UNBOXED: Reviewing the RIVA WAND Series Wireless Speakers
It’s not easy for a company to jump into the wireless multi-room audio space today, especially considering the ground they’d have to make up against the likes of the Sonos’s and Klipsch’s of the world—among plenty of other big-name brands. But RIVA Audio decided to accept that challenge, grab it by the horns, and put their absolute best foot forward in their attempt to disrupt the space. The result is their RIVA WAND series of multiroom speakers and accessories, which prove to be a very viable competitor in this market.
The two flagships in the RIVA WAND line are the RIVA ARENA and the RIVA FESTIVAL. If we’re talking about direct comparisons to the biggest name in this space, the ARENA is akin to the Sonos Play:1, and the FESTIVAL would be more in line with the larger Play:5.
The game changer in the RIVA WAND series, though, is the inclusion of an external battery accessory. Designed specifically for the splashproof ARENA speaker, the $99 battery attachment snaps onto the bottom of the speaker, connecting through an I/O port, to provide up to 20 hours of truly wireless audio. It’s this exact type of accessory that I—and plenty of other Sonos customers—have been screaming for. True, the Sonos speakers aren’t designed as splashproof speakers, but the idea of being able to put the cord away and place the speaker wherever you want it seems so obvious and is such a missed opportunity by Sonos. RIVA, though, gets it, and they get huge bonus points in my book for developing the batter accessory—even if it is a little pricier than I’d have hoped for.