Lightning connector and GREAT sound
For those wanting a mobile speaker for their "iDevice", the new connector on the iPhone 5 and latest iPods made it necessary to choose between an adapter cord (no longer truly docking) or going wireless. The dock speakers have the innate advantage of charging the device or keeping it from depleting while playing. Docking speakers with the Lightning connector have been slow to come out. A couple of the initial offerings have been lower end (bad sound, not great construction). Finally, here is the fix! B&W released the Z2 as the latest in their Zeppelin (shaped) speakers and speaker docks at the end of March, 2013. It was immediately reviewed in a popular PC MAGazine and received their Editor's Choice award. It supports Apple's AirPlay so you can go wireless if you wish, even relaying from one Apple device to the next in your rooms. The form factor is about the size of a slightly deflated football--just barely over a foot long--so it's compact without being small. The bigger brother, an updated Zepplin Air, is scheduled to be released in June with a retail of $599. If you're looking for a system immediately, you would do well to confirm that you're getting an Air with Lightning from your vendor (as when new models come out there is always initial labeling confusion). The sound defies the size of the unit, though! (It's rated at 40 watts but sounds MUCH more powerful than I expected. The highest volumes do give up some clarity.) The bass is clear without being overpowering. (B&W uses Flowport technology--and you would be forgiven for thinking Bose here in the best way possible. It similarly uses a tunnel to craft sound within the device. The rear-facing port is dimpled to expand its surface area, like a golf ball. It works well!) It can be played loudly enough to fill a crowded room with sound and yet sounds clear and accurate. It also has the minijack connector for non-Lightning, non-wireless connection if you'd like. And it even has an Ethernet network port so that it can snap into equipped TVs or home entertainment systems. It has all the connections covered. And yes, it comes with a remote for when your device is docked in the Z2 and out of reach.
The retail on the system is $399--be careful about what you pay as I found a very high listing here as I wrote this review. Better availability, as it's brand new, will likely correct over-pricing soon. It may also reflect some of the initial confusion between the Z2 and the upcoming Zepplin Air (full-sized) model. Several web retailers already stock the system. The black colored model is currently available; the white is supposed to be released in May.
If you own B&W headphones, you likely already know what kind of quality and sound precision to expect. I was not disappointed. They are known for doing a great job with signal processing and use great drivers in an affordable package. If you're looking for an Apple-compatible, Lighting-based connector in a portable speaker system, you've found the best out right now. And it's not likely to be outpaced by much, or any time soon, by another system. NOTE: it may be obvious, but the divot in which the Lightning connector resides makes it impossible to connect the new iPads or Mini. You would have to connect wirelessly to the system.
The system is new and I'm sure it will improve some with "burn in". I intend to update this review within sixty days with how it has held up to being moved from room to room, the occasional (oh, no) grab by a cookie-crumbler, and the like. I hope you found this helpful!
Great sound and overall functionality.
This is a great product, has an impeccable sound for the size of the unit. It's everything you'd expect from Bowers & Wilkins. Airplay functionality is fairly consistent, as far as that technology performs, I find it very pleasing overall.
The only "flaw" I've experienced is the shape of the remote control; Although it's cool and useful, it keeps moving because its shape and sometimes its hard to know which end is the front one.
Love this speaker system!
Amazing sound. Really fills the space. Was easy to set up. Unobtrusive, sleek design fits seamlessly with my decor. Highly recommend.