A “floating speaker” sounds like a gimmick. It looks cool, it definitely has a futuristic Jetsons house kind of vibe, but does it actually do its job? After all, we want speakers to work like speakers, regardless of any other functions they might have. Designers have played with this concept a number of times, but none of their levitating creations ever seemed poised to actually make much of a mark on the consumer electronics market. Until now.
When a well-established tech brand takes what was previously just an interesting concept and presents it to the world, people are bound to take notice. LG debuted its Levitating Portable Speaker (model PJ9) at CES 2017, putting it on display for thousands of onlookers to show it’s got more than just eye-catching looks. The diminutive speaker hovers over its dock while blasting audio 360 degrees, making it an ideal table centerpiece both for its status as a conversation starter and its functionality.
Electromagnets inside the “Levitation Station” keep the wireless, omnidirectional, ovoid speaker unit hovering in the air until you either turn it off or its 10-hour battery gets low, at which point it will automatically return itself to its home base to recharge with no interruption of play. Its compact size makes it easy to carry around to different spots in the home, to work or even outside, and it’s IPX7 compliant, which means it can withstand being left in heavy rain.
A subwoofer is embedded in the Levitation Station to help provide the deep, rich sound you’re looking for, while LG’s Dual Passive Radiator technology keeps those mid-range tones and highs on point. Multipoint connection tech lets the device connect to two Bluetooth devices at once, so you don’t have to re-pair it with your phone after previously hooking it up to your computer or allowing someone else to stream from their own phone.
“Our latest addition to our growing lineup of premium wireless audio devices is not only eye-catching but also communicates the message that LG is serious about bringing something different to the table,” says Brian Kwon, president and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company. “We are absolutely dedicated to exploring new concepts and to pioneering innovative designs for its advanced audio products for consumers around the world, and the PJ9 is the latest example of this commitment.”
Other floating speaker designs that have been made available to consumers frankly looked cooler than LG’s relatively clunky off-white model, but most reviews have proven them to be no better than paperweights in terms of sound quality. It’ll be interesting to see whether LG can bring all of the necessary factors together to make this a true must-have item in the home.
Sure, there are going to be people who still ask whether a floating speaker is something you really need in your life. It’s clear that for many people, the futuristic floating factor alone is a reason to say yes, and the sound might just prove some naysayers wrong. While it’s not the first levitating speaker to make it to the market, its unusually long battery life and weather resistance give it major usability points.
LG plans to release the Levitating Portable Speaker for purchase later this year.