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DandyCobalt's picture
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Joined: 08/10/2010 - 14:58
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AQ SmartSpeaker - first impressions
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After seeing this in the news section, http://www.whathifi.com/news/aq-smartspeaker-streams-from-airplay-android-or-windows-devices

AQAudioSmartSpeaker

I thought it looked like just the job for the kitchen to stream Spotify (while washing up or cooking) and also for Mrs C to listen to her american internet radio stuff.

So I took the plunge and ordered one through standard delivery last Thursday - very surprised that it arrived the next day...good start.

On Friday I charged it up and started the connection procedure - they give you various methods in the instruction manual...

1) direct to ipad/iphone etc

2) using their free app via the app store

3) via web browser

Using an ipad and an ipad2, neither of the first two options worked (running ios 5.1, wifi via Airport Extreme), so eventually had to phone up their customer services. Got through straightaway and was talked through the web-browser route, still using the ipad.

This made the connection (very strange that the first two "easy" routes didn't work).

Started streaming Spotify and I must admit that the sound is very acceptable for a kitchen (I only have one speaker, so mono). The speaker is quite discrete (about the size of one of those fresh soup packets) and smart.

The streaming quality is good, but at higher volumes it became a bit crackly. Not a problem personally in the kitchen environment but maybe a general problem with wifi streaming? (which I I don't particularly like generally).

I played some Priscilla Ahn and Dylan Leblanc. The Smartspeaker certainly seemd to give the first a lot of air, and was a very pleasant listen (knowing what it also sounds like through a full hifi setup).

The acid test was that after a weekend, it is still in the kitchen, so has passed the very difficult "Mrs C (you didn't really buy this for me) test" .

It would be good if there was some sort of wall-mounting system, as our kitchen is not large and the surfaces tend to get used for cooking (surprisingly). Perhaps a system for mounting it upside down under a cabinet (with a slide in/out mount so that it can be removed for recharging)

Also, it probably needs some sort of carry-case (or even a tin that it could fit inside) if it's going to be used outside (it is not a rugged design).

AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: AQ SmartSpeaker - first impressions

I was also looking into these today for the kitchen.

How would you describe their sound in more detail?

Agree they need some mounting options e.g. on top/sides of the overhead cupboards, upside down etc. Simple inexpensive brakets styled well is all that is needed. Since these are portables, a clip-on arrangement coudl be great.

The name of the speaekers includes 'portable' which makes me think they are also working on a non-portable one?

Do you use them with airplay from a computer? do you use them with mains power or battery? do they need to be switched on manually before you can play or do they wake up when you send music to them?

DandyCobalt's picture
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RE: AQ SmartSpeaker - first impressions

I use it on battery power, and you need to tap the on button on the top to get it going.

About 20 secs later the ipad (which I've mounted on the wall in a fixing from the apple store) picks up the speaker in the Airplay speakers list.

However, the wifi transmission does get lost from time to time (always a problem in our house, even with 50mb Virgin, in theory).

So, my conclusion is...it's ok.

Signal dropout is a big problem if you like music - who would buy a broken CD player. So I'd always recommend the hard-wired route.

I think it will be a tolerated addition to my gadget collection - but a DAB radio would probably serve a better purpose. Perhaps a PURE Evoke Flow would have been a better choice. I have one in the bathroom and it does more.

 

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