Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air
B&W Zeppelin Air review: A high-end iPod dock with AirPlay wireless music streaming
- Excellent sound quality for a medium-sized room
- AirPlay works very easily
- Great design
- It's so expensive
- Setup for AirPlay could confuse newbies, especially because there is no LCD screen
Bowers & Wilkins knows that the Zeppelin Air is a premium product. It's very pretty and sounds very good, and now has the advantage of Apple's AirPlay wireless music streaming system -- the only downside is its high price.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Bowers & Wilkins' Zeppelin Air iPod dock sounds excellent, looks very stylish and works easily once you've got it set up (an initially confusing process). The only concern we have is with its high price tag, which will deter plenty of prospective buyers.
B&W Zeppelin Air iPod dock: Design and features
The Zeppelin Air is near-identical to the original B&W Zeppelin — it's got the same zeppelin-esque shape (surprising, really) and iPod/iPhone dock on the front. A thin chrome accent runs down the centre at the front, providing a backdrop for the chrome power and volume controls. These are the only buttons on the entire face of the Zeppelin Air, and there's no LCD screen to tell you the current status or volume — obviously an aesthetic choice, but we would have liked a display to help guide us through the initial setup.
You can plug an iPod or iPhone directly into the B&W Zeppelin Air's iPod dock — we even balanced an iPad on there successfully, although it was a bit precarious — but the biggest reason to buy the Zeppelin Air is its support for Apple's AirPlay wireless music streaming standard over Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n. With this, you can connect the Zeppelin Air to a Wi-Fi network and stream music from a PC or Mac running iTunes, or an iOS device like an Apple iPhone or iPad. The back of the Zeppelin Air has an Ethernet port for connecting directly to a wired network, as well as composite video output (for playing iPad or iPhone movies on a TV), USB for firmware upgrades and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input.
B&W Zeppelin Air iPod dock: Performance and sound quality
Setting up the B&W Zeppelin Air to work with AirPlay is a simple process, but it's easy to make a mistake and users are advised to follow the included instructions rigidly. Using an iPhone, we connected to the Zeppelin Air's private Wi-Fi network, and opened a Web browser to browse to a presupplied IP address where we selected the name of our Wi-Fi network and entered the appropriate password. It's more complicated than just pressing a few buttons, but if you follow the directions everything works as you'd expect. We did make the rookie mistake of entering our Wi-Fi password incorrectly the first time — one of the hazards of testing plenty of networking products — which meant we had to reset the Zeppelin Air and start again from scratch.
Once we had the B&W Zeppelin Air on our Wi-Fi network, a small symbol appears in the corner of iTunes or the iOS iPod app — selecting it starts streaming whatever music is playing to the Zeppelin Air and lets you control the dock's volume directly. It works seamlessly and music is up and playing within a few seconds.
Sound quality is excellent at both low and high power levels, and retains its musical character no matter the volume. We didn't notice any difference in sound quality between AirPlay streaming and direct connection of our iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 — there's no obvious audio compression or loss of clarity when streaming. Bass is strong and upfront with the Zeppelin — it's not going to shake any floors, but it's definitely present and does a good job of providing a punchy backup to other frequencies. Treble is clear without being too harsh, although at maximum volume it did get a little ringing in our ears.
Read more: Marshall Monitor headphone review
B&W Zeppelin Air iPod dock: Conclusion
B&W's Zeppelin Air is a great looking iPod dock. The design hasn't aged since the original Zeppelin's launch in 2007. Once you've got AirPlay set up, it's simple to use — we had songs streaming from an iPhone 4 and iTunes on a Macbook Pro within five minutes of unpacking the Zeppelin Air. Most users will need to follow the instructions to the letter though, and a missed keystroke means a few extra minutes of resetting and restarting the process.
And as you'd expect, the sound quality of the B&W Zeppelin Air is excellent. It's able to handle high volume levels without struggling, and the sound it produces has strong bass and treble without being too forward or fatiguing. All up, it's an excellent product and all that needs to be justified when you're buying is its high price tag.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
Apple Watch Series 6
LiTMUS LAB Dakota Side Table
WD My Passport™ SSD
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker
WD_BLACK™ SN850 NVMe™ SSD
Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System
ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14
Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sony Playstation 5
Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch
Fujiflim Instax Square SQ1
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor
Garmin vívofit® jr. 2
Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush
Fender Fullerton Ukele
MSI Modern 14
Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player
Dickie Toy Remote Control Mega Crane Set
SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String
MSI GE66 Dragonshield Limited Edition
Kindle Paperwhite eReader (10th Gen)
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- 2 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 3 Google Pixel 4a review: The Goldilocks Google phone
- 4 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: Wrong Number
- 5 LG NANO99 NanoCell 8K TV review: Prestige at a price
Latest News Articles
- Sound right at home with Poly
- tvOS 14.2 update is now available for Apple TV
- Apple’s Clips 3.0 update features a new interface, more stickers and soundtracks, and HDR recording
- Acer’s Halo smart speaker boasts Google Assistant and RGB lighting
- iMovie for iPhone and iPad is updated with HDR and 4K 60fps support
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone that’s future proof
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?