bluetooth 2.0 and newer smartphones and tablets as well. Rather than going Apple-proprietary like the V5AP, the Wren V5BT opens up to the world.
I won't repeat my entire review here, as the beautiful design, intuitive controls, and amazing sound quality of the V5AP carries over to this new addition to the Wren line. Both finishes -- natural bamboo and rosewood -- are now available and shipping, and the build quality is just as amazing as what I saw with the earlier model.
As I'd expect from Wren, setup is about as easy as it gets. After plugging in the unit, all I had to do was go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap on the Wren Speaker listing to pair. That was it... The sound quality was just as good as I remembered -- one thing I would recommend to owners, though, is that the speaker be placed so that it is on a level with your ears. It might be due to the wood exterior, but I noticed that if I stood next to the speaker with my head above it, treble tones sounded a bit muted. When I was right in line with the speaker, the sound quality was just stunning.
Seriously, if there was just one accessory that I wish Santa would bring me this year, I'd wish for a Wren Sound Systems V5BT speaker -- it's that good. My conclusion is literally identical to that for the V5AP, because there's no improving on perfection.
Many AirPlay or Bluetooth speakers on the market are plagued with either boring design, bad sound, or complicated setup. Wren's V5BT is simple to set up, pleasant to look at, and boasts audiophile sound quality.
Beautiful case design
Easy to use controls
One tap pairing
Best-in-class sound quality
Uninspired use of a generic AC adapter that Steve Jobs would hate
Who is it for?
The connoisseur of good design and excellent sound quality -- in other words, the V5BT is perfect for any Apple customer