Vizio has just announced the release of two brand new premium speakers, the SmartCast Crave 360 and the SmartCast Crave Pro, which will be available for $249.99 and $299.99 respectively. The new speakers, which integrate with Google Cast, are being positioned as the company's alternatives to Sonos – currently the leader in multi-room audio.
The Crave 360, which as mentioned above will be available from $249.99, comes with a 360-degree, omnidirectional 2.1 audio and "custom crafted drivers" that allows it to produce up to 95db of sound. The speaker is designed to sit on top of its wireless charging base, but if you wish to move the speaker around, it can last up to 8 hours on a single charge. Also, the speakers come with a leather carrying strap which should make it even easier to transport, though it'd be wise to keep the speaker away from rain as it's unfortunately not wireless. Moving on to the more expensive Crave Pro speaker, this is the more conventional of the two in that it is designed to stay in one place. This speaker is slightly louder than the Crave 360 with a maximum output of 102db and integrated dual subwoofers, meaning the bass sound can get as low as 40Hz. Looking at the design of the speakers, both feature the same satin aluminum finish, something that is an improvement over the majority of Bluetooth speakers. Also included in the design is a glass touch dial that can be turned for volume controls or swiped and tapped for playback controls.
Vizio's new speakers both feature support for music over Wi-Fi or through a device that's plugged in directly, but one thing that gives these speakers the upper hand over Sonos speakers is the fact that it supports Bluetooth playback. Now, although the speaker does feature Bluetooth, Vizio has made it clear that Wi-Fi is the better alternative and the one it believes provides the better listening experience – in this case through Google Cast. Both the Crave 360 and Crave Pro can be controlled via Vizio's SmartCast app, though content such as music, radio stations and podcasts can be streamed through any app that supports Google Cast. Regarding availability, the Craze 360 is available straight away from Vizio.com and Sam's Club, while the Crave Pro will be available "soon" from the company's website.