View Quest Hepburn review: A stylish, retro Bluetooth speaker and radio for your home

2014-06-17 13.23.20 copy

In keeping with its retro name, the Hepburn from British brand View Quest brings a dash of vintage styling to your home. The Hepburn isn’t old fashioned in its functionality though, providing a Bluetooth speaker compatible with iOS devices as well as a built-in DAB/FM radio.

Features

VQ Hepburn 1

While the speakers built into iPhones and iPads have improved over the years but they still leave a lot to be desired when it comes to listening to music. When you’re in the house, it’s most definitely much nicer to play music from a dedicated speaker that provides a much better sound. Switch on the Hepburn and, with its Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily hook your iOS device up to the device in a couple of taps and begin playing music through it. You can connect a number of devices to the Hepburn via Bluetooth and easily switch between them, perfect if you wanted to switch to your friend’s iPhone music library for example.

There’s also DAB and FM radio functionality so you can tune into your favorite stations including a number of preset stations.

On the back of the Hepburn there is 3.5mm audio input for devices without Bluetooth as well as a USB port for charging your devices. The Hepburn can operate plugged into the mains at the wall or on battery power. Sadly, it doesn’t have a rechargeable battery and uses standard, replaceable batteries for this purpose.

There are a number of other useful features in the Hepburn making it a great all-round speaker for your home including alarm functionality, perfect if it will be situated in your bedroom, and timer function, for use in the kitchen if you so please. With the Hepburn carrying a hefty retail price of £150 in the UK, it is good to see that the device is multifunctional.

View Quest offers an iOS app to accompany its speakers and help with song/station selection and adjusting audio EQ settings. The app is not particularly hard to use but is in need of a dramatic makeover as it is incredibly dated. Fortunately, it is not an essential part of the experience so you can easily avoid it.

Sound quality

VQ Hepburn 4

In terms of sonic performance, the View Quest Hepburn is decent and clear with its two front-facing 58mm full-range drivers. Having tested the speaker with an array of music genres, I found that it performed well at both the high and low ends especially at low to mid volume levels.

Approaching the higher volume limit creates some distortion in the sound which is not surprising but the Hepburn is capable of filling a room with sound well below its maximum volume so that should not be such a problem in day-to-day use but might be a limitation if used for hosting a party, for example.

There are a number of EQ settings that can be adjusted to perfect the sound for your aural preferences should you wish to do so.

Design

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In a market full of radio/Bluetooth speaker combos, the Hepburn’s main selling point is its unique and pleasing retro aesthetic. View Quest have shirked black plastic and tacky chrome for a classy metal grill on the front and faux-leather panels surrounding the device. The handle on the top of the device is also solid metal adding to the premium feel. Overall, the build quality feels sturdy, durable and of a high standard.

The Hepburn comes in a number of colors including cream, black, red, sky blue, brown, yellow and turquoise green.

The wrap up

The good: Multifunctional Bluetooth speaker and DAB/FM radio makes for a great all-round device. Sound quality is decent and build quality and design is excellent.

The bad: No rechargeable battery is a disappointment. Some distortion at highest volumes. Price might be slightly too premium.

The verdict: The View Quest Hepburn is perfect for anyone looking for a stylish, retro Bluetooth speaker and radio combo for their home. The Hepburn sounds as good as it looks and could slot into your living room, bedroom or kitchen perfectly if you are willing to put up the £150 asking price. View Quest Hepburn can be ordered from the UK Apple Store, among other retailers, and more information can be found at the View Quest website.

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