French audio brand Devialet has upgraded its futuristic-looking wireless speaker for 2021, with better connectivity, enhanced audio tech, and a refreshed look.
The Devialet Phantom Reactor I follows in the footsteps of the Phantom Reactor 900 (now renamed Phantom Reactor II), retaining the speaker's space age-style design but furnishing it in modern matte finishes in black or white.
There are now also LEDs at the rear of the Phantom for status checking, a new stand-by mode, and a new circular remote control for controlling your music playback.
- Read our Devialet Phantom Reactor 900 review
- The best wireless speakers you can buy today
- Hi-Res Audio: everything you need to know
The new speaker comes in two power levels. The first comes in light chrome or matte black and delivers a maximum volume of 103dB and a frequency range of 16Hz to 25kHz. Costing $2,200 / £1,890 / AU$3,690, it's considerably more expensive than its predecessor.
For those looking for a little more power, there's the 108dB model with a frequency range of 14Hz to 27kHz, which comes with dark chrome or luxurious gold side panels. This model is more expensive still, costing $3,200 / £2,790 / AU$5,490.
With Devialet's next-generation audio processing chip, the Phantom I should sound even better than its predecessors, while improved thermal dissipation means it's "up to four times more energy efficient" than the previous Phantom generation.
The Phantom I uses Devialet's proprietary audio tech, including the Analogue Digital Hybrid (ADH) amp, which the company says can deliver the quality of an analogue amp in a digital-sized package. There's also Speaker Active Matching (SAM) signal processing to retain high acoustic fidelity, Heart Bass Implosion (HBI) for powerful bass, and the Active Cospherical Engine (ACE), which allows the egg-shaped speaker to diffuse sound in all directions.
Its Analog Digital Hybrid (ADH) amp delivers the quality of an analogue amp in a digital-sized package, while the company's Speaker Active Matching signal processing system retains detail even at the Phantom Reactor 900's 98db max volume.
Devialet says that these technologies allow the Phantom I to provide "best-in-market performance in terms of compactness to power fidelity ratio". In other words, this little speaker should pack a serious punch.
The connectivity of the wireless speaker has been improved too, with a new Devialet app that allows multi-room configuration between all Phantom models, and Roon Ready support for Hi-Res Audio streaming.
There's also support for AirPlay 2, which means you can stream music directly from your iPhone to multiple AirPlay speakers without using the Devialet app.
At these prices, having multiple Phantom speakers is going to be very expensive indeed.
When we reviewed the Phantom Reactor 900, we felt the price was just about justified by its unique design and superior audio quality – though that audio quality wasn't good enough to please the most discerning audiophiles, with a somewhat cramped sound.
Hopefully the improvements made to the new speaker address this issue, because we can't get enough of that weird, space age design.