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Harman Kardon injects some class, and leather, into wireless portable speakers at IFA 2013

Harman Kardon has announced two new portable wireless speakers as part of its arsenal of gear to be unveiled at this week’s IFA electronics show in Berlin. The Onyx and the Esquire, priced at $500 and $250 respectively, are billed as hi-fi portable sound systems, and boast minimalist leather-clad frames along with some impressive features to match their lofty price tags. Let’s take a closer look at each speaker to get a sneak peek at what HK has in store for the next phase in portable audio.

The Onyx

Check out our review of the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio speaker.

Promising full range sound in a ‘compact, sculptural enclosure’, the Saturn-esque Onyx boasts a 60 watt, four-channel system that can connect to your device via a veritable kitchen sink of wireless protocols, including NFC, Bluetooth with aptX and AAC codecs, and WiFi over both Airplay and DLNA. A 3.5mm Aux input is also available for hard-wired connection.

The speaker’s four-pack of active drivers includes dual three-inch woofers, and a pair of ¾-inch tweets, supplemented by two more passive aluminum radiators to beef up the bass. The system runs through Harman Kardon’s proprietary DSP, and has an impressive frequency range of 55Hz-20kHz. The rechargeable battery has an estimated 6 hours maximum run-time, which is about what we expected given the speaker’s taxing power requirements. Other features include a USB port for charging a tablet or smartphone, a remote app to access all media on your wireless network, and a stainless steel handle for toting the circular speaker around.

The Esquire

The Esquire is a slim little block carved from aluminum and cloaked in leather. Tailored for the executive on the go, the speaker offers a smaller footprint than the Onyx for increased portability, and also promises high-quality teleconferencing HK-Esquire-2thanks to its on-board microphones equipped with Soundclear noise-cancellation, and ‘smart orientation detection’.

The Esquire’s low profile dual-driver system is apparently potent enough to necessitate a bass port at the back of the device, suggesting some decent low frequency response for its size. Battery run-time is estimated at around 10 hours per charge, and the package also includes a three port USB power adaptor, allowing users with both a smartphone and tablet in tow to pack only one cable for the entire system.

The Harman Kardon name doesn’t come cheap, and we’re definitely curious to find out if these speakers perform as brilliantly as their price point would suggest. HK hasn’t revealed a release date for the speakers yet, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as we know more.

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