The vifa Reykjavik is described as an eruption of sound - with heavy emphasis on a design that looks, well, nothing like a speaker, for £249.
As a shape it’s alluring and the Nordic charm oozes from the Lavastone anodised aluminium exterior (also available in Sandstone Grey Kvadrat wool). 'Unusual' is probably the first word that will come to mind when you study the vifa Reykjavik as a speaker, whilst also appreciating what an attractive object it is. There’s not a single straight line and no harsh edges either. Roundness is the definitive scheme, so when you rest it on a flat surface the drivers promote sound waves upwards as opposed to the traditional speaker design where the sound waves travel towards you. We investigate what difference this makes later on. It also features a leather strap that isn’t just for show; we’ve had the Reykjavik speaker hanging from door handles, hooks on walls and even tree branches.
This is one area for improvement. The power, volume, pause/play and home buttons are hard to actually see in darker environments, but more importantly they take quite a firm press to activate and a different type of button input would seem more logical here.
A lot of people (like we did) would question whether this rounded obsession is a bit of a design gimmick - well, the straight answer is no. It may be unusual but the vifa Reykjavik has no problem getting sound waves into a room when laying flat, because the sides of the speaker grill taper off, allowing some audio produced by the 2x 19mm tweeters and a 70mm woofer to travel at an angle. The design throws out bouldering volume that will entertain and includes a faintish structure of a soundstage with it. This powerful yet airy style of sound nudges it in a different direction to other recent similar sized portable speakers we’ve reviewed, and instead has the character of larger variants like the SACKit MOVEit or the Edifier Rave MP700 but in a much smaller design.
Take the track ‘Sweet & Sour’ by Elli Ingram. Elli’s vocals are raucous and the track has an underlying bass rhythm that the Reykjavik separates perfectly, showcasing the bass as a true backbone of strength for evenly competing levels of depth. Furthermore, the mid range impressed our ears, with the occasional exception that it could sound a tad tight. But the high range has no cause for complaint, with plenty of room to leap about without ever sounding pitchy. For instance, ‘Summer Guest’ by Ásgeir has angelic vocals that glisten against the guitar arrangements in its reproduction through this speaker.
There’s no questioning it, the vifa Reykjavik has the heft to make a serious collection of music sound respectable and, importantly, hugely enjoyable! ‘South of the River’ by Tom Misch is a sure example of just why this is a nice speaker to hear music through; with impact, clarity and vivid separation from the atmospheric instrumentals. So whether throwing out full whack volume outdoors at a barbecue, or at a reserved level for background music whilst stationary at a desk working on your next assignment - it’s always a nice listening sound with the Reykjavik.
In this area the vifa Reykjavik speaker excels. Firstly, as the volume gets very loud, we did anticipate that at over the 75% volume range the battery life would be incapable of keeping anywhere near the stated 6hr claim. However, whilst it was under really aggressive usage it still managed to squeeze out over 5 hours of playtime. Additionally the battery doesn’t lose charge when not in use - we had ours sitting in a backpack for two weeks idle and its charge level didn’t dip.
We would definitely recommend the Reykjavik speaker to anyone looking for an ‘on-the-fly’ rich audio listening experience. The competition in this arena is fierce, and whilst this is no doubt a premium entry due to its design, that is exactly why it's a good speaker choice if you want a 360º experience that no other design we’ve tested in this arena promotes at such a level.