The Libratone Loop is a beautiful, wireless speaker that's more art than gadget
Libratone has staked a claim in the speaker market thanks to high-quality speakers that contain unmistakable design language — its tube-shaped Zipp speaker is a perfect example of the unusual but functional designs that the company focuses on. There aren't any black, rectangular boxes to be found here, and Libratone is making sure that remains the case with its latest wireless speaker, the Loop. As you might expect from its name, the Loop is a circular stereo speaker, but its thin profile allows for a neat trick — it's meant to be hung on your wall. In a lot of ways, its design reminds us of the much-loathed Apple "puck" mouse of yesteryear (but since you don't have to use it to control your computer, it can just be appreciated for its style). While Libratone included a kickstand for free-standing playback, you'll get the best sound quality when keeping it on or against near a wall to let the passive radiator bass technology do its work.
At 120W, it's twice as powerful as the Zipp, but doesn't match the larger Live in terms of sheer power — but in our quick listen, the Loop more than held its own. It's not as loud as the live, but has a nice "open" sound quality — and the space-saving design is a major plus for city-dwellers with less room for full-sized speakers. As with the rest of Libratone's recent releases, the Loop supports both DLNA and Airplay for streaming from iOS, Android, Mac, and PC, and it also supports Libratone's PlayDirect technology for streaming music without a Wi-Fi access point. And keeping with Libratone's focus on design, the Loop is also available in three different woolen covers, just like the Live and the Zipp. Default colors include black, grey, and red, and extra covers in yellow, pink, purple, and two shades of blue will be available shortly after launch.
At $499.99, the Loop isn't a cheap speaker — but that's never been Libratone's raison d'être. The company has long focused on combining unique, unconventional designs with pretty great sound quality, and the Loop will actually end up as one of the more affordable products in the company's lineup. It's only $100 more than the Zipp, though it trades in portability; it's definitely designed to be a centerpiece of your living room rather than something that travels with you. While we'll need to put the Loop through its paces before delivering a final verdict, it seems like Libratone might have found a sweet spot between the smaller Zipp and the more powerful Live.