Samsung entered the multi-room wireless audio market on Thursday with the introduction of the Shape system. The first product in the line, the Shape M7, is a triangular speaker that can share music in any room via Wi-Fi, and also handle one-to-one pairing with smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth.
The amplifier, electronics, and speaker drivers are all self contained within the M7, and there's no remote control: An app for either iOS or Android lets you control the system's functions. Users can access their own music libraries or services including Amazon Cloud Player, Pandora, Rhapsody, Tunein Internet radio and more.
How does it sound? We were impressed by the Shape’s smooth, balanced tone, tight bass and its wide dynamic range. The Shape uses a lightweight foam-core woofer for fast response, two midrange speakers and twin silk-dome tweeters.
Like the popular Sonos wireless music system, you can use multiple speakers to play different music in different rooms or the same music throughout your home. And Samsung is taking direct aim at Sonos, the market leader, by pricing the Shape M7 at $399.99, the same as the Sonos flagship speaker box, the Play:5.
Samsung lets you put two units in a room, and separate them into "left" and "right" speakers for real stereo sound — just like Sonos' Play:5. You can also stand the Shape up vertically, or mount it on the wall (though Samsung will sell the wall brackets separately).
The Shape can serve double-duty as a wireless speaker for TV, by connecting to 2013 Samsung HDTV (series 6300 and higher) via Bluetooth. TVs without integrated wireless can connect via analog audio cable. Setting up a multi-room network requires the use of the Samsung Hub (WAM250; $49.99), which anchors the whole system to your home router via an Ethernet cable.
The Shape M7 (WAM750), available Oct. 13, will come in available in black or white — and should not be confused with the Samsung HomeSync, also unveiled Thursday, which streams videos to your TV and backs up the pictures and videos from your Samsung Galaxy phone.
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