Multi-room speaker systems are on the rise, with Sonos as the current title holder while Bose and Libratone each work on their own competitors -- not to mention Apple's AirPlay. Now Samsung throws its hat into the ring with the Shape Wireless Audio System, offering Bluetooth on top of multiple streaming services. While its first product, the M7, offers solid sound, the lack of available streaming services and a so-so app experience keep it from being a real contender right now.
PC Mag says the M7 resembles "a big Trivial Pursuit wedge," but Digital Trends says the speaker "looked right at home with today's minimalist speaker designs." That angular, minimalist design gives you the flexibility to either lay the speaker flat, or use a stand to keep it upright. However, Digital Trends did take issue with Samsung's decision to put the ports on the back, which makes it "tedious" to insert or remove cables.
The sound quality is decent enough, with Trusted Reviews noting the M7 "fills a room easily" and CNET says it "sounds better" than its Sonos competitor, the Play:3. But other critics were lukewarm on the M7, with PC Mag finding the performance "solid, but not particularly impressive" for the price, and HD Guru simply says it offers "decent performance."
While the Shape system offers Bluetooth and NFC support, it doesn't come with the extensive support for streaming services more well-established competitors like Sonos provide. Digital Trends was "unable" to use their phone while playing music through the app, and CNET notes some "grumpiness in the form of app nonresponsiveness or dropouts."
With a suggested price of $399 you'd expect a rock-solid experience, but the M7 isn't ready to offer it yet. However, the app issues are fixable, and in the future could yield a better experience. In the meantime, it's best to tread cautiously when it comes to Samsung's Shape system.