Canadian-based Fluance, best known for its home theater systems, has dipped its toe in the Bluetooth speaker market recently. The company’s latest release is Fi50 ($200), a large stationary Bluetooth speaker. Fi50 has two 5″ glass fiber composite drivers and two tweeters in its MDF wood cabinet housing, and the speaker pumps out an impressive 40W of power. The Bluetooth 2.1 speaker supports aptX. Touch controls are found on the top of the speaker, and the back of the unit has both an audio port and a 2.1A USB port to charge an iOS device. Fi50 comes in three designs — walnut or ash with a black front panel, or bamboo with a white front panel — which is the version we received.
Fi50’s design is an eye-catcher, but not necessarily in a good way. While most of the speaker is contained in a handsome engineered wood cabinet, the glossy front white panel is a bit at odds with rest of Fi50. Also, the plain logo could really use a redesign — its front-and-center placement looks cheap. Fi50 is about 21” x 5.75” x 7” and weighs 9.8 pounds without the adapter.
Between the drivers on the front panel and above the logo is an illuminated volume/treble/bass display. The speaker’s volume can be controlled from an iOS device via Bluetooth, but it won’t change the number on the front of Fi50. On top are touch controls for the volume, treble, bass, and the brightness of the display. There’s no battery on Fi50, so an included adapter plugs into the back, near the audio port, USB charging port (a nice addition), a pairing reset button, and the power switch.
While Fi50’s look is underwhelming, the speaker’s sound is actually quite impressive, especially within its price range. Fi50 delivered well-rounded, accurate sound when playing a wide variety of songs and genres. Bass performance was solid, but Fi50 isn’t a big thumper. The speaker gets more than loud enough for a room or a smaller outdoor space. Overall, we really enjoyed listening to Fi50, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the speaker for extended listening.
If you can get past the questionable front panel — or if you like the look better than we do — Fi50 is a fine choice for an indoor, stationary Bluetooth system. While some may knock it for its lack of portability, Fluance isn’t out to serve that market here — there’s still an audience for stationary speakers, and considering the prevalence of Bluetooth these days, Fi50 makes a lot of sense. And there’s always the audio port if you want to plug in.
Again, we’re not sure we’d want to display Fi50 in our homes, but others may disagree completely. Sound comes first and foremost, and on that front, Fi50 is a top performer in its price range, giving more expensive speakers a run for their money, too. The speaker earns our strong general recommendation.
Company and Price
Compatibility: Bluetooth iPads, iPhones, iPods