In this review, we will take a look at some of the best Airplay speakers for home use that you can consider of purchasing. These wireless speakers offer some of the premium audio production and a wide connectivity range that is ideal for your home party. However, before we go ahead and reveal the list of top speakers let us talk a little bit in-depth about this Apple’s proprietary wireless technology and the supported devices.
Why Should You Choose AirPlay Speakers?
With Airplay speakers, media files are transferrable to other supported gadgets via home Wi-Fi system. Therefore, as long as all of the devices are connectable to your home Wi-Fi, you can stream these files to them one at a time or simultaneously. It uses Apple’s Lossless Codec that has a very low overhead. The uncompressed audio data and the lack of data dropouts ensure a pristine and high-quality state of audio sound.
Secondly, this type of speaker is also ideal for your home party because, unlike Bluetooth, the broad range provided by your home Wi-Fi allows you to move around in your home freely without having to worry about disconnecting the music streaming.
The third reason to choose AirPlay speakers over others is due to the excellent capability of transferring video files from your Apple gadget to your home smart TVs. Plus, you can also stream your favorite TV shows directly from your Netflix or Youtube account to your big screen.
Demystifying Wireless: Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, Airplay, and DLNA
Bluetooth is perhaps one of the most prevalent wireless technologies currently available on the market. You can find Bluetooth chips on most products such as smartphones, speakers, computers, televisions, and even home electronic appliances such as air conditioners, fans, and lights. Besides being ubiquitous, it is also quite versatile as it works on many operating systems like Android, Windows Phones, and iOS. Bluetooth allows users to transfer files and audio data wirelessly from one device to another. It is very easy to do the pairing and once connected, file sharing is possible. Since it is very common, the price point has lowered throughout the times and is very affordable. The setback of this type of technology is that the transferred data is highly compressed. Therefore, there is a loss of sound quality in the music that you play over Bluetooth.
Near Field Communication, also famously known as NFC, offers safe and quick wireless connection between two electronic devices. It uses a closed and secure communication channels to transfer media files without having the needs for any wired connection. It uses data encryption when sending sensitive details. These days, NFC is available on many smartphones and has been integrated with the RFID infrastructure. The security that it provides has made it a preferred technology for smart cards, online payment, online ticket purchasing, and credit card system. You can also find NFC on several audio system products, but it comes with a set of disadvantages. Due to the limited range, there is not much portability with NFC. Furthermore, it also not supported on iPhones and many other smartphones. It is not as popular as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi is another popular wireless technology used in many households. It is very versatile as it provides lossless and high-quality audio transmission. It is a great technology to have on speakers due to the excellent sound performance. Plus, it also supports multiple music streaming, as long as all the speakers are connectible to the same home network. The stability is also applaudable. You can play your favorite music playlist on Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube or Pandora with ease, thanks to the Wi-Fi technology. The only setback that we can think of for this platform is the limited local area network as well as high price. Now, besides than working alone on the platform, you can also use your Wi-Fi to work together with another wireless feature called AirPlay.
Airplay is Apple’s proprietary wireless technology that allows digital file transfer across a Wi-Fi network. Unlike Bluetooth that can only connect one device to another, this technology lets you stream your music collection to several speakers all at the same time, provided that they are all connected to the same home Wi-Fi network. One of the main advantages of this wireless platform is the superb quality of transferred audio. The Apple Lossless codec ensures little to none data loss, and you will receive the same quality of sound data as the original. However, since it is an exclusive Apple technology, Airplay speakers can be quite pricey for average users.
DLNA is an acronym for Digital Living Network Alliance. It is another platform that allows you to share digital files between compatible gadgets wirelessly such as computers, smartphones, printers, and TVs. Just like the Apple wireless platform, DLNA also provides high-quality video streaming. It makes use of your home network to do the streaming. It uses a standard protocol, defined by the members of the DLNA organization. These days, you can find this technology on many smart gadgets, but it is not as widely accepted as Bluetooth. Many Android devices have opted Bluetooth over DLNA, perhaps due to the speedy and stable connection.
Table of Comparison
|Sony SRSX88||B&W Zeppelin Air||GGMM M4||iDeaUSA
|Drivers & Subwoofers||One subwoofer and two tweeters||Two tweeters, two drivers and one subwoofer||N/A||Two woofers and two drivers|
|Power Source||AC Power||AC Power||Rechargeable battery||Rechargeable battery|
|Wireless Support||Bluetooth, NFC, Airplay, Wi-Fi||Airplay||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DLNA, Airplay||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Aux-In, MicroSD and TF card, Airplay|
|Amazon Rating (stars)||4.6||4.3||4.6||4|
1. The Best Pick – Sony SRSX88 Premium Hi-Resolution Bluetooth Speaker
Exceptional and powerful are the two words that we can use to define this stylish and exclusive Airplay speaker from Sony – SRSX88 Premium Bluetooth Speaker. It is one of the members in the SRS family speakers. The SRSX88 is an upgrade version of an almost similar model called SRSX77.
This particular Sony speaker might display a simple style, but the classic look makes it quite timeless and should be able to blend well with any types of home decor. It boasts premium glass and metal grille as a casing and looks almost like a brick. The size is compact and seems stable because of the rubber pad at the bottom. There are eight touch-sensitive buttons on the top panel where you can control several functionalities like volume, Bluetooth connection, and audio input.
Besides Bluetooth, you can also connect the speaker to an NFC-supported device with a single touch via the touch point located on the top panel. You will also find a 3.5mm jack input, two USB ports, and an Ethernet port at the back of the speaker. The device is very easy to use and operate as long as you know how to establish the many wireless connections available on this product.
With an extra 50 watts of power output at 90W and bigger tweeters and subwoofers, this model offers the best audio sound compared to other speakers in Sony’s SRS product range. Many users have complimented the pumping and highly defined audio sounds on this speaker. In fact, when we tested it, the sound is more powerful that other similar Bluetooth speakers in this $300 price range. The five speakers have helped this product to produce a loud sound, and the wireless technology supports data lossless to ensure a full audio output.
We tested several music genres and as a result, it plays pop, classical, jazz, and rock music very well. The bass is booming, and the guitar and acoustic sound is highly noticeable, all these are thanks to Sony’s DSEE HX technology. The high-resolution music can go up to 192 kHz frequency at 24 bits. At a dimension of about 7x17x6 inches, the compact SRSX88 has impressed us with the reliable performance.
Supported Wireless Technologies
Plus, Sony SRSX88 also has great versatility as it supports NFC, Bluetooth, Airplay, as well as Google Cast wireless functionalities. There is also a dual-band Wi-Fi antenna on the back of the speaker that provides a seamless audio streaming capability. You can connect it to a DLNA-supported PC or devices to access and share digital files wirelessly. Plus, Sony’s LDAC codec can transfer more data compared to regular Bluetooth. Meaning, the quality of the audio data is better than the standard Bluetooth technology.
This Sony speaker powers on an AC without any battery compartments. You can use the mobile app called Songpal app to control the music on the speaker. You can connect it alone or take advantage of the multi-room functionality to stream music to several devices throughout your room.
Price wise, Sony SRSX88 can be quite pricey when compared to similar Bluetooth products, but it is cheaper than other Airplay speakers. If you are an audiophile and would like to enjoy a full audio system throughout your home, it is a perfect speaker for you.
2. The Runner-Up – Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Wireless AirPlay Speaker Dock
Bower & Wilkins is a premium brand in the speakers field. It does not need any introduction and is famous for high-end speakers. In this review, we have shortlisted the Zeppelin Air as the runner-up due to the sleek design and unbeatable music performance!
The style and look of Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Wireless Airplay Speaker Dock are unique and eye-catching. It displays an elongated oval shape, and you will learn later, it is not simply for a show. It has a particular reason to accommodate a more immersive and better audio dispersion. This model comes with several connection options such as 30-pin connectors, lightning connector, and recertified 30-pin connectors.
At the back of the unit, you will find a 3.5 input jack, one USB port, composite video output for your TV connection, and an Ethernet port. With the video output, you will be able to stream photos and videos from you iPod. Since it also comes with a built-in Wi-Fi, you will be able to make use of it for the Airplay connection, besides than your local home network. Once you connect it to the Wi-Fi, you will be able to transfer your music files from your Apple smartphones to the speaker. It supports previous and current iPhone models such as iPhone 3G, 4, 4S, 5, and the new iPhone 6. When it comes to ease of use, we found the initial setup can be quite challenging for a new user, but once established, it flows easily and quickly.
There is not much of a difference when it comes to the performance of this product compared to our best pick. However, since it is one of the best Airplay speakers with a limited wireless technology support, we look at the top pick as more versatile. Nevertheless, there is nothing not to like about the audio production on this Zeppelin Air speaker. One of the significant performances that we can detect when we first played the music on this product is the loud bass. The overall sound tone is also rich and detailed.
The speaker packs two aluminum tweeters and two 25W subwoofers that promise a room-filling sound. You can adjust the sound on the speaker directly via the EQ setting on your Apple devices. When played at a high volume, the sound can be quite weak. Nevertheless, we think that it can easily compete with other top Bluetooth speakers like Bose and Beats by Dr. Dre. Overall, the quality of the music streaming is way superior when we compared it to other Bluetooth speakers.
Supported Wireless Technologies
Regarding the supported wireless technologies, the features are limited at only Airplay and Wi-Fi. There is no NFC or DLNA option in this device. Nevertheless, the audio performance is excellent on this speaker and thanks to the Apple wireless technology, you will experience little to none data loss on your music data and will be able to enjoy a studio-like music sound.
The price of Bower & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Speaker is reasonable in the range of $299 to $399. We believe that the proprietary technology from Apple has played some roles in the high price of this product. The build quality and the sound performance justify the price very well!
3. Also Good – GGMM M4 Leather Wireless Digital Outdoor Speaker
GGMM M4 Leather Wireless Digital Outdoor Speaker is another good candidate in this Best Airplay Speakers Review for you to consider. Firstly, it comes with a bargained price of only $199 and yet the music quality does not disappoint at all. Plus, it also has a comprehensive wireless supports like Airplay, DLNA, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Even better, it comes with a multi-room support! It is an ideal option for those on a tight budget but still would like to enjoy a bombastic sound in their homes.
The design of the GGMM M4 speaker is quite an old school. At the very first look, it might remind some of you of the classic speakers back in the 70s and 80s. It looks luxurious with the leather strap and microfiber casing. It comes in several color options like red, blue, brown, and orange. At the front side, you can see three speakers that produce loud and clear sound. It runs on a set of battery and can last up to eight hours. There is also an optional wall charger for you to use inside yourhome.
Now, the sound quality might not be as great as our two top choices but for average users, it should be satisfying enough. The bass is quite excellent with balanced and rich lows. Some music genres sound superb on M4 especially bass-loaded hip-hop and disco. On top of the spectacular overall audio, we also noticed that there is no distortion at a high volume. Plus, vocals and acoustics are clear enough for us to appreciate. Perhaps, it is due to the installed Wolfson DAC. You can use it to play your music playlist during your party, and the multi-room feature allows you to connect it to other speakers in various parts of your house for a comprehensive and immersive music experience.
Supported Wireless Technologies
With the Wi-Fi technology, you can stream your music over your home network to the speaker and several other devices up to 10! There is also Bluetooth if you would like to play it outdoor where no Wi-Fi is available. We loved how the Bluetooth comes equipped with the aptX technology. It minimizes the data loss in the streaming and as a result, we could enjoy a higher quality of sound on this GGMM M4 speaker. You can stream from Pandora and Spotify by using the GGMM app. It is very compatible with various Android, Windows, and iOS system. Plus, you can also connect it via Airplay and DLNA platforms directly from your smart devices via an initial router setup.
The price of GGMM M4 is unbeatable at about $200. It costs cheaper than some other similar products so you might not want to miss purchasing a unit of this excellent speaker!
4. Good – Portable Airplay Speakers – iDeaUSA Multiroom Wi-Fi Speakers System
Still think our choice above expensive? Here is another budget option for you – iDeaUSA Multiroom Wi-Fi Speakers. It is a portable Airplay speaker that will not restrict you to your local home network.
The look of the iDeaUSA speaker seems expensive than the actual price of only $80. It features a gray metal grill with a high and slim shape. The sound will come out from the front end, and there are function controls on the side panel. Just like the other speakers in this review, it is another versatile speaker with lots of functionalities for you to use. You can connect it via wire with the auxiliary input slot and switch between the Bluetooth, Airplay, and Wi-Fi mode to enjoy two different sets of wireless technologies. The speaker is also controllable via the iDeaHome mobile app, and you can preset the music albums for quick and easy access. It takes about a minute to setup the unit to your home network and seconds to start the Bluetooth pairing. Overall, a newbie should not find any difficulty using this device.
The iDeaUSA Speaker comes with dual 3W speakers, two subwoofers, 2.1V Bluetooth technology, and can support up to 2.4GB Wi-Fi band. As far as the sound quality goes, there is not much to complain. It can emit a loud sound and remains in a good quality while at that. The bass might not be as punchy as we could have wanted but it is still noticeable. The Wi-Fi and Airplay supports have increased the value of the device as it promises zero data-drop transmission during music streaming. The sound appears to be clear and crisp because of this. When we connected the unit to several speakers via the multi-room feature, the audio sound came full force and quickly filled in the room. Once in a while, you will hear a voice notification from the voice prompts, and this might take you off guard sometimes.
Supported Wireless Technologies
IDeaUSA speaker is one of the best Airplay speakers for your home use because of its versatility. You can connect the device to multiple smart gadgets in so many ways. There are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, TF and Micro card, Airplay, and 3.5mm input jack. With this single product, you can use it indoors and outdoors for your summer parties! Plus, via the iDeaHome mobile app that you can download from Apple Store or Google Play, you can stream your playlist from many online accounts like TuneIn, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.
This portable Airplay speaker will not break your bank account with the price of only $80. It is the cheapest options that we have included in this review. With the three-year warranty, you can find peace of mind when purchasing this unit.
Airplay speakers are one of the best options for your home sound system. It takes advantages of your fast internet connection and allows you to create booming and immersive sound production inside your home without experiencing any loss of transmission data. Consider one of the products above and enjoy a seamless music experience indoors or outdoors!