wren_bamboo_front

Made by: Wren Sound Systems
Price: $399

Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: ★★★★½
Usability Rating: ★★★★☆
Reuse Value Rating: ★★★★★
Build Quality Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Bottom Line: The Wren V5AP wireless speaker can be a little unwieldy, but once it’s properly set up it fills its roll quite well.

Recommended

We live in a world where most everything is getting smaller all the time. Computers, spacecraft, even the world itself when you stop and think about it. But while smaller isn’t always better, it can still be difficult to shake preconceptions that are burned into our brains all the time. Which is probably why my first impression of the Wren V5AP wireless speaker wasn’t an incredibly positive one.

When I unboxed the V5AP for the first time it struck me as kind of large and bit weighty; I also had trouble figuring out where in the apartment to put it. Once a spot was found, I still had to wrestle with it. My first attempt at connecting it to my wifi network via a direct connection between my iPhone 5 and the speaker was a bust – the included cables aren’t Lightning compatible, and when I tried to use my own cables they just didn’t work.

wren_rosewood_backI had a bit more luck with the wireless setup, though. Having to connect to the speaker via the wifi settings in my computer and an internet browser wasn’t as quick and painless as that first option, but it got the job done. After that initial setup things started to go a lot more smoothly. Until I made the mistake of thinking the speaker’s volume was tied to the device and not the software, and I ended up blasting music through iTunes when I synced up with my computer. I’ll chalk that one up to user error, though.

The sound is quite nice and carries through a space well, and it’s very easy to switch between sources. The packed-in remote has also been fantastic, although its range is somewhat limited. Still, the convenience of being able to sync up a computer or iOS device with a click/tap is fantastic. I realize it’s not exclusive to the V5AP, but that doesn’t make it any less cool to walk into my apartment and start blasting the soundtrack to Katamari Damacy without going near my computer.

Wren_gallery_remote_1However I’ve still been encountering a recurring problem even after getting everything properly hooked up. I’m not entirely sure why this happens, but pausing playback for an extended period of time (say, to answer a phone call) without also turning the V5AP speaker off tends to cause it to lock up. Attempting to turn it back on simply doesn’t work, and it has to be reset (i.e. unplugged and plugged back in) before it’ll start to cooperate once more. Thankfully this doesn’t also require resetting its connection to wifi, but it’s still a pain.

Even with all that, I’ve been enjoying the V5AP very much. So long as I remember to account for its finickiness it makes for a great source wireless sound. You just have to finesse it little first.

Recommended

Posted in: Hardware Reviews, Reviews

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