Watch: Philips’ new Izzy BM5 Bluetooth speaker does multiroom audio differently

There aren’t too many speaker makers who haven’t been bitten by the multiroom audio bug. Pioneered by Sonos over a decade ago, the systems are now virtually ubiquitous. However, Philips’ new Izzy platform does multiroom differently, using an extended Bluetooth signal as opposed to Wi-Fi. The first in the series, the BM5, allows you to group as many as 5 speakers together to spread your music throughout the home.

Like traditional Bluetooth speakers, the BM5 easily pairs to a number of devices for basic wireless playback from virtually any source. However, engaging the “group” button on the top of the speaker allows users to link as many as four additional Izzy speakers to add sound to your kitchen, bedrooms, or anywhere else.

Traditional Bluetooth has a much shorter range than most Wi-Fi setups. However, Philips has extended the range of its Izzy speakers to a claimed 100 meters in open spacing, and although that distance takes a big hit when you add barriers like doors and walls, we were still impressed by the BM5’s long reach.

Apart from range, Philips’ new Bluetooth-based system has other pros and cons when compared to traditional multiroom setups, which utilize an advanced proprietary app for more control over any speakers connected to your Wi-Fi network. Most multiroom speakers allow you to connect as many as 10 speakers or more, and they offer other benefits, including better streaming resolution than Bluetooth, the ability to play different music on each speaker and even source files from computers, or DLNA storage devices.

That hefty feature list is a lot to give up if you want supreme control over your speaker setup, but Philips’ new system does offer some benefits, including the ability to go where Wi-Fi can’t, as well as a remarkably simple setup. As mentioned above, the system isn’t constrained by a dedicated app, meaning virtually anything on your phone is fair game.

As for performance, the speaker offers a smooth and balanced sound, with a spritely upper register, and more bass than you’d expect for its size, thanks to a well-ported duo of 2.5-inch drivers. We really enjoyed the speaker for lighter tracks like jazz and pop at mid volume, but users will want to refrain from blasting rock and hip hip, which draws out some heavy digital compression to keep the speakers from distorting.

While not without its drawbacks, at $130 the Izzy BM5 presents a pretty cool new way to spread sound throughout the house, adding another format to the mix of multiroom audio. You can find the speaker exclusively at Best Buy now.


I tried an LTE laptop for a month, and I wasn’t really convinced

LTE laptops offer up plenty of benefits and are becoming more common. After spending one month with one in my daily life in New York City, I really wondered if it is something that consumers really need in their lives.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Sennheiser brings audio perfection to wireless earbuds like no one else can

Sennheiser took its time entering the true wireless earbud market, and the results are what you’d expect from the storied audio brand. The new Momentum offer seamless operation, best-in-class sound, and a high price tag to match.

Google is adding Pixel 3 eSIM support for carriers around the world

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Alita,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, as well as new trailers for Alita: Battle Angel and Bumblebee.

The best 4K TV deals under $500 and over 50 inches

Big-screen TVs with high-resolution displays and 4K color have dropped so far in price that you can find highly rated 50 to 55-inch models under $500. We searched major retailers for the best deals on 4K UHD TVs.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2, Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

Between sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

Stranger Things season 3 predictions: Decoding the episode titles

Netflix has revealed the episode titles for season 3 of Stranger Things, and the eight titles could shed light on what we can expect to see when the hit show returns in summer 2019.

This one-day Skullcandy sale gets you wireless earbuds for under $30

Today only, you can save 40 percent on wireless earbuds, noise-canceling headphones, and classic earbuds direct from the Skullcandy website. If you're hoping to get a pair of headphones before the holidays arrive, now is the time.