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Bowers & Wilkins Z2

Powered speaker system with Apple® AirPlay® and iPhone 5® Lightning™ connector dock (White)

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Item# 749Z2W
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Bowers & Wilkins Z2

by Ralph Graves
Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins Z2

Own an iPhone 5? Good news — the Bowers and Wilkins Z2 high-performance audio system has a built-in Lightning connector, so you can dock that new iPhone for easy charging and music playback. Own an Apple device with an older 30-pin connector? More good news — the Z2 is compatible with Apple AirPlay, which means it can wirelessly stream music from from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch — even your computer.

Advanced audio design

The Z2 features high-quality electronics and drivers to deliver spacious, detailed sound. Its two full-range drivers are framed by baskets designed to minimize rear sound reflection and coloration. Each driver has its own individual amplifier to ensure greater accuracy and reduce cross-interference.

The system's rear-firing Flowport™ passively reinforces low frequencies. The dimpled surface of its opening reduces air turbulence for tight, accurate bass. (It's the same effect that helps golf balls fly farther.)

Bowers & Wilkins' proprietary Digital Signal Processing circuitry continually analyzes and adjusts the audio signal. Even at maximum volume, your music sounds balanced and clear. The AC adapter has been designed specifically for low noise levels, letting the Z2's electronics operate more efficiently and produce cleaner sound.

The AirPlay advantage

AirPlay uses your Wi-Fi® network to connect the Z2 speaker system wirelessly to your iTunes® library on your computer.You can send music to multiple Z2s (or other AirPlay-compatible systems like the Zeppelin Air) to simultaneously play your music in different locations throughout your home. And you can control the volume levels of each connected player individually or jointly through your computer's iTunes program.

With your Apple portable — iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — you have even more options. Stream music wirelessly directly from your device to the Z2. Or use your portable as a remote to control your computer's iTunes library.— download Apple's Remote app, and then you can select songs and playlists or adjust the volume level of the system on the fly.

From our Bowers & Wilkins Z2 AirPlay speaker review:

I was impressed with the Z2's quality and quantity of sound right out of the box. Bass output was hefty without being overbearing, mids sounded quite natural, and the high-frequencies were detailed and crisp.

— David Brown, Crutchfield A/V Writer

Highlights:

  • Lightning connector dock works with iPhone 5, 5th generation iPod touch, 7th generation iPod nano and later
  • AirPlay lets you stream music via Wi-Fi® from your iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, or computer
  • automatically charges player while docked
  • two full-range drivers
  • frequency response: 50-20,000 kHz
  • Flowport bass port reinforces low frequencies
  • stereo minijack input for portable devices
  • Ethernet port for a wired connection to a home network
  • AC power adapter
  • remote control
  • 12-15/8"W x 7-1/8"H x 5-1/16"D
  • weight: 5.5 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
 

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Lightning-connector iPod dock speaker (w/ AirPlay)
  • AC power adapter (with attached 6.5' DC cord)
  • 39" AC power cord
  • Remote control (CR2032 3V battery)
  • Bowers & Wilkins Brochure
  • AirPlay Setup Booklet
  • Safety Instructions/Warranty
  • Online Product Registration card

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

High Quality Audio Design: The Bowers & Wilkins Z2 music system is equipped with a Class-D amplifier and digital signal processing (DSP). The Class-D amplifier is rated at 20-watts x 2 channels. The B&W Z2 features two 3.5" full-range drivers for quality sound. The music system's enclosure is made from glass-filled ABS and feature's Bowers & Wilkins proprietary Flowport technology. The Bowers & Wilkins Flowport technology dramatically improves the system's overall bass performance. The unit's rear-firing port is dimpled to improve air flow, reducing turbulence. The result is less chuffing noise and less compression at high levels; which means better bass no matter how loud you like your music.

Lightning Connector Dock: The Bowers & Wilkins Z2 is equipped with a Lightning connector dock which supports Apple's new portable devices with Lightning connector; such as the iPod nano (7th gen), iPod touch (5th gen), and iPhone 5. The iPad 4 and iPad mini are too large to fit into the dock opening. The Z2 supports audio playback, remote control (basic playback functions only), and charging of your docked compatible Apple device.

AirPlay Technology: Apple's AirPlay technology allows music, downloaded to iTunes, to be streamed wirelessly from your Mac or PC to the B&W Z2. You can even bypass the computer entirely, and stream high-quality audio directly from your Apple iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad (all without the need to dock the device). The Z2 supports Apple Lossless and MP3 audio file transfer. The B&W Z2 and your AirPlay audio source must be connected to the same wireless network via a WiFi (802.11g/n) router or hub.

  • iTunes Streaming: The B&W Z2 is able to wirelessly play audio from your computer's iTunes account via WiFi or Ethernet connection using AirPlay streaming technology. When connected to the same network as a computer running iTunes, the Z2 can appear as an output option in the pop-up menu at the bottom of the iTunes window. You can then browse your iTunes collection on your computer and stream music to the Z2. To use the AirPlay feature you need a Mac or Windows-based PC running iTunes (10.2.2 or later) connected to the same wireless (WiFi) network as the Z2.
  • Apple Device Streaming: AirPlay also lets you wirelessly stream your iTunes music and a variety of music apps (such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, etc) stored on your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad to the Z2. So there's no need to dock your Apple device. The Bowers & Wilkins Z2's AirPlay feature works with iPod touch (3rd/4th/5th gen), iPhone (3GS/4/4S/5), iPad (1/2/3/4), and iPad mini with iOS 4.3.3 or later; connected to the same wireless network.

Apple Device Compatibility Chart: The Zeppelin Air has been certified "Made for iPod" and "Works with iPhone", compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model functions (as of 5/24/2013):

Apple Device Generation Tested Version Connection Type Media Type Control Type Display Type Charge
Lightning Connector AirPlay Audio Video Remote iPod/iPhone Artist/Song Text Track Info
iPhone 2G 3.1.3 N N N N N N N N N
3G 4.2.1 N N N N N N N N N
3GS 5.1.1 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
4 6.1.3 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
4S 6.1.3 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
5 6.1.4 Y Y Y N Y Y N N Y
touch 1st 2.2.1 N N N N N N N N N
2nd 4.2.1 N N N N N N N N N
3rd 5.1.1 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
4th 6.1.3 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
5th 6.1.3 Y Y Y N Y Y N N Y
nano 1st 1.3.1 N N N N N N N N N
2nd 1.1.3 N N N N N N N N N
3rd 1.1.3 N N N N N N N N N
4th 1.0.4 N N N N N N N N N
5th 1.0.2 N N N N N N N N N
6th 1.2 PC N N N N N N N N N
7th 1.02 PC Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
iPad 1 5.1.1 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
2 6.1.3 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
3 6.1.3 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
4 6.1.3 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
mini 6.1.3 N Y Y N Y Y N N N
Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

Simple Setup: In order to connect your Apple device to the B&W Z2 music system, you will need to download the Bowers & Wilkins AirPlay Setup App to your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad (running iOS 4.3.3 or later). The Bowers & Wilkins AirPlay Setup App is also available to download for your Mac computer or Windows PC from the Bowers & Wilkins Support Site, allowing you to set up and manage the wireless music system from your computer.

Auxiliary Input: The rear-panel 3.5mm auxiliary input accepts an analog stereo signal from any portable audio device with a headphone jack output.

Remote Control: The supplied wireless IR remote offers Power, Volume Up/Down, and Playback controls. Playback controls include Play/Pause and Previous/Next Track. The remote is powered by a single CR2032 3V lithium battery (pre-installed).

AC Power: The Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Z2 operates off of standard household AC current, using the supplied AC power adapter. The Z2 will automatically enter Sleep mode if left inactive for more than 30 minutes.

 

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Bowers & Wilkins Z2 AirPlay® speaker review

Bowers & Wilkins Z2 AirPlay® speaker review

by David Brown
8/24/2013
 
Bowers & Wilkins Z2 AirPlay® speaker review

The Bowers & Wilkins Z2 AirPlay® speaker sports a Lightning™ dock for the iPhone® 5. But you don't need one to enjoy the speaker's easy wireless streaming and big sound.

 
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Bowers & Wilkins Z2 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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Filter by rating:
4 out of 5

B & W Z2

Written By MikeC, Lake Toxaway, NC on Monday, December 30, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great sound from a little package. Had some small problems with 1st connection, but was able to work it out.
Pros:
Good looking small speaker system.
Cons:
1st connection took a few tries.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Compact size, BIG sound

Written By JohnL, Louisville, KY on Monday, December 30, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Absolutely what I needed. After reading several reviews, this sounded like the AirPlay speaker for me. Extremely well packed, box within a box. Set up was a breeze after downloading the free iPhone app. I just needed to know my wifi name and password, and I was done in under a minute, quickly streaming high quality music.
Pros:
Nice compact size; heavy, durable yet sleek design. Very nice sound. My home wifi system is good, so I haven't had any AirPlay dropouts mentioned in other reviews.
Cons:
I think the iPhone port on the speaker top detracts from the overall beautiful design lines. Instead, I wish there was a USB plug in the back to hook up or charge an IOS device. An small insert/cover for the iPhone connector would be nice. Apple will probably change the plugs design in a few years anyways....
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Amazing little giant!

Written By Bob W, Lexington Ky on Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Having enjoyed a B&W A7 in our large family room, I had doubts about such a small version living up to the B&W standard. For a small room, this one does just as good. The bass sounds full especially when about 3" from a wall, and the highs are smooth, covering up the digital harshness associated with MP3 files. The vocals are smooth and realistic. An excellent product!
Pros:
Smooth mids and highs, full bass
Cons:
Airplay cuts in and out.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Simply Amazing!

Written By Butchdog, Bemidji, MN on Saturday, May 18, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
A recent review in a magazine started with, "We hate to gush...but this is by far the best wireless speaker under $500. I couldn't agree more. I find the clarity absolutely stunning! If you are looking for a superior wireless speaker don't hesitate to buy this one. In fact, to take this one step further, don't hesitate to buy this speaker from Crutchfield. In my opinion there is no better company to deal with. They are simply top shelf!
Pros:
Incredible sound, simple to set up.
Cons:
None
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Item

Written By Swab, Madison, WI on Thursday, May 02, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Very happy with the sound. I misunderstood the product and did not know I had to be on a network for it to work...i.e. I can't use it with my iPad for tailgating.
Cons:
Wish it had a battery so I could use it on the road.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Simply stunning!

Written By Bobby, San Antonio, TX on Thursday, April 11, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Having researched many docks, I was looking for a iPhone 5 dock that not only charged my device, but also complimented my Bowers & Wlkens A7. This device looks beautiful on my nightstand and produces a full and robust sound. It is elequent in design and function.
Pros:
Sounds terrific
Cons:
A little pricey.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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