Stylish speaker can hide your gadgets, charge your smartphone
The home audio market is pretty much flooded with Bluetooth speakers, so if you want to make your mark you have to offer something a little different. The PR / 01 wireless speaker from Native Union in partnership with France's La Boite Concept rocks a concealed drawer that hides audio inputs from view while also serving as a small gadget locker. It can also top up a smartphone over USB or wirelessly with the addition of an optional Qi charger.
The PR / 01 wireless speaker has a boxy late 20th century home hi-fi aesthetic, with a wooden enclosure, fabric cover and brass-colored aluminum instead of the plastic or chrome controls found on many powered speaker competitors.
Native Union is making much of the top notch sound quality music lovers can expect from the unit, thanks in part to Bluetooth with aptX support, for CD-quality streaming from mobile devices, and something called Active Pression Reflex technology.
Though this has the air of yet another industry buzz phrase, the company told us that it's actually a modern reworking of patented tech from the 1970s. Originally developed by the Cagniard family, the update has been 7 years in the making and sees two speakers (one of which is a woofer) controlled by multiple digital amplifiers housed in an airtight chamber. This pressure chamber system is said to result in "unmatched sound fidelity," even in the lower registers.
Generally, wireless speakers hide their connectivity ports from view by placing them around back. But that means they'll still be seen if the device is plonked on a coffee table in the middle of the living room. Native Union has therefore opted to have the user grasp the wood veneer sides and pull the housing forward to reveal a secret drawer at the back.
The rear wall of this compartment is home to RCA analog inputs, 3.5 mm audio jacks, an optical audio input, a pair of USB type A ports and a USB port. And as well as being able to charge a smartphone using power supplied by the USB ports, an optional Drop wireless charger can be plugged in that allows a user to place a Qi-enabled phone on the top of the PR / 01 and charge cable-free.
The 410 x 237 x 256 mm (16 x 9.3 x 10 in) PR / 01 speaker is available now for US$799. If you want to wirelessly top up your smartphone while you listen to some tunes, the Drop charger will cost an additional $59.99.
Source: Native Union