The Stellé Pillar is from a range which contains some exceptionally twee concepts – a pair of speakers disguised as some kind of handbag, for example – so you can imagine my pleasure when the Pillar arrived, a brushed chrome cylinder that didn’t add a feminine touch to my workspace. It’s clearly been designed to look good alongside Apple products, but the ambiguity of its understated design means it pretty much looks good anywhere.
It’s good to see a Bluetooth speaker with a bit of muscle behind it – both in size and audio playback – whilst the Pillar is stylish and certainly not as hefty as my usual studio monitor setup, it’s got some solid weight and presence to it. The 1.5” drivers, paired with a surprisingly potent 3” subwoofer, chuck out a decent amount of noise with startling clarity. It’s not necessarily 100% on form all the time, and the bass response isn’t quite as meaty as it could be, but overall it handles a wide range of musical genres with ease. It’s elegant and effortless, and a joy to use.
I genuinely wasn’t expecting very much from the Pillar – after all, the last speaker I had to review was the phenomenal Libratone Loop, which pretty much redefines what you come to expect from audio products entirely – but the Pillar genuinely took me by surprise. The compact, elegant design contains a punchy 2.1 speaker system capable of plenty of volume, and it’s easy as hell to move about thanks to the internal battery. The build quality is excellent, too – the brushed aluminum exterior feels solid and the buttons are set firmly into the top of the pillar. It feels like it could survive a knock or two, but still lightweight enough to be portable. A high contrast to my mini studio monitors that could probably knock out a small child if he pulled them off my desk.
The Pillar thankfully does away with Apple’s unpredictable AirPlay functionality and opts for Bluetooth connectivity instead, and this was as simple as finding the Pillar on my phone and pressing a button. It even has a built in microphone for hands free phonecalls, which is a lovely touch – someone called me whilst I was putting the Pillar through its paces and I was able to answer the call with the speaker, which was awesome. There’s no loss of quality, and when you’re done, you can go straight back to whatever you were listening to in the first place.
What really impressed me is the Pillar’s rechargeable battery. It boasts up to a fifteen hour life at a full charge and for the sound quality/volume on offer, that’s impressive. Whilst obviously much larger than some of its more portable, tinnier counterparts, it’s still easy to carry about by hand or in a bag – perfect for barbecues, picnics, and your general outdoor excursions. While I’ve never had any reason to run the battery dry, it provided six uninterrupted hours of playback at a decent volume, both Bluetooth and standard headphone jack, outdoors – and the circular design spreads it out evenly. Obviously you’re going to see a lot of lost volume potential and acoustic differences when you take any speaker outdoors – but the Pillar does the job nicely, even if it does suffer a little in terms of bass response. Treble and mid are both fine, but the subwoofer leaves a little to be desired, only muddying up the rest of the sound at higher volumes.
Overall it’s a solid speaker, with only a few minor gripes leaving it short of a perfect score. If you’re using Bluetooth the volume occasionally variates with no input, becoming either too quiet or much too loud on an irregular basis. While it doesn’t happen often enough to put a dampener on the Pillar as a whole, it’s still frequent enough to be a little bit annoying. With a jack connection this problem evaporates – but that’s not necessarily what you buy a wireless speaker for.
The Pillar shines with music playback, and hits a sort of middling average with everything else. The slightly muddy bass, though never distorted, doesn’t allow games or movies to have as much impact as they should. It can sound a tiny bit like listening to an explosion in a tin. If you’re looking for an all-round audio solution, you can get better quality audio for less (or supreme quality for a little bit more), albeit in less convenient, shiny packages. What you’re really paying for here is a decent 2.1 speaker set in a well-built designer container, something technically above average but visually excellent.
In summary, if you’re looking for a sleek and elegant music solution that can go anywhere with you and won’t break the bank, this might just be it, but for everything else (Gaming, movies, TV) there are better ways to spend your money. Despite the fancy and tiny bit pretentious “Audio Couture” label, this is genuinely a very good piece of kit that would fit anywhere in the home or otherwise – and at £249, it’s not going to bankrupt you, either. Winners all round.
Your new 2.1 stereo system includes proprietary (1.5”) acoustic drivers (stereo pair) and a 3″ subwoofer, a universal power supply 100-240V AC, 50-60Hz, built-in microphone for Speakerphone capabilities and a Bluetooth® wireless range of up to 50 feet.
Product Dimensions 4.5 x 4.5 x 12 inches
Product Weight 3 lb.
Shipping Weight 5.15 lb.
*15 hours of continuous play between charges at nominal volume
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.