Few iPod speakers received as many raves as the Creative ZiiSound D5 when it was released, in part because of its Bluetooth capability for streaming wireless music. Unlike some iPod speakers, including the critically acclaimed Arcam rCube (*Est. $475), you don't have to pay extra for the ZiiSound D5's Bluetooth transmitter; it comes included. Even if your iPod or iPhone is already Bluetooth compatible, the transmitter uses a lossless streaming protocol that may improve your sound quality with some audio files. Most reviewers are very impressed with the Creative ZiiSound D5, saying it offers very good sound quality and balanced audio, with a surprising amount of bass. The Bluetooth transmitter is easy to use, and reviews say it takes just a few seconds to pair with the speakers (if you use multiple iPods or iPhones, you might need to re-pair whenever you switch the transmitter to a new device).
The Creative ZiiSound D5 doesn't include a remote, but your iPod acts as a remote control when in streaming mode. A touch-sensitive strip on top of the speakers offers a manual volume control, but reviewers say it is too sensitive. We also saw one report that music distorts slightly at maximum volume. If you can stomach the cost, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air (Est. $600) offers flawless sound and wireless connectivity. If you don't need wireless streaming, the well-priced Logitech 5715i (*Est. $150) provides very good sound quality; it's also light and portable.
ILounge.com has the most detailed review of the Creative ZiiSound D5, and we also found quality analyses at TrustedReviews.com, MacWorld, CNET and PCMag.com. Other sources test the Creative ZiiSound D5 but aren't quite as detailed, including TechRadar.com, Pocket-Lint.com and T3.com.
ILounge.com gives the Creative ZiiSound D5 iPod speaker a strong recommendation. Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz calls it "one of the most impressive iPod and iPhone audio systems we've seen in the past three years."
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Wireless Speaker, Jeremy Horwitz, May 20, 2010
The Creative ZiiSound D5 earns a Recommended label from TrustedReviews.com. Hugo Jobling is impressed with the audio quality, saying the speakers offer decent bass and don't distort the sound, even at loud volumes.
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Speaker System Review, Hugo Jobling, May 13, 2010
The Creative ZiiSound D5 receives a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, although author Lex Friedman calls the touch-sensitive volume control "a bit too clever for its own good." He "thoroughly enjoyed" the unit's sound quality, and praises it for a better-than-advertised streaming range.
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Wireless Bluetooth Speakers, Lex Friedman, Dec. 24, 2010
CNET is impressed with the ZiiSound D5's sound quality, and David Carnoy thinks the speaker won't look out of place on a bookshelf. Like some reviewers, he finds the price a little too high.
Review: Creative Labs ZiiSound D5, David Carnoy, July 1, 2010
Tim Gideon at PCMag.com gives the Creative ZiiSound D5 a lower rating than most reviewers. He thinks the iPod speaker is too expensive, although he appreciates the "elegant" design and finds it easy to pair the transmitter and speakers.
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5, Tim Gideon, June 28, 2010
The Creative ZiiSound D5 earns a 4.5-star rating from TechRadar.com. The speakers are sleek and stylish, and audio quality is also excellent. Reviewer Ian Osborne says the iPod speaker "combines good looks with great audio."
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Review, Ian Osborne, July 12, 2010
7. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
The Creative ZiiSound D5 earns 4 stars (out of 5) from the British magazine What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision. Although editors are initially skeptical of the sound quality from Bluetooth speakers, they say "you'll be surprised by the results."
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5, Editors of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
The Creative ZiiSound D5 iPod speakers receive a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from Pocket-Lint.com. Reviewer Chris Hall says the speakers provide excellent sound quality for their size, although bass is a bit lacking.
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Speakers Review, Chris Hall, May 4, 2010
Danny Phillips at T3.com praises the Creative ZiiSound D5 for its "superb listening experience." It's easy to link your iPod with the speakers, and Phillips also gives Creative high marks for the understated design.
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Review, Danny Phillips, Sept. 8, 2011
Michael Aulia at CravingTech.com gives the Creative ZiiSound D5 a perfect 5-star rating. He calls it a "clear winner in both design and audio quality in the wireless speaker market." Connecting to the speakers is simple, and takes only a few seconds.
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Review, Michael Aulia, May 6, 2010
11. Anything But iPod
Grahm Skee at AnythingButIPod.com says the Creative ZiiSound D5 is the first wireless iPod speaker he's tested that sounds just as good as a traditional model. Other high points include build quality and overall design.
Review: Creative ZiiSound D5 Review, Grahm Skee, June 9, 2010