Is the $1,400 Devialet Portable Smart Speaker Worth the Price Tag?
If you want a high-fidelity portable smart speaker sporting 360° stereo sound that’s tuned to perfection with an adaptive stereo calibration that morphs the soundstage depending on your physical environment, it’ll set you back a pretty penny. At a whopping AUD$1,400 a pop, the Devialet Mania, the company’s flagship portable smart speaker, is a hell of an investment compared to other portable speakers in the market. With Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth 5.0, Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, an IPX4 splash and moisture resistance, up to ten hours of playtime and voice assistant control, we’re here to ask, are all these features enough to warrant the ludicrous price tag? Let’s find out.
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While it may not be as expensive as the limited edition Balenciaga x Bang & Olufsen Speaker Bag we featured in July, AUD$1,400 is still a big pill to swallow, especially for a portable Bluetooth speaker. However, as with any Devialet product, you’re not buying it for its functionality alone, it’s all about the form, or as the product page reads, an iconic aesthetic morphed into portable speaker form.
The Devialet Mania features visible push-push woofers and a co-spherical design covered in a luxurious and protective woven exoskeleton that can resist inadvertent splashes without skipping a beat. Weighing in at 2.3kg, the Mania is roughly the same weight as a laptop. Compared to other portable speakers on the market, it’s about four times as heavy. But unlike most Bluetooth speakers on the market that just blast your tunes with little thought given to acoustics and dynamic range, Devialet wants you to “experience pure infatuation with augmented listening that leaves a lasting impression.”
What does that mean exactly? It means the Devialet Mania adapts to your environment using some seriously high-tech audio magic. The speaker calibrates your audio in real-time with acoustic mapping technology, ASC (Active Stereo Calibration), four-room calibrating microphones and embedded intelligence capabilities that automatically adjust the audio rendering based on your surroundings. It’s even smart enough to auto-activate the Bluetooth when you step outside.
The Mania also inherits Devialet’s patented SAM technology, which adapts the audio signal to eliminate distortions and enhance bass performance. If you own the Wonderboom 2 from Ultimate Ears, you’re probably already a fan of their Outdoor Boost for louder, crisper audio, specially tuned for outdoor listening. Well, Devialet’s version takes it to the next level.
The Devialet Mania has a 30Hz to 20kHz frequency response for bone-shaking bass and obsession-inducing sound across the entire audio spectrum, plus an add-on chargeable dock for powering the portable speaker at home. Operating on the same DOS2 software ecosystem as the Devialet Phantom and Devialet Dione, users can also control every audio feature through the Devialet App, including a personalised equaliser, available for Android and iPhone.
While the price tag may be a bit out of reach for the average consumer, the purpose of the Devialet Mania, and any other premium product on the market, is to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of portable audio. Though, if we had it our way, we’d ask them to extend the battery life because 3200mAh is not nearly enough for all-day listening on the go.
On the outside, it’s an enticing premise, but we’re going to have to pass on the Devialet Mania. Sure, it does a lot of boundary-pushing (it literally has push-push woofers), but at such a high cost, it’s hard to adopt these over more affordable speakers on the market. With the speakers expected to ship from the 28th of November, consumers can preorder the Devialet Mania from their website in either grey or black. And for an additional AUD$319, you can protect your investment with Devialet Care extended warranty. Of course, you could always pay even more if you really wanted to since Devialet is offering a premium edition made in collaboration with the Opéra de Paris with 24K gold inlays for an extra AUD$300. But don’t worry, it comes with a complimentary Devialet Mania Docking Station.