Bowers & Wilkins A7: This Thing Is So Good. This Thing Is So Expensive.

Bowers & Wilkins makes some of our favorite audio hardware. We also happen to love AirPlay—so the union of the two should be terrific, right? Sort of. The A7 speaker is tremendous—but it's just so, so expensive.

What Is It?

An $800, AirPlay-enabled speaker.

Who's it For?

Someone who wants to fill an entire room with one big honkin' speaker, and beam music to it from their OS X or iOS device.

Design

This is the best looking AirPlay speaker I've ever seen. It's hard to add shiny metallic details to something without breaching tackiness, but the A7 does just that—starship chic.

Using It

AirPlay speakers' appeal lies in their simplicity, and it's the same deal here: after setup, you just select the speaker from your Apple gadget's AirPlay menu, and stream away. Make sure it's plugged in.

The Best Part

Fantastically loud while remaining fantastically clear—this thing holds its ground against a large, multi-speaker setup.

Tragic Flaw

The price. A speaker that costs $800 is too much for almost everyone. The A7 sounds lovely, but you're paying a premium for looks and brand here.

Bowers & Wilkins A7: This Thing Is So Good. This Thing Is So Expensive.

This Is Weird...

I had to manually reset the A7 several times before it would let me use its companion app and join my network, but it was fine after that.

Should You Buy It?

Unless money is no object to you, probably not. If it is (and it probably is), you can afford to buy two AirPlay speakers for the price of this one. And it's hard to justify not doing so.

Bowers & Wilkins A7

• Price: $800
• Speakers: Two one-inch tweeters, two three-inch mid-ranges, and a six-inch sub
• Power: 100 watts
• Size: Height 220mm, Width 360mm, Depth 160mm
• Weight: 12 pounds
Giz Rank: 3.0 stars