Eargo’s in-app test transforms its next-gen hearing aids

Eargo recently announced its latest smart hearing aid — the Eargo 5. We don’t do a lot of hearing aid news here at Engadget, but the California-based company makes some of the most "gadgety" we’ve tried and the latest model certainly appears to continue that trend.

Like the Neo HiFi and the Neo before it, the Eargo 5 is a tiny, "invisible" (completely in the canal, or CIC) hearing aid that comes with a charging case. With older Eargos, that case doubled as a way to connect the “buds” to your phone. Unfortunately, that meant the buds had to be in it while they were updated. What’s new this time around is that you can perform profile changes and more while actually wearing the hearing aids. What's more, there are key new features that change how the hearing aids sound. It’s an exciting update for fans of the brand as it adds to Eargo’s already slick user experience, something sorely lacking in many of the mainstream brands you find at your local audiologists.

The most interesting new feature is “Sound Match." Hearing aids have long had different profiles, and will usually be tuned for your own needs by an audiologist, but Eargo’s direct-to-consumer (and the need for the buds to be in the case) approach has made this much-needed personalization difficult. Until now?

Sound Match is effectively a hearing test built-in to the Eargo app. Once you pair the case (via Bluetooth) you can remove the Eargo 5s and the app will walk you through the test. If you’ve ever completed a hearing test, you’ll be familiar with this one. The app plays a series of sounds and you tell it if you can hear it or not; at the end, you’ll be presented with the results for each ear.

Eargo 5.
James Trew / Engadget

As simple as this is, my initial experiences with it weren’t entirely smooth. Not least because it took a few tries (and some back and forth with Eargo) to even get the case to pair with the app. After trying several restarts and installations, I was able to get connected and access the test — most likely due to me having early hardware.

From then on the test was mostly straightforward, until I spotted there was a “replay” button. I noticed that sometimes when I didn’t initially hear a sound, I definitely heard it after tapping replay. As in, it was audible enough that I wouldn’t have missed it the first time around. This meant I had to re-do the test to make sure I hadn’t incorrectly tapped “No” when really the sound just didn’t play at all.

Minor hiccups aside, once I was confident I had completed the test properly, I could further customize the experience by changing what profiles are available on the device. There are six situational ones (restaurant/meeting etc) and four presets. You can store a total of four on the hearing aids themselves.

Previous Eargo models would simply tell you the number of the audio profile that is active as you switch through the four on offer (via a double-tap on your tragus). With the Eargo 5 it now tells you the name of that profile if you chose one of the "situational" ones to eliminate any guesswork. You can also further tweak these profiles in the app, or simply change the volume and noise reduction (there’s now noise reduction here too I should mention) without having to permanently change the profile. This includes adjusting the volume and the treble/bass.

Eargo 5 smart hearing aid.
James Trew / Engadget

Although you can now adjust the sound and profiles while actually wearing the Eargo (before, you had to take them out and plop them in the case, which is less than ideal), there’s no capability for music/audio streaming from your phone. Eargo uses ultrasonic commands to communicate between the case and the hearing aids. That’s a neat way to enable small updates, but not enough for anything more heavyweight. Remember, size is key here, and streaming on devices this small, that go fully in your ear, isn’t a simple thing to do.

This new customization functionality really does improve the Eargo experience. I have tried several different devices and the ones that best serve my hearing loss are, predictably, the ones that have been tuned by an audiologist. This meant that, while older Eargos were some of the most appealing in terms of user experience and fit, they weren’t quite suitable for my personal situation and only provided users with limited tools to adjust the sound to their needs.

With the Eargo 5, I find them much more assistive in my hearing, particularly on the side I have problems with. In fact, I personally prefer just wearing only one, as my hearing loss is unilateral and having a boost on the "good" side can feel a bit much. I also find wearing both a bit less comfortable. There’s no logical reason why wearing one for extended periods should be fine, but two isn’t, but I think the combination of too much "extra" hearing (on my good side) and the physical feeling of something in both ears is just a lot of sensory stimulation, for me at least. Obviously, if you have a bilateral hearing deficiency you’ll want all the assistance you can get.

If you own a pair of older Eargos and were wondering if the hearing test feature might come to your model via an update, sadly it's not possible. There's specific hardware here to enable the ultrasonic commands, that isn't present in previous models.

Eargo 5 smart hearing aid.
James Trew / Engadget

Beyond Sound Match, Eargo claims the sound has been redesigned from the ground up for “optimal audio and speech performance.” The company doesn’t elaborate further but, with the new customization feature, it’s fair to say this is a very different experience than previous models already so any other improvements are hard to pick out, but good to know they are there.

Beyond the core updates, there are some welcome usability tweaks, too. The charging case now has lights around where the hearing aids should be placed to help you correctly seat them at night. Those lights also provide feedback by changing color when there’s a software update or the aids aren’t charging properly. You’ll also no longer need to make sure the contacts on the buds meet the ones in the case. A new magnetic inductive charging system means they will click themselves into the right position automatically.

While Eargo's app remains a slick experience, there are a few small opportunities to improve it further. The volume control is nice and simple, and you can choose to boost either side individually, or both as a pair. What’s lacking is visual feedback or even a tone in your ear, to let you know when you’ve reached the top or bottom of the range. There’s also no indication of whether any changes you make to a profile are permanently saved or an obvious way to reset them to default, but these are minor UI issues.

Battery life is claimed to be around 16 hours per charge. Add to that the battery in the case and this means you won’t need to plug them in for a couple of days, which is handy for weekends away where you don’t want to have to worry about finding an outlet. Should you need to, though, the charger is USB-C, so likely something you already have for your phone or laptop (a cable is, of course, included).

All in all, it's a substantial update for a direct-to-consumer product. Eargo has been getting a lot of things right in terms of making its products user-friendly and appealing to a mass audience. This matters when it's estimated that over 40 million Americans could benefit from an assistive hearing device. What was lacking, until now that is, was a way to tune them to your specific needs. Which in the world of hearing loss, can be the difference between understanding the television a bit better and being able to pick out quieter sounds in a noisy environment. The latter is something that makes daily life feel a lot more natural and makes social situations much more comfortable, so it's something really valuable to have on a device this small.

Remember, though, hearing aids are not a cheap product category. A good pair will often run you a couple of thousand dollars, more if you want something bespoke. The Eargo 5, then, at $2,950 might seem steep compared to a pair of wireless headphones but is relatively affordable among its hearing aid peers. If you’re already an Eargo user looking to upgrade, there’s a “repeat customer discount” that can shave off $500 from the MSRP.

Sony’s WH-1000XM3 ANC headphones fall to a new low of $170

You no longer have to spend upwards of $200 on a quality pair of active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones. If you don't mind settling for a slightly older model, we highly recommend the Sony WH-1000XM3. Weeks after they dropped to $190, the wireless headphones are down another $20 at Best Buy to a new low of $170.

Buy Sony WH-1000XM3 at Best Buy - $170

We gave the XM3 a review score of 94 in September 2018 due to their excellent sound and comfort. Inside is a dedicated noise-canceling chip, the QN1, which does the heavy-lifting in terms of blocking background noise and boosting audio. For those unaccustomed to ANC, you may even notice new sounds on the tracks you love. Audiophiles will also take to the customization offered through Sony's app that lets you fine-tune audio.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the XM3's successors, the XM4. The newer headphones feature two major additions: Auto-pause and seamless multi-device listening. Hardly a deal-breaker when you consider they currently cost $348. 

The XM3's design is also a crowdpleaser. The over-ear headphones come in black with bronze accents on the Sony logo and USB-C port. In our tests, we found the plush cushioning around the pads and headband to be significantly more comfortable than some of the alternatives. You can also fold them up when you're not using them, making them great for travel. The XM3 offer around 30 hours of battery life, more than enough for regular commuters. A well-powered USB-C connection also provides five hours of charge after just 10 minutes.

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Apple Music’s lossless and spatial audio streaming arrive on Android devices

Apple has recently updated its Music app for Android, but it left out a couple of new features you may have been waiting for: support for lossless streaming and spatial audio. Engadget has confirmed that the tech giant has started rolling out the new high-quality streaming options, even though they aren't specifically mentioned in the Android app's release notes. 

The company first announced that it's making the streaming options available to subscribers at no extra charge back in May, promising immersive experiences similar to what Tidal HiFi and Amazon Music HD offer. Both options arrived for Apple users back in June, but they're limited to certain albums. Apple promised to make Dolby Atmos content easy to find with curated playlists and special badges, though, and it said lossless streaming will eventually come to its entire catalog with 75 million tracks.

You will need to use compatible speakers or headphones to be able to enjoy these new immersive listening experiences, though. Apple previously said that AirPods and Beats earbuds and headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the speakers on the latest iPhones, iPads and Macs will work with Dolby's spatial audio. You'd have to look up your device's features to make sure it can also access spatial audio streaming. Meanwhile, lossless audio requires a wired connection and won't work with wireless audio devices. 

Serato Studio’s long-needed recording feature is finally here

The scope of Serato’s creative audio ecosystem continues to grow with the latest update to its Serato Studio digital audio workstation (DAW). Serato Studio 1.6 rolls out to the public today and most notably adds the ability to record audio directly into the app, along with some changes to the audio track tools and the addition of a built-in Virtual Audio Driver. While the update isn’t flush with a litany of new features, these few changes make a world of difference for producers, musicians and DJs alike.

To record audio, you can use an external input or even just the internal microphone. This accommodates pros and entry level creators with little to no gear beyond the laptop. When recording, even in loop mode, your contiguous session is kept whole. This lets you try different versions of a guitar lick or vocals in a single take that you can trim down to the best segment later. You can edit the recordings into clips, use different pieces throughout your project or even layer them in different keys for effect.

Serato Studio 1.6 also keeps recordings in your library for use in other projects. You can sample vinyl directly into your project and by analyzing the file, it will instantly match them to your current BPM. There's key detection for the recordings too, which can help keep your vocals on point.

Those using third-party apps or live-streaming will be happy to know that you no longer need plug-ins to make the audio available to other apps. Serato now includes its own Virtual Audio Driver for input and output channels, and even works on Big Sur.

As always, Studio is great for those using Serato DJ and a controller, but now that audio recording has been added, it has the chops to stand on its own as a production tool. It's also very intuitive and opens up plenty of opportunities for creative expression without having to jump through hurdles in the process. New users can get the outline of a track rolling in minutes and pros can use it as a sketch pad or to compose full projects quickly.

Serato Studio 1.6 is available to download today and, as always, there's a limited free version for you to test drive. To open up all the capabilities and access tons of sounds and samples, you can choose from a $10 monthly subscription or buy it outright for $199 (including all updates for Version 1).

Sony’s latest flagship soundbar offers Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio

At CES 2020, Sony demoed its 360 Reality Audio (360RA) technology on a home theater setup like you would put in your living room. The in-booth layout included a soundbar, subwoofer and two rear satellite speakers. Today, the company announced the first gear that will allow you to actually create something similar at home. The company's new HT-A7000 flagship soundbar offers Dolby Atmos in addition to 360RA and the option to tack on sub and/or extra speakers can accommodate any space. If you're not so much into soundbars but still want the sensation of immersive audio, Sony also introduced the HT-A9: a set of four speakers and a control box equipped with new 360 Spatial Sound Mapping tech. 

The HT-A7000 is a 7.1.2-channel soundbar packed with Sony's X-balanced speakers, side beam tweeters, up-firing drivers for Dolby Atmos and dual subwoofers. Thanks to a Virtual Surround Engine (overhead) and S-Force Pro Front Surround (horizontal), the A7000 can simulate immersive audio on its own so you can take advantage of DTS:X in addition to Atmos. The soundbar is equipped with Sound Field Optimization that uses built-in microphones to calibrate the speaker to a room by detecting the height and width of the space as well as the position of a wireless subwoofer and any rear speakers. 

When it comes to music, the A7000 accommodates High-Resolution Audio and 360 Reality Audio. In fact, this is the first Sony soundbar to support 360RA and just the third speaker from the company to do so. The A7000 also has Sony's DSEE Extreme technology that Sony has leveraged for its headphones. That feature restores some of the compression from streaming services in real time, giving you something akin to lossless audio without the massive file sizes or the need for a wired setup. 

In terms of connectivity, the A7000 has HDMI 2.1 with eARC and both 8K and 4K/120fps passthrough — plus Dolby Vision support. The soundbar works with Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect, so you have options when it comes to streaming music from your phone or another device. When used with compatible Bravia TVs, the A7000 works with Sony's Acoustic Center Sync that allows you to employ your television's speakers as additional center audio for things like speech clarity. The new soundbar can be controlled by a Google Assistant device at launch and Sony plans to add Alexa compatibility in a future update. Lastly, the company says optional wireless subwoofers and rear speakers will connect automatically to the A7000 when you power them on. 

Unlike the HT-ST5000 that it's replacing, the HT-A7000 soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer. Sony says it unbundled the pairing based on customer feedback. Some people wanted the company's top-of-the-line soundbar, but they weren't necessarily interested in the sub. It's a beast in terms of both size and sound, so it's not ideal for apartments on any room where space is limited. Instead, Sony is offering two subwoofer options — the SA-SW5 and SA-SW3 — along with a pair of rear satellite speakers (SA-RS3S) as separate purchases. All of the add-ons connect to the HT-A7000 wirelessly, with the SW5 offering 300 watts of low-end tone via a 7-inch driver and the SW3 packing 200 watts of bass with a 6-inch speaker. 

With the A9 "home theater system," four cylindrical speakers offer what Sony describes as a "flexible layout" option that's meant to blend in with your living room decor. Thanks to Sound Field Optimization and built-in mics, the A9 can calibrate itself to any space — just like the tech does for the A7000. A key difference here is that the A9 is also equipped with Sony's new 360 Spatial Sound Mapping Technology. This feature not only lets you place the four units as you see fit, but it also offers a broad soundstage the company says is more immersive than "traditional" soundbars. Sony explains that the A9 gives users the sensation that the audio is "coming from beyond their walls" by creating up to 12 "phantom" speakers with just the four units. Of course, this is something we'll have to put the test to double-check the claim. 

Each speaker houses X-balanced front and up-firing speakers along with a tweeter and bass duct. The four devices connect wirelessly to a control box that has HDMI in/out (eARC output) with 8K and 4K/120 passthrough alongside Dolby Vision. The A9 is compatible with immersive formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, 360 Reality Audio and High-Resolution Audio. It also works with Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect and you can leverage voice control by pairing the set of speakers with a Google Assistant (at launch) or Alexa (via future update) device. If you need a boost in the center channel, you can use the A9 with compatible Bravia TVs and Sony's Acoustic Center Sync to employ the speakers from the display. Lastly, both of Sony's new subwoofers can be paired with the A9 speakers for fuller sound.

All of Sony's new home theater gear is set to arrive in "September/October," according to the company. The HT-A7000 soundbar is $1,300 while the HT-A9 speaker set is $1,800. The SA-SW5 and SA-SW3 subwoofers are $700 and $400 respectively, while the SA-RS3S satellite speakers are $350. That means if you're expecting to grab a complete setup with the A7000, a soundbar and rear speakers, you'll need to hand over at least $2,050.

Sony’s latest flagship soundbar offers Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio

At CES 2020, Sony demoed its 360 Reality Audio (360RA) technology on a home theater setup like you would put in your living room. The in-booth layout included a soundbar, subwoofer and two rear satellite speakers. Today, the company announced the first gear that will allow you to actually create something similar at home. The company's new HT-A7000 flagship soundbar offers Dolby Atmos in addition to 360RA and the option to tack on sub and/or extra speakers can accommodate any space. If you're not so much into soundbars but still want the sensation of immersive audio, Sony also introduced the HT-A9: a set of four speakers and a control box equipped with new 360 Spatial Sound Mapping tech. 

The HT-A7000 is a 7.1.2-channel soundbar packed with Sony's X-balanced speakers, side beam tweeters, up-firing drivers for Dolby Atmos and dual subwoofers. Thanks to a Virtual Surround Engine (overhead) and S-Force Pro Front Surround (horizontal), the A7000 can simulate immersive audio on its own so you can take advantage of DTS:X in addition to Atmos. The soundbar is equipped with Sound Field Optimization that uses built-in microphones to calibrate the speaker to a room by detecting the height and width of the space as well as the position of a wireless subwoofer and any rear speakers. 

When it comes to music, the A7000 accommodates High-Resolution Audio and 360 Reality Audio. In fact, this is the first Sony soundbar to support 360RA and just the third speaker from the company to do so. The A7000 also has Sony's DSEE Extreme technology that Sony has leveraged for its headphones. That feature restores some of the compression from streaming services in real time, giving you something akin to lossless audio without the massive file sizes or the need for a wired setup. 

In terms of connectivity, the A7000 has HDMI 2.1 with eARC and both 8K and 4K/120fps passthrough — plus Dolby Vision support. The soundbar works with Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect, so you have options when it comes to streaming music from your phone or another device. When used with compatible Bravia TVs, the A7000 works with Sony's Acoustic Center Sync that allows you to employ your television's speakers as additional center audio for things like speech clarity. The new soundbar can be controlled by a Google Assistant device at launch and Sony plans to add Alexa compatibility in a future update. Lastly, the company says optional wireless subwoofers and rear speakers will connect automatically to the A7000 when you power them on. 

Unlike the HT-ST5000 that it's replacing, the HT-A7000 soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer. Sony says it unbundled the pairing based on customer feedback. Some people wanted the company's top-of-the-line soundbar, but they weren't necessarily interested in the sub. It's a beast in terms of both size and sound, so it's not ideal for apartments on any room where space is limited. Instead, Sony is offering two subwoofer options — the SA-SW5 and SA-SW3 — along with a pair of rear satellite speakers (SA-RS3S) as separate purchases. All of the add-ons connect to the HT-A7000 wirelessly, with the SW5 offering 300 watts of low-end tone via a 7-inch driver and the SW3 packing 200 watts of bass with a 6-inch speaker. 

With the A9 "home theater system," four cylindrical speakers offer what Sony describes as a "flexible layout" option that's meant to blend in with your living room decor. Thanks to Sound Field Optimization and built-in mics, the A9 can calibrate itself to any space — just like the tech does for the A7000. A key difference here is that the A9 is also equipped with Sony's new 360 Spatial Sound Mapping Technology. This feature not only lets you place the four units as you see fit, but it also offers a broad soundstage the company says is more immersive than "traditional" soundbars. Sony explains that the A9 gives users the sensation that the audio is "coming from beyond their walls" by creating up to 12 "phantom" speakers with just the four units. Of course, this is something we'll have to put the test to double-check the claim. 

Each speaker houses X-balanced front and up-firing speakers along with a tweeter and bass duct. The four devices connect wirelessly to a control box that has HDMI in/out (eARC output) with 8K and 4K/120 passthrough alongside Dolby Vision. The A9 is compatible with immersive formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, 360 Reality Audio and High-Resolution Audio. It also works with Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect and you can leverage voice control by pairing the set of speakers with a Google Assistant (at launch) or Alexa (via future update) device. If you need a boost in the center channel, you can use the A9 with compatible Bravia TVs and Sony's Acoustic Center Sync to employ the speakers from the display. Lastly, both of Sony's new subwoofers can be paired with the A9 speakers for fuller sound.

All of Sony's new home theater gear is set to arrive in "September/October," according to the company. The HT-A7000 soundbar is $1,300 while the HT-A9 speaker set is $1,800. The SA-SW5 and SA-SW3 subwoofers are $700 and $400 respectively, while the SA-RS3S satellite speakers are $350. That means if you're expecting to grab a complete setup with the A7000, a soundbar and rear speakers, you'll need to hand over at least $2,050.

Apple’s AirPods Max drop to $455 at Amazon

Adorama's sale on the AirPods Max wireless headphones may have come and gone, but Amazon's latest sale is almost as good. Every color of Apple's high-end headphones except for space gray are down to $455 at Amazon right now, and that's about $94 off their normal price. It's also only $5 more than a sale we saw at Adorama at the end of last week, so if you missed that chance to grab a pair, you have another opportunity today. 

Buy AirPods Max at Amazon - $455

One of our biggest gripes with the AirPods Max is their price. Normally $550, these are the best headphones Apple has to offer — but despite how much we liked them, we still thought they were on the steep side. We recommend waiting for a sale before taking the plunge as AirPods Max are a much better buy when discounted like this.

They earned a score of 84 from us in part due to their excellent sound, solid ANC and reliable touch controls. AirPods Max have more balanced sound than competitors, with bass that comes through nicely but isn't overpowering. The active noise-cancellation on these cans holds its own against that of Bose and Sony devices, even if we slightly prefer the latter two for that feature. The Max also have Transparency Mode, allowing you to easily hop in and out of conversations when necessary. And you're getting spatial audio support on iPhones, iPads, Macs and soon, Apple TV as well.

All of that plus the Max's unique yet elegant design make them solid wireless headphones, but features brought by their built-in H1 chip make them even better for those living in the Apple ecosystem. In addition to hands-free Siri, you'll also get quick pairing and switching between all your Apple devices. While still expensive at this sale price, the AirPods Max are a good option for Apple lovers that want a pair of wireless headphones that both sound great and work seamlessly with their devices.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Apple’s AirPods Max drop to $455 at Amazon

Adorama's sale on the AirPods Max wireless headphones may have come and gone, but Amazon's latest sale is almost as good. Every color of Apple's high-end headphones except for space gray are down to $455 at Amazon right now, and that's about $94 off their normal price. It's also only $5 more than a sale we saw at Adorama at the end of last week, so if you missed that chance to grab a pair, you have another opportunity today. 

Buy AirPods Max at Amazon - $455

One of our biggest gripes with the AirPods Max is their price. Normally $550, these are the best headphones Apple has to offer — but despite how much we liked them, we still thought they were on the steep side. We recommend waiting for a sale before taking the plunge as AirPods Max are a much better buy when discounted like this.

They earned a score of 84 from us in part due to their excellent sound, solid ANC and reliable touch controls. AirPods Max have more balanced sound than competitors, with bass that comes through nicely but isn't overpowering. The active noise-cancellation on these cans holds its own against that of Bose and Sony devices, even if we slightly prefer the latter two for that feature. The Max also have Transparency Mode, allowing you to easily hop in and out of conversations when necessary. And you're getting spatial audio support on iPhones, iPads, Macs and soon, Apple TV as well.

All of that plus the Max's unique yet elegant design make them solid wireless headphones, but features brought by their built-in H1 chip make them even better for those living in the Apple ecosystem. In addition to hands-free Siri, you'll also get quick pairing and switching between all your Apple devices. While still expensive at this sale price, the AirPods Max are a good option for Apple lovers that want a pair of wireless headphones that both sound great and work seamlessly with their devices.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Louis Vuitton’s $2,890 light-up speaker looks like a UFO

Louis Vuitton's forays into tech-infused luxury gear have taken in handbags with screens and luggage trackers. A year after the release of its $1,000 earbuds, the French fashion house's latest stab at audio is as eccentric as they come. The new LV Horizon Light Up Speaker looks like a spaceship sculpted by aliens to resemble a sawn-off spinning top. What's more, it costs $2,890, but you knew it wouldn't come cheap. 

Inspired by its Toupie handbag, the speaker lights up to accentuate the brand's flower insignia and a spelled out Louis Vuitton around the center. There's also a top ring light with 23 LEDs that puts on a rainbow color show. The neons combined with the black perforated and embossed leather is best described as cyber-chic. 

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton

But, if you're going to splurge just shy of $3,000 on a speaker, you probably want it to sound good. The Horizon features a 3-inch woofer paired with two 0.75-inch tweeters that LV says combine to offer 360-degree sound. Though, the jury's out on whether it can match the immersive audio touted by the likes of the $700 Sony SRS-RA5000. If the mid-range Qualcomm QCS 404 chipset inside is anything to go by, it may not offer the big sound you'd associate with its price tag. It also comes with three mics in case you want to take calls on the glowing mothership on your desk.

The conical shape means the speaker sits on its side, which doesn't impact the sound as it can apparently "adapt to its orientation." Just don't leave it on a sloping surface. To avoid any (expensive) accidents, the Horizon comes with an accompanying dock that you can rest it in. Being wireless, it works with Bluetooth and supports Apple AirPlay to boot. You can purchase the speaker now from Louis Vuitton's online store.

Louis Vuitton’s $2,890 light-up speaker looks like a UFO

Louis Vuitton's forays into tech-infused luxury gear have taken in handbags with screens and luggage trackers. A year after the release of its $1,000 earbuds, the French fashion house's latest stab at audio is as eccentric as they come. The new LV Horizon Light Up Speaker looks like a spaceship sculpted by aliens to resemble a sawn-off spinning top. What's more, it costs $2,890, but you knew it wouldn't come cheap. 

Inspired by its Toupie handbag, the speaker lights up to accentuate the brand's flower insignia and a spelled out Louis Vuitton around the center. There's also a top ring light with 23 LEDs that puts on a rainbow color show. The neons combined with the black perforated and embossed leather is best described as cyber-chic. 

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton

But, if you're going to splurge just shy of $3,000 on a speaker, you probably want it to sound good. The Horizon features a 3-inch woofer paired with two 0.75-inch tweeters that LV says combine to offer 360-degree sound. Though, the jury's out on whether it can match the immersive audio touted by the likes of the $700 Sony SRS-RA5000. If the mid-range Qualcomm QCS 404 chipset inside is anything to go by, it may not offer the big sound you'd associate with its price tag. It also comes with three mics in case you want to take calls on the glowing mothership on your desk.

The conical shape means the speaker sits on its side, which doesn't impact the sound as it can apparently "adapt to its orientation." Just don't leave it on a sloping surface. To avoid any (expensive) accidents, the Horizon comes with an accompanying dock that you can rest it in. Being wireless, it works with Bluetooth and supports Apple AirPlay to boot. You can purchase the speaker now from Louis Vuitton's online store.