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Bowers & Wilkins Z2 iPod/iPhone Dock Preview

Bowers & Wilkins Z2 iPod/iPhone Speaker

Bowers & Wilkins Z2 iPod/iPhone Speaker


  • Product Name: Z2 iPod/iPhone Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Bowers & Wilkins
  • Review Date: March 21, 2013 06:00
  • MSRP: $399.99
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
Model Z2
Description Wireless Music System
Technical features Apple® AirPlay® technology
Universal docking port
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
High Quality Class-D amplifier
Switch mode power supply
Remote control
Drive units 2x 87.5mm (3.5in) full range
Frequency response 50Hz - 20kHz ±3dB on reference axis
Frequency range -6dB at 42Hz and 22kHz
Amplifier power output 2x 20W
Input voltage 100V - 240V ~ 50/60Hz
Rated power consumption 36W
Standby power consumption <0.5W
Inputs Network (RJ45 Ethernet or Wi-Fi)
Auxiliary - analogue (3.5mm mini jack)
Height 180mm
Width 320mm
Depth 100mm
Net weight 2.6kg
Enclosure Glass filed ABS
Grilles Metal
AirPlay compatibility iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with iOS 4.3.3 or later, Mac with OS X Mountain Lion, or Mac and PC with iTunes 10.2.2 or later.
Dock compatibility iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation) and iPod nano (7th generation).

z2_whiteUpdate: We now have a Full B&W Z2 Review

Back with B&W released the Zeppelin, we all sort of thought it was a joke. The weird UFO shape. The departure from what B&W normally made...we were skeptical. But then we reviewed it (here) and our reviewer called it "the best speaker system for iPod I have had the pleasure of listening to". Consider us humbled. They have since updated the Zeppelin to include Apple AirPlay (preview here). But now that Apple has released a new iDevice lineup with a new connector, all those products have to be updated. While B&W has updated the Zeppelin to be compatible with Apple's new Lightning connector, they've also taken the opportunity to release a new, less expensive, iDevice dock. This one the are calling the Z2.

The Z2 has a completely new and decidedly less head-scratching form factor. Now, essentially in the shape of an elongated and flattened cylinder, the Z2 is no less unique than the original Zeppelin but it doesn't call nearly as much attention to itself. Like the Zeppelin, the Z2 is both a iPod and iPhone dock that also uses Apple AirPlay technology. This allows you to stream content to the dock without having to physically connect the two (as long as you're using an iDevice or have an app that gives your Android or other smartphone AirPlay). This is particularly useful for people with iPads or iPad Minis as the Z2 does not accept docking of these larger devices.

The B&W Z2 will accept the new iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th gen), and iPod nano (7th gen) at the dock. In order to have AirPlay, you must have an iDevice with iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with OS X Mountain Lion or iTunes 10.2.2 or later (Mac or PC). This gives you tremendous flexibility in how you can access and playback your content with the Z2. In addition, there is an 3.5mm mini jack for accessing music from other devices, as well as a network port. The enclosure is 7" tall by 12.5" wide by 4" deep. It weighs 5.7 pounds and is constructed out of glass-filled ABS. The grilles around the outside are metal and the Z2 comes in either white or black. 


Most importantly to all Audioholics, however, is sound. B&W promises that that Z2 will hit 50Hz (-3dB) and 42Hz (-6dB). It sports dual 3.5" full range drivers and is ported (with their patented "Flowport" technology) for deeper bass. Because it's hard to get a really clean sound out of so compact a package, B&W has included dual 20 watt Class D amps, a low-noise power supply, and their latest proprietary Digital Signal Processing to tune the Z2 to their exacting standards. Lastly, B&W has a control app for your iDevice that will help you set up and manage the Z2.


The B&W Zeppelin retailed for $600 when it was released. That was a hard pill for people to swallow. But the new Z2 is coming out with a much more affordable $400 price tag. While it certainly isn't an impulse buy, the Z2 is much more in reach for most of us. In the end, we've found that with B&W, you get what you pay for. What you're getting with the Z2 is a top of the line Apple dock and AirPlay-streaming speaker with the heritage and know-how of the legendary Bowers & Wilkins behind it. For many, $400 will be a small price to pay for the promise of that sort of sonic performance. We are very keen to see how well this new dock holds up to the flagship Zeppelin.

For more information, please visit www.bowers-wilkins.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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