As much as I love my Apple iPhone 3GS, there is a lot of media resting in the devices storage that is simply yearning to be released to an audience. I have already reviewed a set of great earphones by Creative Labs, which are just wonderful for when you require a solitary music experience, but there is still the matter of sharing the entertainment within a room with your family and friends or for when you wish to dance around a bit to the melodic rhythms (don’t worry I won’t tell anyone if you don’t!).
The Creative ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Wireless Speakers may have the answer, but not just for my iPhone, but other Bluetooth audio compatible hardware and anything else with a headphone socket. So that pretty much covers everything!
Your first thoughts when trying to answer this conundrum is to consider a fully featured hi-fi system. These usually offer many options including a CD player, FM Radio and a fairly large set of speakers. Very appealing to us chaps who love flashing lights and manly dials, however these can dominate a room and are hardly a subtle placing. This is not exactly going to please the minimalists among us or our other halves for that matter. Space can also be an issue, but the Creative ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Wireless Speakers are a perfect solution, sitting quite comfortably on shelves, ledges and on top of furniture.
The speakers on the Creative ZiiSound D5 are not obviously recognisable at first glance, which is a huge plus for placing it among your furniture. Instead it sits there quite unassumingly until you power it on and release the beast of sound that this unit can provide. Don’t let the deceptively minimal size of the unit give you the impression of an equally small sound. In fact the sound is extremely lush and you notice this the more you sit relaxing or for the less fortunate, working with your music playing in the background. You don’t need to have it blasting either to experience the niceties. Instead you can set the volume to a more ear friendly setting and still recognise the wonderful acoustic qualities within the sound. I have many sound systems around the house and for its size, the Creative ZiiSound D5 speakers offer just amazing clarity. Even when listening to songs produced decades ago, details you may have previously missed stand out and that alone is enough to delight anyone’s musical sessions. There is some distortion at high volume levels, but the integrated bass port at the rear and the 2.75″ full range drivers with digital amplifiers really do deliver fantastic results.
So lets speculate for a moment and suggest you own either an Apple iPhone, iPod or even an iPad. The speaker system in the UK comes complete with an additional bit of hardware for free, which connects to the standard Apple 30-pin connector. This provides not only wireless music playback, but a sound quality transmitted that would even please the most ardent audiophile. The Creative BT-D5 Bluetooth transmitter allows you to sit with your portable Apple device right next to you, giving you the typical control of selecting tracks, adjusting volume and even if you wish enjoy a few games with the sound pounding through something far more satisfying than the extremely minute built in speaker on your Apple product. This adapter features Creative’s apt-X technology, which is essentially their own bluetooth stereo audio codec, providing even better sound quality in wireless modes.
You may not want it lying around though or maybe the battery is getting extremely low. This is not a problem as Creative provides various adapters (rubber cushions) that your smaller Apple products can rest on. Selecting the correct adapter, you can then place (in my case) an Apple iPhone 3GS on top of the Creative speakers with the wireless transmitter still attached. Not only will the music continue to play, but you will also relax with the knowledge that your precious portable Apple device is also charging in a safe secure place.
The volume control is certainly snazzy as you simply slide your finger over the touch sensitive panel on the top of the speakers, with lights appearing indicating the level. Other than these and the ‘Connect’ light, the Creative ZiiSound D5 speakers remain quite aloof and are certainly not meant to compete with the Blackpool illuminations we often experience with music technologies. Phew I hear you gasp, as not everyone desires this light show.
If you don’t have any of these devices though, you can still utilise your phone or audio player if it supports Bluetooth Audio transmission. You will need to ‘pair’ your compatible player with the Creative speaker system by holding down the ‘Connect’ button on the front. Searching for Bluetooth devices and then entering the code ‘0000’ with your audio player, will establish connection and away you go. The sound quality is still superb when using this alternative method.
If your music collection resides on a laptop, you can purchase the Creative BT-D1 Bluetooth USB transmitter (this is currently included for free from the Creative UK Store!), which will enable wireless playback on your computer as well.
No matter which wireless method you use, you will be happy with the range (up to around 10 metres) before you notice the audio cutting out. I was even able to control the music from a room directly above the speakers, which is very useful for a prank or two if you are so inclined.
If you are really stuck and you don’t have any of the above situations, you can always depend instead on the built in ‘AUX-in’ port around the back of the Creative speakers, allowing you to plug in the typically small headphone like cable from your music player. This surely covers nearly every factor in your audio connecting world.
- Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)
- Supported Bluetooth profiles:
- A2DP (Wireless Stereo Bluetooth)
- AVRCP (Bluetooth Remote Control)**
- Frequency: 2.4 GHz
- Operating Range: Up to 10 meters (Measured in open space. Walls and structures may affect range of device.)
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 42.5cm x 11cm x 9cm (11.7” x 4.3” x 3.5”)
- Weight: 3.8kg / 8.4lbs
* Stereo Bluetooth or A2DP profile enables wireless transmission of full stereo sound to other Bluetooth devices. To determine whether your device (notebook, PC or mobile device) is equipped with A2DP-enabled Bluetooth technology, refer to your device manufacturer’s documentation/website for more information.
** Wireless control feature is compatible with devices (notebooks, PCs or mobile devices) with AVRCP profile only, refer to your device manufacturer’s documentation/website for more information.
The Creative ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Wireless Speakers not only gives you the freedom to select music and indeed video from your portable media player, but also represents a stunning sound quality that for the size will certainly fill most medium sized rooms. The stunning clarity even at lower volumes presents an amazing sense of satisfaction for the listener, while not dominating your room with a complete hi-fi system. The design is simplicity itself in both of actual use of the technology and the stylish presentation.
It may not be the cheapest set-up at around £279.99, but if you want the best results in a small convenient package, Creative have certainly excelled themselves in providing a very worthy option.
Rating: 4 / 5