I own a lot of Bluetooth speakers. And I’ve played with even more. From powerful models from Bose and Libratone down to your basic Jawbone and the Amazon Echo. While each has its own specific strengths and weaknesses, they all have one thing in common: they’re pretty small and relatively portable.
The Fluance Fi70 does not fit into this category.
Though the Fluance Fi70 is an all-in-one speaker system, with digital/optical, AM/FM tuner, aux and Bluetooth, it’s true differentiating feature from other Hi-Fi systems is its Bluetooth adapter. So we’ll be paying extra attention to that unique quality throughout this review.
The Fluance Fi70 thing weighs about 80 pounds, and getting it up the three flights of stairs to my apartment was one of the more difficult physical tasks I’ve attempted in the last five years. (Huge props to my girlfriend for doing most of the work.)
The speaker itself measures about 30 inches across, 23 inches tall and is almost a foot deep. And that’s without the stand, which brings it to three feet tall. In short, it’s about the size of an old-school box television set.
For the sound quality (which we’ll get to shortly), the size isn’t that much of an inconvenience. If you live in a sprawling ranch house or a penthouse apartment. Because it’s so big and prominent, it undoubtedly sits as a design piece in your home.
So if you aren’t a fan of the sleek black (with fake black wood) model, or the white and wood model (which still inexplicably has a black stand instead of a white one), then this might not be the best Hi-Fi system for your home. It draws attention, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so be comfortable with the look of this massive speaker before you try to ‘get it up the stairs’, as it were.[gallery ids="1298570,1298571,1298572,1298574,1298576"]
Setting up this big boy wasn’t as difficult as I expected after the long journey up the stairs. Simply connect a pole to the wide circular base of the stand with some included screws, and then do the same to a plate at the top of the pipe that connects with the cabinet itself. All you need is a screwdriver.
All you have to do from here is plug this sucker in and set up the little AM/FM antenna, also included.
To be fair, the instructions are incredibly vague. So if you aren’t handy, this may prove a touch more difficult. It took me about 25 minutes to set up in total.
If we stop judging the Fluance Fi70 book by its covers, it ends up being a pretty good read.
It’s important to know that this is an all-in-one device, delivering inputs for optical/digital sound, auxiliary input, Bluetooth, and of course radio via an FM/AM tuner. In short, the Fi70 will hit you with big sound no matter how you like to source your audio.
It does this through its own 280-watt amplifier, dual 1-inch silk dome tweeters, dual five-inch woven fiberglass midrange drivers, and a pair of eight-inch bass drivers.
Judging it against other Hi-Fi systems, it performs just as you’d expect. However, if we start comparing it with other Bluetooth speakers, the Fi70 blows almost everything else right out of the water. Of course, this is expected given the hardware. That said, most Hi-Fi systems don’t offer Bluetooth as an option so the Fi70 is truly unique in that respect.
The Fluance Fi70 is a $500 speaker, which is notably cheap for all of the power and stature it packs. However, it’s rather impractical for most folks who just want good sound via Bluetooth. There are plenty of more portable, more comely Bluetooth speakers out there that will get the job done, albeit not at the same level as the Fluance.
For folks who want a statement piece in the living room that delivers all-in-one incredible sound at an affordable price, the Fi70 was built specifically for them, and they should head to Fluance and order one (as well as a handcart).
But if you don’t have the space, or you don’t need ear-busting bass from your Bluetooth speaker, the Fluance might not be for you.