Review: Bowers & Wilkins T7 speaker
Sound systems have always occupied an interesting position in the landscape of our homes.
"Is hi-fi a piece of equipment or is it a piece of furniture - that's the dilemma," says Sir Kenneth Grange in this 2011 film for the Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound.
Founded in 1966 in Worthing on the south coast, Bowers & Wilkins is a British company with a long tradition of producing high quality design led speakers. The company appointed Sir Kenneth Grange as its industrial designer back in the 1970s, and there's a short history of his pioneering designs for the company here for anyone interested.
Fast forward to 2014 and their latest offering is the new T7 portable wireless bluetooth speaker.
I'm no gadget freak. The things in my home that have most meaning to me are generally objects that are imbued with beauty, tactility or some kind of emotional resonance. When it comes to technology, there are those pieces that you interact with on a purely functional level, because you need them to perform some essential daily task or activity, and then occasionally you come across an object that does its job so flawlessly that you can't help but fall for it in an altogether different kind of way. The Bowers & Wilkins T7 falls firmly into the latter category.
It is a dream to use. Like many people, I have scant patience for instruction manuals and complicated set-ups, but the T7 seamlessly hooks up to your phone, tablet or computer without the need for a Wi-Fi network, and I was up and running with it literally in seconds. The depth and quality of sound impresses you almost instantaneously - it is astonishingly good for such a small device. Unless you are the most obsessive of audiophiles, this is really the only speaker you need. It's that good!
At around the size of a hardback book it is pleasingly tactile and fits easily in the hand, so you can take it with you as you move around inside or outside the home. The external design is clean lined and minimal. The controls blend almost imperceptibly into a black rubber frame that encases a a distinctive transparent honeycomb of interlocking cells. This braces the cabinet to give it stability and reduce vibration - there's no distortion, just immaculate sound quality with superb clarity and surprising power.
I had no idea I needed a portable wireless bluetooth speaker in my life until I tried the T7, but with its easy 'pick up and play' design I find myself using it all over the home, from on my desk in the office, to the kitchen or the bedroom, and lazy Sunday mornings at home with the papers in my favourite chair definitely just got a whole lot better.
Bowers & Wilkins provided Design Hunter with a T7 for the purpose of this review. All views, styling and photography my own.