Most reviewers agree that the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini iPod speaker is lovely to look at and delivers incredible sound for its size (though some critics, including PCMag.com's Tim Gideon, feel that the bass is a bit weak). This unit measures 12.6 inches wide, weighs 5.5 pounds and, unlike the full-size Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air (Est. $600), is not actually shaped like a blimp. The Zeppelin Mini is GSM-shielded, which means you can dock your iPhone without putting it into airplane mode; the audio input on the back of the unit allows you to play audio from other devices. The small, egg-shaped remote fits perfectly atop the Zeppelin's concave top, but some say it is a bit awkward to use and lacks the ability to access your iPod's menu, something reviewers from PCMag and CNET feel should be included.
One feature that impresses reviewers: if you connect your computer to the dock via USB, you can use the remote to control iTunes on your computer while the audio output plays on the Zeppelin Mini. The Mini's relatively high price is its biggest downside; the Creative ZiiSound D5 Wireless (*Est. $160) is a more affordable alternative with both wireless capability and excellent sound quality.
Several tech sites -- including PCMag.com, CNET, What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision magazine, and CrunchGear.com -- provide substantial reviews of the Zeppelin Mini; most include ratings and specs.
Tim Gideon gives the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini 3.5 out of 5 stars for excellent sound and looks. While finding the audio output impressive, considering the unit's compact size, he says the bass could be more substantial. Overall, he considers the Zeppelin Mini a good choice but feels that a few more features -- such as iPod menu navigation via the remote -- should be included.
Review: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini, Tim Gideon, Jan. 4, 2010
Reviewer David Carnoy is impressed with the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini, praising the sound quality but conceding that the bass is weak. He also compliments the device on its attractive design, and likes the ability to swivel the docked iPod or iPhone for viewing video. Although he feels that the Zeppelin Mini is scant on features, he concludes that it represents the best of the larger Zeppelin combined with a lower price tag.
Review: B&W Zeppelin Mini Speakers for iPod, David Carnoy, Nov. 13, 2009
3. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
The B&W Zeppelin Mini wins a 2010 "Best iPod Dock" award in its price range. The editors of What Hi-Fi? like its detail throughout the frequency range, and state that "you won't find a better proposition at this price."
Review: B&W Zeppelin Mini, Editors of What Hi-Fi?
The B&W Zeppelin Mini gets high marks from author Riyad Emeran for design, sound and overall performance, but receives only an average score for value. Emeran says that the sound is outstanding for the size of the unit, but notes that older iPods are not compatible with the Mini. He also says the speaker system did not perform well when streaming audio from low bit-rate files.
Review: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini Review, Riyad Emeran, Feb. 1, 2010
Reviewer Ray Aguilera gives the B&W Zeppelin Mini a glowing review, highlighting its excellent performance for its size and its ability to act as a computer speaker. On the downside, he is disappointed with the subdued bass, absence of an owner's manual, and the lack of a USB cable for Mac users.
Review: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini, Ray Aguilera, March 11, 2010
Like many other reviewers, Matt Burns raves about the B&W Zeppelin Mini's smooth lines. As for sound, he admits that the Mini can't compete with its grown-up cousin the B&W Zeppelin, but gives the smaller speaker kudos for being tops in its class. As much as he likes the B&W Zeppelin Mini, he finds that the device runs into problems when syncing his iPod -- it becomes unresponsive afterward.
Review: Review: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin mini, Matt Burns, Dec. 2, 2009