Creative ZiiSound D5 review

Full review: Wireless speaker dock for cable-free tunes

Image 1 of 2 Creative Zii Sound D5 main
Creative Zii Sound D5 main
Image 2 of 2 Creative Zii Sound D5 front
Creative Zii Sound D5 front

Liberate your iPod or iPhone with this Bluetooth-equipped speaker

Wireless audio streaming is the way forward and Creative’s ZiiSound D5 is a single-box speaker system that can unlock songs stored on your mobile, laptop or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. Unlike speaker docks, which usually lock you into Apple iPods, the use of Bluetooth makes the ZiiSound D5 compatible with a much wider range of devices.

The ZiiSound D5 will pair up with any Bluetooth device using the A2DP transmission method, but to overcome the sound quality limitations of this Creative bundles its BT-D5 Bluetooth transmitter in the box. Usually sold for £40, this device uses an apt-X encoder to deliver better sound quality than regular Bluetooth audio – technology inherited from Creative’s Inspire S2 Wireless 2.1 speakers.

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The BT-D5 adapter plugs into the bottom of your iPod or iPhone, and when connected the adapter slots into a port on top of the unit, essentially turning it into an iPod dock (which will also charge the device for you). On the back you also get a minijack input for other MP3 players, but that’s the only socket on offer – we’d have expected a USB port at this price.

If your PC lacks Bluetooth, then Creative also sells a BT-D1 bluetooth adaptor (£40) that also comes equipped with apt-X technology.

Creative ZiiSound D5 – Design

The ZiiSound D5 is a stark, minimal but immensely stylish box, and its brick-like build quality lives up to the £280 price tag. It’s encased in silky black mesh cloth that covers its monocoque speaker design, which might sound like a French chicken dish but actually means ‘single shell’ – in other words, it uses as few parts as possible so the performance of the cones isn’t affected.

Using the ZiiSound D5 is a little cryptic at first but stick with it. The central black strip houses an clever touch-sensitive volume control, with little dots of light that increase when you slide your finger along it. It’s not particularly accurate but incredibly cool. The only other control on the front is a ‘Connect’ button that you have to hold down for three seconds in order to pair with your devices.

Creative ZiiSound D5 – Performance

One word: wow. The ZiiSound’s most obvious asset is its immense power – the sound is surprisingly loud and fulsome, lending an irresistible warmth to music whether you’re using Bluetooth or the auxiliary input. There’s crisp high-end detail, robust midrange and taut chunky bass, the recipe for a superb listening experience.

Comparing devices with and without Apt-X reveals its benefits – the technology delivers crisper, more dynamic sound quality, which makes a compelling argument for choosing this over rival Bluetooth music systems. Overall, the Zii Sound D5 is expensive, but its great sound quality, reliable Bluetooth functionality and a cutting-edge design justify the investment.

The Creative ZiiSound D5 is out now, find out more from Creative

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SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: 2.0

Range: 10m

Dimesions: 425x110x90mm

Weight: 3.8kg

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