Volume dial on the fridge? Check out Samsung’s cool VL Series wireless speakers

We’ve certainly seen no shortage of wireless multiroom speakers in recent years, from smart speakers, to those loaded with Bluetooth, multiple Wi-Fi connection protocols, and just about every other feature you can imagine. But at Samsung’s First Look event, just before the big CES 2018 show gets properly underway, Samsung’s new VL Series speakers showed us something brand new: A wireless volume dial.

Technically, it’s more than just a volume dial. It also controls play/pause, song skip, and — just for good measure — it’s magnetic, so you can stick it on virtually any metallic surface, including the speakers’ own metallic front grills. The design is fun, but it’s also pretty practical, especially for those who want to put away their phones once the music starts. The dial also sports a microphone for limited voice control functionality.

Apart from the modular volume dial, the speakers have an intriguing aesthetic, set in rectangular cabinets with woodgrain patterns on the sides, and set in either white or dark brown colorways. The smaller of the two, the VL-3, offers a single woofer paired with a tweeter, while the longer VL-5 sports three woofers and dual tweeters for extra punch. Along with wireless connection, the speakers also offer a 3.5mm aux input, as well as Ethernet connection to go along with Wi-Fi.

Samsung had enough confidence in its latest wireless units to use them as the sonic backdrop for the entire event. Set on shelving units behind the bar, the VL Series offers relatively taught and powerful sound, though it was hard to judge the sound quality well in the large, concrete-floored room loaded with people.

The speakers served as something of an afterthought to the rest of the gear at Samsung’s big event — the biggest audio highlight seemed to be the company’s new HW-N650 soundbar, which offers some cool new sound design features aimed squarely at gamers. But they do offer a classy new way to go wireless, while the sound design is assisted by AKG, courtesy of Samsung’s new acquisition of the Harman audio group and all of its many subsidiaries (JBL, Infinity, AKG, etc.).

We don’t yet have pricing or a release date for the VL Series, but we’ll update this post as soon as we know more, so check back with us.


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