Libratone One Click review: Stylish, rugged and sounds great
I’m a big fan of Libratone’s Zipp range of wireless speakers, simply because they offer so much in the way of connectivity. You can hook up your phone or laptop via Bluetooth or use the speakers in a multiroom system over Wi-Fi, and there’s support for Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay to boot.
Trouble is, at £179, the Zipps are quite expensive, something Libratone aims to remedy with the more affordable Libratone One Click. It has no Wi-Fi connectivity or multiroom capability – just Bluetooth and a 3.5mm aux input under a rubber flap at the rear – but its price reflects its simplicity. It’s only £139, which is £40 less than the Zipp Mini.
Design and features
It has plenty to recommend it, though. It looks smart, it’s splashproof (rated to IPX4) and has a clever modular design that I haven’t come across in a portable speaker of this kind before. About the size of a hardback book, the speaker grill is covered in soft cloth, while the edges are bordered with a removable rubber frame, with what can only be described as protruding rubber bumpers surrounding the outside.[gallery:3]
Cleverly, once you’ve removed the frame from the speaker body, each of these can be popped out of its moorings and replaced by either a small rubber loop or hooks for a strap (both are included in the box). You can use these to hang the speaker on a hook or carry it around.
The finishing touch is the circular logo badge on the front, displaying Libratone’s Nightingale logo, backlit with a subdued white LED. This isn’t just for show, though. It’s used to control the speaker: slide your finger around the outside in a circular motion and you can adjust the volume up and down, a long press puts the speaker into pairing mode, and you can also use the button to pair two One Clicks together for use in stereo mode.
Just like the Zipp family of speakers, the Libratone One Click has 360-degree sound output, with one tweeter, a 3in bass driver and a passive radiator. These work together to produce a sound that is both solid, balanced and refined.
Turn it all the way up and, although it doesn’t reach earsplitting volumes, it will easily fill a medium-sized room without any sign of distorting, no matter what music you play through it. More importantly, it sounds great wherever you put it, and Libratone’s 360-degree speaker tech really seems to work well. The sound signature hardly changes as you walk around it.[gallery:1]
I’d never expect a speaker of this size to sound particularly bassy, and if you pop on Trentemoeller’s “Moan” remix, you won’t get the guttural thump you would with a larger speaker, but it’s always controlled and still fun to listen to. Vocals, in the meantime, sound open and there’s plenty of zing at the top-end.
If anything the One Click is a touch too bright in places. The piano on Brad Mehldau’s live solo piano rendition of “Blackbird” took on some hard edges that I wasn’t too keen on, but for the most part, my test tracks sounded impressive; nothing fazes this speaker, from the rich tonal subtleties of the organ on Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar soundtrack to Six by Seven’s multilayered guitars.
You can’t go wrong with a Libratone, it would seem. Although this speaker isn’t the cheapest around, it sounds great, looks great, and the clever design means it’s rugged as well
The battery won’t last you as long as the one in the JBL Charge 3. Libratone claims it will last you “more than 12 hours”, where the JBL is rated at 20, but this speaker sounds smoother and more sophisticated.
In all, the Libratone One Click is more-than-decent Bluetooth speaker. I love the design and the sound, and although it’s a little short on features, there’s very little here to complain about. It’s an exceedingly good compact speaker.