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Choosing the best speaker for your home has almost as much to do with aesthetics as it does sound quality. After all, if you’re going to place something that staying in your living room, it should be eye candy and ear candy, right?
The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is a premium connected speaker with the option of adding Alexa voice control. It’s designed to be a bigger, louder and more beautiful alternative to the standard smart speaker or digital assistant device. It’s AC powered and plays music wirelessly using Bluetooth or AirPlay. In my Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin review, I’ll share what this speaker is, look at what it can do and how it sounds, and let you know if I think it’s a good buy for you.
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Review: What You Get
This is a big and heavy speaker, so you’ll want a dedicated place to put it that’s stable. It weighs in at 14.5 pounds.
For those looking for the specs:
- 2x 25mm (1”) Double dome tweeters
- 2x 90mm (3 1⁄2”) FST midrange
- 1x 150mm (6”) Subwoofer
Integrated LED Light
One of the slick features in the speaker is the integrated LED light. It glows a soft whitish-blue and can be switched off if you’d rather not have the distraction.
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Review: Setup
The setup process for the speaker was a breeze; plug it in and it automatically goes into pairing mode. You can download the Bowers & Wilkins Music app for remote control and additional functions. Tap to add your speaker into the app and in seconds it will find the speaker and connect.
Setting up Amazon Alexa
If you want to add digital voice assistant functionality, you can set up Alexa, which lets you treat your Zeppelin as if it were a smart home speaker; you can ask for facts and look up info, set timers, add to your Alexa lists and take control of other smart home gadgets.
Once in the Bowers & Wilkins app, tap on the Alexa button on the main screen then follow the instructions to sign in to your Amazon account and link the services. From there, you’ll be able to talk to your Zeppelin speaker and ask it to play music, adjust volume and plenty more.
You can also use Apple Airplay to stream music or podcasts to the device, or try the buttons on the top of the speaker.
It should be noted that it’s not possible to use Apple Music with this speaker if you’re using Alexa voice control: You can use AirPlay to stream from your phone, but if you ask Alexa to play a song using AirPlay, it will tell you it’s not supported, instead opting for Spotify.
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Review: Audio Quality
This speaker is not just room-filling; it’s home filling. At this size, perhaps that’s not a shock, but it gets very loud. At just 30 percent volume, it’s plenty loud enough to hear from another room; and almost too loud to sit next to.
It’s got bass you can feel, the highs and the mids are clear and delicate and the vocals come across wonderfully.
I listened to a lot of different music on this speaker over a period of about three weeks. Jazz and hip hop, bossa nova, rock, pop and ambient. Everything sounded great.
One oddity I did notice is that when using Alexa to control volume, the steps between each level are huge. Asking Alexa to turn the volume down “a little” makes it too quiet, and asking her to turn it up makes it too loud, too fast. I needed to use either my phone or the buttons on the speaker to gain more subtle ups and downs. I’m pretty confident this is a minor glitch that will get tweaked in a future firmware update, but it’s worth mentioning all the same.
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Review: The Verdict
This speaker is a beautiful addition to my home. Its gorgeous lines are modern but unique, and it looks sculptural and sexy. It was so simple to set up, and Alexa connects easily for helpful voice control. Plus the great sound quality makes it one of the best and most powerful speakers I’ve heard in a long time.
The only big downside is just that strange instance with Alexa’s control over the volume. The price may also be a touch high for a speaker in this space, but if you want form and functionality, this is a great buy.
- Great sound
- Easy setup
- Integrated light
- Looks cool
- Optional Alexa smarts
- Adjusting volume with Alexa is not perfect
- No Airplay with Alexa voice control
So Should You Buy It?
I can definitely recommend the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin for you and your smart home. It is a pricey speaker, but it’s big and powerful, and I can confirm it draws eyes and questions from everyone who walks into the room.
How Long Will It Last?
Given the speakers’ big and heavy frame, it feels solidly built and like it’s going to be a presence in the home for years to come.