updated 05:30 pm EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Stylish speakers feature compact design, high-end coverings, 360-degree sound
Two new Bluetooth speakers have been announced by Pioneer Electronics, focusing on ease of use and style. The XW-LF3 and XW-LF1 "Free Me" speakers feature a lightweight design with 360 degrees of sound. The Bluetooth units are small enough to be carried in a bag, but are made to stand out with their high-end look.
Each of the speakers utilizes a slim footprint, coming in at 5.93 x 1.81 x 3.25 and a weight of 12 ounces. With the rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, play times can stretch up to seven hours per charge. Both units feature one-touch pairing for quick attachment to devices, as well as Near Field Communication (NFC) for pairing with a tap of a device on the top of the speaker. Devices make connections through Bluetooth 3.0.
Audio comes from a pair of "high-power full-range speakers," according to Pioneer. The design of the units allows for 360 degrees of sound to emit from them, allowing for a smaller chance of muffled or blocked sound. On top of being able to use the XW-LF3 and XW-LF1 for music, the Bluetooth speakers can be used as speakerphones for hands-free calls. Sound can also be piped into the speakers through a 3.5 mm auxiliary connection.
"Pioneer's 'Free Me' line of Bluetooth speakers is great for travel because of its compact size as well as improved output for hands-free calls and streaming music files," said Pioneer's Director of AV Product Planning and Marketing for Home Electronics Chris Walker. "Smartphones and tablets are extremely handy, but they just don't have the capacity to provide enough audio output to make them enjoyable without headphones, so we made the Free Me line to give you a better listening experience."
Style is where the XW-LF3 and XW-LF1 really come into their own with squat, rounded rectangle design. While the shape doesn't necessarily set them apart from other high-end speakers, the coverings do. The XW-LF1 features a rubberized coating in a shade of aqua. The LW-LF3 takes it further, offering a unit wrapped in genuine brown leather on the top and bottom of the speaker. Both units have a black punched metal grill, colored to fit each palette.
Both the XW-LF3 and XW-LF1 "Free Me" speakers will be available this November, starting at $199 and $149 respectively.