Let’s say that you are feeling somewhat generous this Holiday Season and want to purchase a very special gift for the iPhone toting, design loving, audiophile on your shopping list. The Fire Wire will save you time by suggesting the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini available at Amazon.com or your local Apple Store.
The Mini ($400) is the smaller sibling to it’s larger predecessor, the iconic Zeppelin iPod speaker. Instead of the elongated elliptical shape of the Zeppelin, the Mini is compact, sleek, simple, tasteful with a visually pleasing concave angled mirror-polished stainless steel top and a black cloth grille. Your sound source is affixed by residing in a clever rotating docking arm that enables you to view your iPhone in either portrait or landscape mode. This allows you to view videos or see your albums in cover flow. The Mini could reside in the Metropolitan Museum of Art amongst an Eames chair or the Minox Riga Camera. It would look good anywhere including an office, kitchen, bedroom, etc.
This high-end iPod/iPhone stereo speaker system contains two 1-inch tweeters, two 3.5-inch midrange drivers and one 5-inch woofer with 100 watts of power. It measures a diminutive 6.8 inches high by 12.5 inches wide by 4 inches deep and weighs only 4.75 pounds.
I found the Mini’s sound to be quite decent however the bass was a tad muddy. It easily filled a large living room with crisp full sound via its proprietary digital signal processing (DSP) circuitry. I really liked the device’s ability to stream music from my laptop via a dedicated USB socket. This allows the B & W Mini to pull double duty as an external speaker for your computer or a tabletop system for your iPod or iPhone. You can even synchronize iTunes with your computer while it is attached via the USB connection.
The Zeppelin Mini is the perfect marriage of intelligent design, connectivity, synchronization and warm sound in a streamlined gorgeous compact package.