Samsung R7 review: An egg-shaped audio wonder
MANILA, Philippines – The Samsung R7 looks quite the strange creature. If you chance upon it at a friend's house, it will likely will grab your attention. "What is it? What is this strange egg-shaped device? Is it a hologram projector? A trophy?" These are the things you may ask.
The R7 is neither a projector nor a trophy – although it could definitely be the latter if you're the type who considers top-tier gadgets as such. The R7 is a wireless speaker that doubles as modern decoration. As a speaker, the R7 sounds incredible. It features a 360-degree audio design, which is devised to fill up a room with powerful sound. Allow us to explain further.
While traditional speakers pump sound toward one direction, the R7's audio is omni-directional. The speaker treats the room like an audio chamber of sorts, bouncing sound toward every direction to envelop your ears. It feels as though you don't know where the sound is coming from; you just kind of feel and hear it all around you.
And fortunately, the audio that the R7 produces is very good. It produces a very satisfying oomph with its woofer that faces downward, providing a rigid backbone for its audio profile. The powerful woofer fulfills its role in making sure that its room-filling sound is punchy and powerful.
For really large rooms though, you might want to make use of several of these to achieve that room-filling goodness. On the top of the speaker, you'll find the tweeter, which does a commendable job of producing crisp highs. Both ends – the woofer and the tweeter – are equipped with "acoustic lenses" which disperse the sound to help create the illusion that the sound is coming from all over the room.
The R7 just sounds right. Unless you're the most discerning of audiophiles, it's a thrill to power up the speaker and listen to its satisfying sounds.
More than sounding right, the R7 will look right at home in a modern dwelling. it comes with its own chrome stand but consumers have the option of putting it up on a tall tripod or hanging it from the ceiling. Samsung did a great job of transforming the R7 into a conversation piece. It's made of a premium matte material with silver trims breaking the monotony. Consumers have the choice of buying it in black or white.
Connecting devices to the R7 can be done either through Bluetooth 4.0 or WiFi. The former is the option that most users will choose. It's mostly painless to connect. There's a portion on the speaker that you press to activate Bluetooth. We pressed it, and we had no trouble connecting it to an Apple or an Android device. What's troubling is that it's sometimes hard to find that area on the speaker (there's no physical button) that activates the connectivity options.
It's an issue when you place the device on the floor; you'll have to kneel to operate it. If you buy the separate tripod or place it atop a table, then this is a non-issue.
If you just place it on the ground though, you'll have to feel out the buttons until you find them. The same goes for the power button. There's no physical button too; you just kind of try to find the right area to turn it on or off. There's an audio cue – a voice telling you that you've pressed the button – but it's difficult to tell which button you've pressed until you've actually pressed it.
Now, what the R7 really is, is that it's supposed to be a multiroom speaker. That's where the WiFi connecitivity comes in. You're supposed to have several of these placed in several rooms in your house. Through Samsung's app, you are able to control all the speakers in your network, its volume and the audio, from wherever you are in the house as long as your phone's connected to the same WiFi network.
In theory, it's a cool proposition – but only if you're from the privileged crowd. The R7 costs P20,000. One is expensive enough; what more an entire network?
Through Samsung's "TV Sound Connect" option, you can also combine several of these speakers with a Samsung soundbar to recreate surround sound. We've tested the R7 with Netflix content, and we liked how clear the audio was.
Overall, the R7 looks, feels, and sounds nice. It's just somewhat a bit too pricey for the general consumer. For most listeners, it will be hard to differentiate the audio quality coming from the R7 and those from a wireless speaker in a slightly lower price bracket.
But if there's something that might justify the extra money, it's the 360-audio and that experience of being enveloped in sound. Now, If you're the type who can afford several of these to populate your home, that's great because then you'd be able to maximize its multiroom app and features.
But if you're just looking for a great speaker to put in your living room or bedroom, take the R7 for what it is: a premium choice with a premium price tag. – Rappler.com