Monday, 21 July 2014

Pillar of sound

I'm doing fewer gadget reviews on this blog for what I think is the good reason that an awful lot of people are making an awful lot of gadgets very well indeed. It's probably indicative of my age that when I started writing about this stuff, there was some poorly-made tat out there and some weedy little speakers that were quite overpriced.

Which is why it's a pleasure to write about the Stelle Pillar, £249 from an Apple store near you (they will also be available elsewhere I'm sure). You can see from the picture that they come in different colours so you're likely to find one that will look good in your living room. The better news is that they're chargeable with the enclosed adapter so proximity to a wall socket isn't an issue when it's full of juice; it will also charge an external device through its USB socket.

Mine is black and it was very easy to pair with my iPhone although it seemed to struggle when I tried to add my iMac it wasn't so keen; it recognised my Nexus tablet OK but switching between this and the phone wasn't great. If you don't mind pairing again every time you want to use a different product with it, you'll be fine in my experience.

So, what about the sound quality? The answer is that it's very good. It has speakerphone capacity which is great, it has 15 hours of playback and although I'm not one for quoting decibels at people - they always seem a bit meaningless to me in the context of a review - it had a decent bit of bass oomph so that you can enjoy listening to music quietly as well as loudly.

Gripes are few; it came with a plastic disc whose purpose I've yet to ascertain (I suppose it can stand on it but...why?) and for a geek like me switching between devices could have been smoother. The speakers being built into a small unit means there is inevitable next to no stereo "spread". My wife had to fiddle with her iPhone audio settings before she was convinced it could play classics reasonably (my Beatles, Stranglers, Madness and other middle-aged-rocker fare were fine). And when you switch it on, the voice that says 'hello' is Australian - that's not a gripe, just a bit of trivia, before I get complaints!

For the vast majority of listeners I suspect it'll be a very good buy.

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