The Star Wars films are chock full of levitating objects, from hovering orbs and vehicles to airborne Jedi knights. And although we didn't purposely time our testing to coincide with the opening of the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, our labs have just evaluated three levitating wireless speakers that would seem quite at home in any of the Star Wars episodes. They don't have any official tie-in to the movies, but they sure look like they could.

The three levitating wireless speakers are designed in more or less the same way. Each speaker includes a base, which is essential to getting the speakers to float. Two of them—the ICE Orb, $150 and Power Lead Flat F400, $130—have a spherical design that makes them look like mini Death Stars. The third, the Air 2 CSBT-311, $130, has a more pancake-shaped design, which perhaps could double as a mini-floating city. (Check out the 5 best wireless speakers under $300.)


Check Consumer Reports' 2015 Holiday Guide for our picks of the best gifts, details on the latest deals, time-saving tips, and much more. And see our countdown calendar for top gift ideas for everyone on your list.
 

This is a photo of two levitating wireless speakers
The ICE Orb, $150, (left) and Power Lead Flat F400, $130, can float in one spot, and connect via Bluetooth to your mobile device.
Photo: Terry Sullivan

How Levitating Wireless Speakers Work

What makes these speakers stand out, obviously, is that they float in mid-air. To achieve this, each model uses magnets—one in the speaker itself and four around the base. In order to have the speaker levitate, the base needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet. (The speakers themselves are portable; they'll work when not levitating above the base.) The speakers tend to slowly rotate while levitating, which gives them a nice mesmerizing effect.

Just to be clear, they float only in one specific spot above the magnetized base. And, that spot can be tricky to find. The ICE Orb and Power Lead both have four indicator lights on the base to help you place the speaker in the right location: When all four lights are red, the speakers should float. Unfortunately, if it’s positioned even just slightly off, the speaker will crash down and stick to one of the four magnets on the base. The Air 2 does not have guide lights, which makes it even trickier to find the sweet spot. 

This is a photo of a floating wireless speaker
Like the other two models, the Air 2 CSBT-311, $130, also levitates, but lacks guide lights on the base.
Photo: Terry Sullivan

How These Levitating Wireless Speakers Sound

But these models aren’t meant to be just floating works of art. They’re audio speakers. And, unfortunately, all three had just fair sound quality and scored rather low in our tests. We don’t recommend them for listening to music: Among other issues, each produced bass that has almost no impact and overall, we found that the audio sounded congested and lacking in detail. That means you won’t hear the subtleties in any type of music or audio. However, all the models provided a decent volume level. So, they’ll produce enough sound to fill a small room.

Our testing revealed the speakers sounded the same whether they were floating or not floating. In other works, the floating feature had no effect on the quality of the audio.

These speakers do have a futuristic, sci-fi appeal, but since they fall short where it matters most—in delivering sound—we suggest you choose one of the many other, better-performing models we've tested.

Check our wireless speaker buying guide and Ratings for more details.