The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini is one of the best looking iPod and iPhone docks ever created. Following on from the gargantuan Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, this smaller sequel is slimmer, and less space-hungry than its predecessor, but can it retain the same awesome sonic performance? Read our full Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini review to find out.
The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini is more than a speaker, it’s a work of art. The concave steel finish of its top artfully supports its hidden swivel mechanism and custom iPhone and iPod mounting brackets, while its front and sides, wrapped in cloth, subtly hide the twin three-inch speakers inside.
The Zeppelin Mini’s swivelling mount is incredibly tactile. A gentle push sends the iPhone or iPod touch from portrait to landscape position with a graceful revolving motion that automatically slows towards the end of its movement. No snapping, no jarring. This is, as Alan Partridge would’ve put it, a “nice action”.
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The remote too, has been lavished with well considered design. It’s an oval with buttons for track control, play/pause, volume and to switch between the iPod or iPhone and an auxiliary input. Flip it over, and you’ll see the polished metal back features a subtle oval indent, letting the remote rest comfortably in the hand, without glancing down to ensure it’s facing the right way.
Click the remote, and the Zeppelin Mini springs to life. A single LED beneath its cloth frontage glows red while in standby and blue during playback. Of course, the iPhone or iPod’s screen illuminates too, while the Zeppelin Mini charges its battery.
Sound is both deep and crisp, with simultaneously shrill highs and well-rounded bass, a surprise given the Zeppelin Mini’s small stature, and a rare ability in iPod docks this size.
We first took the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini for a spin with the luxuriously produced Ellipse by Imogen Heap. Its Grammy Award-winning tones filling the room with clarity, even at low volumes, before thundering without distortion as we cranked up the juice.
More lo-fi offerings, such as Akira The Don’s web-released ATD20 mixtape, also impressed, while the auxiliary input gladly sucked up sounds from our tiny, and similarly mirrored, iPod shuffle, albeit without the track controls offered for other iPods and iPhones.
The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini is incredibly hard to fault. However, removing an iPhone from its cradle was a consistently hair-rasing experience. The Zeppelin Mini grabbed such a tight hold on our phone that at times we feared for its connector after wrenching it free. Bowers & Wilkins’ design might be smart once the phone is in place, but removing it is made tricky by the height of its cradle, leaving little space to grip the handset without it slipping free.
That said, there’s nothing here that a firm hand won’t solve, and we’d prefer the Zeppelin Mini to boast a grip too tight than too wobbly and loose. All of which leaves only the price tag slapped on B&W’s tiny masterpiece as cause for consternation.
At a penny less than £300 it’s toward the expensive end of pricey, but for the outlay you can be sure of stellar sound quality and attention-packed design.
The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini is a spectacular performer, with a design to put the rest of your decor to shame. Yes, there’s a hefty expense associated, but in a world of cookie-cutter iPod accessories, this is one worth the extra outlay.