Bowers & Wilkins expands Formation family with Flex wireless speaker

Bowers & Wilkins expands Formation family with Flex wireless speaker
(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Bowers & Wilkins' Formation range of wireless, multi-room hi-fi has done rather well since its spring arrival. Both the Formation Wedge wireless speaker and Formation Duo wireless stereo speakers have walked out of our test room clutching five-star reviews.

Today, the Formation range – the Wedge, Duo and the Formation Bar soundbar, Formation Bass subwoofer and Formation Audio wireless hub – is welcoming a sixth member to the family: the Formation Flex.

The Flex, like the Wedge, is a standalone wireless speaker – but it takes on a completely different shape, more reminiscent of the market’s compact, cylindrical fare than its sibling’s much larger, elliptical (ish) form.

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The Formation Flex is designed to be used independently, in a stereo pair, or as the rear speakers in a 5.1 home cinema set-up when paired with the Formation Bar and Bass.

With the connection between Formation kit being conveniently wireless, B&W promises “perfect” one-microsecond synchronisation, as well as strong and seamless wi-fi connectivity through its own patented mesh network.

In line with its siblings, the 100W speaker supports AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon and aptX HD Bluetooth, as well as 24-bit/96kHz streaming. A Dynamic EQ works to optimise the Flex’s performance in real time, too, although EQ can also be adjusted manually in the dedicated B&W Formation set-up app.

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The fact that it not only shares the same engineering team behind rest of the range (and B&W’s flagship 800 Series Diamond speakers) but also borrows the decoupled double dome tweeter from the company’s well-reviewed 600 Series gives us confidence in the Flex’s sonic ability. On paper, the 10cm woven glass fibre mid/bass driver derived from B&W's M-1 satellites shouldn’t let the side down either.

Naturally, though, the jury’s out until we hear it for ourselves. The Formation Flex will launch in the UK at the end of the month, priced £399.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.