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The Creative ZiiSound D5 is a set of wireless speakers marketed to those looking for top-of-the-range sound quality at a premium price. Overall, they perform well, but there are a few issues you should be aware of before taking the plunge of about £250.
Design - the ZiiSound D5 sports a sleek, minimalist design. The entire product is basically a cuboid measuring 42.5 x 11.1 x 9 cm. It is clean, and looks great as a coffee table centerpiece - although it does not even come close to the B&W Zeppelins in that department. It sits at a slight upward angle, so sound travels well even if you place it somewhat closer to the ground. Button-wise, there is only one power button located discretely at the back (flanked by an AUX input and a power socket). The only two other interfaces are the touch-enabled connect button and volume control.
Controls - this is where the ZiiSound falls flat on its face. The volume control is a touch-enabled drag-to-change affair. In theory, this is great, but in reality, should only be used if you want to go from mute to ear-busting, as it is pretty unresponsive. Fortunately, you can control the volume from your own device, mitigating this design flaw somewhat. The only other control is the Connect button. This still has me sitting on the fence. At first sight, it works great - tap the button to cycle between synced devices, hold for 3 seconds to enter pairing mode. In reality, it is annoying as there is no real indicator to tell you that your input has been registered. Worse still, tapping sometimes has no effect. As such cycling between paired devices is painstaking at times, requiring that you manually turn off Bluetooth on all other devices before you can connect the device that you want to.
Connectivity - generally very good - the only time sound has been interrupted has been when my computer has been too pre-occupied with other tasks I have set it to stream the music uninterrupted. From iDevices, I have encountered no problems whatsoever.
Sound quality - for a premium set of speakers, this is somewhat disappointing. The treble is fine and actually fairly decent given the slight offset expected with wireless speakers. The problem is the bass, which is nowhere near rich enough and is a big drawback, in my opinion. Even using the aptX dongle included, the bass is not rich enough. To add insult to injury, the lack of input/output options means that attaching a third-party subwoofer is not an option.
aptX dongle - The dongle attaches to all iPods, and really does improve sound quality. However, it is a major drain on battery life. When attached to my Nano, which usually lasts 24hrs, battery life dropped to only 6hrs. On the plus side, the dongle can be attached to the speakers, allowing simultaneous charging of the iPod. However, this kind of negates the need for wireless....