If you think the world doesn’t need any more Star Wars merchandise, you’re wrong, because these awesome Star Wars Bluetooth speakers wouldn’t exist if that were the case, and that would be a crime. Built by ACWorldwide, these representations of C-3PO and a Storm Trooper’s heads are the result of a Kickstarter campaign, which closed early after independent funding was obtained late last year. Now, they’re almost ready for sale in stores, and we got a chance to see the finished products.
Want to know if they’re cool? Here’s the short answer: Yes, they really are.
ACWorldwide have been producing licensed audio products for decades, but this was one of their most ambitious projects yet. Smaller speakers portraying popular Star Wars characters have been seen before, but this is the first time such large, and intricately detailed speakers with Bluetooth have been produced.
That’s certainly what attracted Disney and Lucasfilm when ACWorldwide pitched it to them, but it still took four months to hammer out the details. Unsurprisingly, both companies were heavily involved, and signed off each of the five individual design stages, leading from 3D printed versions and separate moulds, and eventually to the final examples you see here.
“Lucasfilm said the models would be good as a collectible, even without the speaker inside,” Kelvyn Gardner, ACWorldwide’s Chairman and founder told Digital Trends . The detail is impressive. Examining the Storm Trooper helmet, Director Karl Grimsey, affectionately known as Papa G, pointed out that in the movie, most of the vents and slashes where stickers or just painted on. “We wanted to make it like it would be in the real world,” he said, revealing that there are 48 different parts used to make the Trooper’s helmet, capturing details not usually seen. Check out the ear pieces — to get that single black detail required the use of four separate parts. Remember, this is a speaker first, not a collectible, and such decisions show how much effort has been put into getting the design right.
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The first two in a series
The Storm Trooper is joined by C3-P0, but why these two characters? Papa G said he wanted the technical challenge of working with the material used to create C3-PO’s shiny, metallic head, which is harder to fabricate with this much detail, despite having fewer individual parts that the Storm Trooper. Yes, he’s a fingerprint magnet, but he comes with a pair of white gloves so you can pick him up without leaving ugly smudges everywhere. The Trooper was added simply because he’s a consistently popular, iconic character. ACWorldwide is planning an entire line-up of Star Wars bluetooth speakers for fans to collect. The next on the list? We’ve heard a rumor it’ll be a certain Sith Lord.
Switch the units on and a sample from the movie plays, and the eyes on each head light up. C-3PO looks fantastic, with a subtle red glow around the eyes, while the Storm Trooper gets brighter, green eyes. There’s a cool extra on C3-PO too. When the battery gets to 30-percent, he’ll pipe up saying, “This is madness!,” giving you the signal to plug in the charger. Expect about three hours from the battery, and when it’s running on mains power, it’ll charge whatever phone is connected to the USB port on the back. Around the front, on the plinth, are a series of touch controls, and connection with the music source is over NFC or Bluetooth.
Inside each head are two 3w tweeters and a 10w subwoofer, and due to ACWorldwide’s background in speaker design, sound quality was equally important as the look. The sound filled the room when we heard them play, and even when out in a busy show hall, the power was enough to turn heads (sorry).
Attention grabbing speakers
They did plenty of that. Walking to the room where the video was shot, almost everyone who passed stared, smiling. Star Wars, and its many characters, continues to have a draw that’s more powerful than we possibly imagined. Have one of these on your shelf, and the conversations will start themselves. Better yet, have more than one, because they’ll link up to provide true stereo sound — a real challenge to implement, according to Papa G.
After the flood of disappointing and largely unrelated Star Wars merchandise that arrived with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s pleasing to discover these lovingly made speakers, that are made by fans for fans. It’s hard to imagine any Star Wars devotee not wanting The Imperial March blasting out of one of these beauties. Both Star Wars bluetooth speakers are available to pre-order now for £130 ($185), but will go up to £150 ($215) after release.
- Stunning attention to detail
- Reasonably priced
- Room-filling sound
- More Star Wars merchandise for us to lust over