Native Union Gets In the Speaker Game

This Design-Focused Hi-Fi Speaker Can Wirelessly Charge Your iPhone


May 22, 2018 Tech By

Native Union, the company that’s best known for its elevated tech accessories, such as iPhone cases and fabric-wrapped charging cables, recently announced a fancy new powered Bluetooth speaker that you can now order from the MoMA Design Store. It’s called the PR / 01 speaker ($799) and it’s a joint effort between Native Union and La Boite Concept, a high-end French acoustics company. As you’d expect from a speaker that’s named “PR / 01” and is being sold by a museum, this isn’t your ordinary Bluetooth speaker.

The PR / 01 speaker is about the size of a Sonos Play:5, and it’s a blend of wood and aluminum with a traditional textile grille. I’d describe the speaker as bespoke with a bit of panache, like it could easily slot into my grandfather’s office, alongside other vintage desk accouterments and a whiskey decanter. However, the PR / 01 speaker has some new-tech flair. Aside from being a hi-fi speaker that supposedly sounds great and can stream Bluetooth aptX, it has a number of built-in USB and audio ports to charge and connect your other devices, all of which are hidden in a secret drawer so they don’t take away from the design of the speaker.

There are two USB-A and one USB-C charging ports, as well as an RCA analog input and a 3.5mm stereo plug. Maybe the neatest feature is that there’s also room within this secret drawer for Native Union’s Drop Wireless Charger, so you can simply place your iPhone X or Android smartphone on the top of the speaker and it’ll charge. Magic. It’s a cool trick, but you’ll need to put another $60 into the speaker as the wireless charger is sold separately.

The PR/01 is available online or in NYC’s MOMA stores. For those not in U.S., you can order the speaker at The Conran Shop. If you’re looking for an interesting and designed-focused hi-fi speaker for the home, this could be a great option. If you’re not too bothered about design, there are many more powered Bluetooth speakers out there that sound great and are more affordable. Fender’s Monterey speaker ($350) and Peachtree Audio’s DeepBlue3 ($399) are two that come immediately to mind.

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