JBL Soundfly Air is a wireless speaker with AirPlay. Thanks to Air Play, anyone connected to your Wi-Fi network has the ability to use the speaker and can stream to it from their iOS device. And it gets better – the Soundfly Air produces sound that is crisp, expansive, and layered. Plus, taking up no shelf space, this little guy just plugs into an outlet and does its thing. This unique outlet-centric design makes it stand out amongst other similarly sized speakers.
Set up is quite an involved process, but fortunately only a one time thing. That said, you will definitely want the manual handy when attempting it. First, you have to plug the speaker into an outlet, turn it on, and place your hand by the blinking Wi-Fi signal until it turns green indicating that its ready to pair. Then, open your browser, and plug in the web page mentioned in the manual. At this point you need to click the Set Up category, which is not obvious. Then select your WiFi network, plug in the password, and be done with it. Your Wi-Fi at this point will revert back to your former home network. And you are done.
To use Air Play, much like you would on Apple TV, select the JBL speaker as your choice output. This allows anyone in the house to access the speaker, or hijack it depending how you look at it. If it is in use, another can’t use it until it is free. So there is a way to prevent your weird emo nephew from taking over with his smartphone – just keep the speaker in use. In any case, anyone on your home network can use their iOS device to stream with. The sound coming from the Soundfly is very clean, clear, and satisfying with 20 watts of power.
For the many of us who use a MacBook, iPad, etc to watch TV shows and movies, the JBL Soundfly is a great sound system add-on. It is portable, sounds great, and has a one time set up process, even though that one time is a doozy. However, at $200 it is a pretty hefty investment into such a tiny speaker. A bluetooth only version of the Soundfly is also available for $179. That said, some huge advantages it has over bluetooth speakers out there, is that you don’t have to run your phone battery down using Bluetooth all the time, and since it sports a unique plug-in design, it does not ever need to be charged, but it is limited to outlets only. That means that if your outlets are in weird places, like behind furniture, or you have limited access to outlets and can’t afford to have one totally dedicated to the speaker, then this speaker might not be for you.
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The Good: AirPlay support, Compact and unique outlet-centric design, Great Sound, look ma – no batteries or charging required!
The Bad: Difficult one time initial setup, must be plugged into an outlet to operate, pricey