• 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Terrible connectivity

    • Written by from Houston

    I keep waiting for a software update to fix this thing, no luck. Save your money and get something else. I had the Zeppelin and it worked flawlessly, great sound, but much pricier. This thing will not hold a connection - using an airport extreme, iPhone, iMac, iPad, you name the apple product. It just doesn't work.

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Great sound when it works

    • Written by from Chicago

    The sound of the A5 is great compared to other speakers of its size. It looks great, and the sound fills an average size room a lot better than most bluetooth speakers. For the price I expected this. What I didn't expect was the troubles using it with Airplay. I can not get through a single song without it cutting out or just completely stopping the song. I have to connect it back to Airplay so many times that I end up just using an AUX cable which defeats the main purpose of this speaker. If I wanted to be tethered to my speaker I would not have spent $500. I've tried everything I can and everything recommended by B&W and it just won't stay connected. The only solution I have found is to hardwire the speaker to an ethernet port, but considering my router is in another room of my house, I would need to either run a very long cable or use a wi-fi relay to make this happen. For something that is supposed to make listening to music easy, this is too complicated for the price.

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    WiFi Drop outs constantly

    • Written by from Blackheath

    I too have had constant flaky WiFi dropouts making me revert to using the A7 in the adjacent room. Waste of $599 !!

    1 of 2 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Useless brick

    • Written by from Kitchener

    As others have noted, flaky WiFi implementation and constant dropouts render this an expensive cinder block. Disappointed in Apple for selling it to be honest.

    7 of 8 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Completely unreliable

    • Written by from Milton

    The A5 Drops Airplay connection so much that it is basically un-usable. It becomes a part time hobby to keep resetting it. There is no firmware updates. Big waste of money.

    18 of 18 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Useless

    • Written by from Santiago

    Just bought an A5 thinking of listening to my itunes collection. Since there are several ipads and iphones st home, I was looking for a system that everyone could share. It didn't work. Two or three minutes of streaming, and then silence. So, after trying four or five times, streaming from different devices, just took it back to the store, and returned with a Bose Soundtouch 30 that works perfectly fine. Buyer beware!

    9 of 10 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Great sound, horrible software.

    • Written by from MINNEAPOLIS

    Setup process is terrible, and only supports 2.5ghz radio. Neither your network SSID NOR your password can have exotic characters, such as spaces, pound signs and the like. Once you manage to reconfigure your network to fit the broken software on this device, you will notice that the device is NOT available on the 5ghz version of your network, which is very, very lame. If you get that far, you'll also find its Airplay implementation tends to drop out quite a bit more often than it should (I've streamed to Airport extremes with no issues in the past, on the same network).

    Looks great, sounds great, but the software is just disgusting. Do not buy.

    11 of 12 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Air Play only?

    • Written by from East Meadow

    I purchased these at the store's recommendation as external computer speakers. First disappointment is they are only air play and can't connect to the computers audio output. Second disappointment is they are too bassy with no adjustment available. Some albums like Celine Dion are almost unintelligible. I am taking them back. Further there are no manuals.

    4 of 5 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    awesome!!!

    • Written by from Lidcombe

    easy to set up...
    nice sound...
    If you like listen to classic music in your room, it is a best choice

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    An Excellent Airplay Speaker

    • Written by from Chippenham

    I have had this speaker for five months now. It is very simple to set up using the ios app. The speaker does need a 20-30 hour bedding-in period as they were quite muffled when they came out of the box. However, once they settle in they have wonderful clarity, especially in the mid and higher ranges. The A5 doesn't have a sub-woofer, therefore relative to other speakers like the Zeppelin Air (which does) or the Bose Soundlink Air (which doesn't but is quite bass-heavy anyway) they are slightly lacking in the bass frequency range particularly at lower volumes. However, at a higher volume the bass is more prominent and can be increased further by placing the speaker close to a boundary wall or in the corner of a room (about 2 inches from a wall seems to work best). I have tried many Airplay speakers and to be frank they all drop network connections at some point. The A5 is about similar to the Bose Soundlink Air in this regard. I now use my A5 connected to the network by LAN cable and it hasn't dropped off the network in the last 3 months. If you are able to play this speaker at moderate or high volumes you will be get the best opportunity to experience the full clarity of it's soundscape!

    4 of 4 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Dissapointed

    • Written by from Spring Hill

    I am a HUGE Bowers & Wilkins fan (I own 6 of their CM9s and a full surround set of their XT series) so I pretty much bought this completely disregarding all the negative reviews I read. Alas, I have now had it for 2 hours and it is going back to the shop tomorrow. I have a white light flashing rapidly which, if you go to their site and download a manual (they don't give you one in the box!) will tell you that it is because there is a firmware error. I'll exchange this for a new unit and see what happens.

    5 of 6 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Simply Amazing!

    • Written by from Long Island City

    Set-up: simple, easy. I downloaded the Control App from B&W onto my Mac as well as iOS device. If you're setting up the A5 using your Mac, and you're running a dual-band Wi-Fi network; make sure you selected the 802.11g band. After set-up completes, you can switch back to the faster band. Set-up took about 5-minutes and the A5 was ready to go.

    Sound: currently breaking in the A5 but the sound is fantastic. I'm using the A5 as a speaker on my balcony. Even with all the city noises in NYC, the A5 can easily output clear, crisp music to your listening content. The only thing louder than the A5 is the occasional ice truck when it comes around. My range of musical taste varies from electronic dance music to rock to classical to R&B, basically everything except for country. The bass is tight, while the mids and highs are crystal clear.

    Design: what can I say, it's B&W. Simple, elegant, clean and well constructed. The use of aluminum is tastefully done. Sadly there is a power brick, although not obnoxious in size.

    Overall impression: highly recommended if you're in the market for great looking, amazing sound AirPlay speaker. Others have written about AirPlay connection with the A5 and how it keeps dropping. I live in a NYC 33-floor high-rise apartment and there are a lot of Wi-Fi networks, problem but I haven't experienced any (knock on wood). I am using Apple's 802.11ac Time Capsule with dual-bands, in which the A5 is connected to 802.11b/g/n. My Macs and iOS devices are connected 802.11ac and easily see the A5 for wireless streaming.

    2 of 2 people found this useful

  • 3.0 out of 5 stars

    Solved audio dropouts problem (apparently)

    • Written by from Barcelona

    As most opinions here I agree, loved the design and the sound quality is very good for the kind of compact device it is. The problem comes from connectivity, since I purchased it a few months ago I experienced constant dropouts in the sound when playing from my Mac, very annoying.

    I looked for some solution and found some advices at B&W support page (unfortunately this review page doesn't accept to copy links). I have just turned off the bluetooth and not a single dropout in the last hour… I hope it keeps this way… and this comment is useful for others… good luck!

    2 of 4 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Good sound - dreadful setup

    • Written by from Lewes

    I purchased an A5 speaker 2.5 months back and since that time it has been nothing short of a painful experience trying to connect it our wireless network, and when it is connected it keeps dropping out. Originally I thought it was just our network, but since moving into our new office which has super fast fiber I realise its the fault of the speaker. I contacted the store I purchased it for (Apple, Churchill Square, Brighton) and the sales person said they had the same speaker and experienced the same issue. I have spent countless times trying to connect it, resetting, etc. and to be quite honest I have given up with it. I've been using computers for 25 years now, so am no technophobe when it comes to these things. I'm also so disappointed, seeing as its my fist B&W product. Apart from the setup issue, the speaker does have a good sound for its size. However, if you're looking for an amazing sound, I'd recommend the B&O A8.

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Unstable Airplay Implementation

    • Written by from Philadelphia

    I returned the A5 speaker system due to unstable Airplay implementation. Half the time I wanted to play music to the A5 speakers, I had to first power-cycle the speaker to make them appear in the list of available Airplay speakers.

    5 of 5 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Wireless connectivity so bad as to be useless

    • Written by from Austin

    I'm a tech savvy electrical engineer with both pc's and mac's. However the flakiness of the A7 airplay connection renders it almost unusable. It constantly drops out, hangs, requires resets to reconnect etc. I spent considerable time and tried many approaches to solve or minimize the problem with no success. Running through setup procedure many times, Different wireless routers, dedicated Airport Time capsule placed nearby etc. Software/firmware updates etc etc. Nothing seems to give reliable connectivity. Also it's useless as a wireless speaker if you are watching video on your pc or laptop since the time delay leaves the audio out of sync with the video by seconds.

    The sound quality is excellent, but wireless connectivity is essentially unusable it's so bad. Only buy these if you plan on using an audio cable connection, and disregard the wireless features.

    12 of 15 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Complete POS

    • Written by from Sherman Oaks

    sorry, i don't care if all the other bluetooth speakers in the world have problems, they don't all cost several hundred dollars. and, yes, this thing sounds good when it plays (which is totally intermittent). whatever you do, do not start enjoying any music out of this speaker. this speaker leaves me wanting the days of sound docks and cable connections. i've even dedicated an airport express to this system in the hopes that wiring it would improve the connection like it improved every single other device (ps3, bose system, etc.) i've ever tried. NO LUCK. This is a total waste of money!!! I don't even care about throwing away a few hundred bucks, it's just the frustration of trying to listen to music that gets me.) No matter what anyone else says, if you want to listen to your music without a rash of annoying interruptions of all random durations, do not buy this device. B&W, shame on you.

    12 of 13 people found this useful

  • 4.0 out of 5 stars

    very good range and clarity

    • Written by from Toronto

    Yes, Airplay is not a perfect technology. Connection will drop for a myriad of reasons which have nothing to do with the quality of sound. And this is not a problem exclusive to B&W. I also have a Bose system and the sound of the A5 is superior. I did a lot of research and while this is on the expensive side, it has been the best performer to date.

    2 of 2 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Pretty darned good!

    • Written by from Ashbourne

    Very impressed. Astonishing sound quality from a little box. Maybe the A7 is better, but the A5 is pretty darned good. Doubt I could appreciate the difference.

    Unlike some reviewers I found Airplay easy to set up. Using iPad Air and ios 7.1 with the B&W app through a BT Homehub 3 router it worked first time.

    Not cheap, but worth the money.

    1 of 2 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Don't like the way this speaker manages volume setting

    • Written by from Dexter

    Pros: Strong amplifier. Beautiful design

    Cons: Depends on digital volume (i.e. the iTunes volume slider) to control volume.

    The speakers have volume buttons (+/-) but what these do is send a digital signal through AirPlay asking the controlling computer/phone to lower the volume. Press the + button and you'll see the volume slider on iTunes or your phone going up.

    This means that the amp is fixed at a given gain, and the speakers depend on the input coming at a lower level when the volume is down. Two problems I see from this:

    a) at lower volumes, you get less resolution. Digital music use numbers to represent the amplitude of the sound. If you have 8 bits, then there are 256 possible values. If you have more bits, the digital sound signal will be more accurate to the original analog signal. When you are forced to use the digital volume control to keep the sound to a reasonable volume (say 10%) you are using only 25/26 out of the 256 possible values. So your accuracy is equivalent to have only 5 bits, instead of 8. This is something similar to what happens on a digital camera when you have to use the digital zoom (less quality) vs. using a true lens zoom.

    b) drivers may get damaged when you accidentally switch from computer speakers or headphones to the A5. I personally use the iTunes volume at around 80% when using the speakers of my MB Air, and around 60% when using headphones. If you forget to lower the volume to 20% before switching to the A5, you'll jump out of your chair...

    9 of 9 people found this useful