Pros / This speaker has natural, balanced tonal qualities.
Cons / It lacks Bluetooth connectivity, which should be standard on all wireless speakers.
Verdict / If you can get past the lack of Bluetooth connectivity, the sound quality and mobile application may make this speaker worth owning.
The Denon HEOS 5 is a good-sounding wi-fi speaker that features plenty of connectivity options and only takes a few steps to connect to your Wi-Fi. It also features a downloadable application that is used to connect the HEOS 5 to your home network and also controls the speaker right from the application.
The HEOS 5 connects to your Wi-Fi network by way of the HEOS application. After you download the application, you'll need to plug your phone into the speaker using the aux port cable and follow the steps to complete the setup. You will need your Wi-Fi password to complete the connection. The process is straightforward and only takes a few minutes to complete.
The mobile application allows you to completely control how you listen to music on the Denon. It links with a large number of streaming music providers, including Spotify, Tunein, Tidal, Pandora and Rhapsody to name a few. This allows you to access all of them within the HEOS application. You can also use the application to queue songs, make playlists and adjust the volume of your speaker.
The application can link two or more Denon Wi-Fi speakers together so you can control them throughout your home. For instance, if you have a HEOS in your living room and one in your kitchen, you can link them together to play the same song in both rooms. You can adjust the volume of both speakers together or separately. The app is one of the most resourceful and useful applications we used throughout our testing.
One of the biggest downfalls of the Denon HEOS 5 is its lack of Bluetooth connectivity. Although Bluetooth doesn't provide the audio quality that Wi-Fi does, it is a convenient connectivity option and should be standard in today's day and age. Outside of Wi-Fi, you can connect to the speaker via Apple Airplay or hardwire your mobile device to the speaker using the aux in or USB port. This is one of the few speakers we reviewed that allow you to play media via USB. Most USB ports on the home wireless speakers we reviewed are for service purposes, repairs and maintenance.
The wireless speaker provides good overall sound quality. It provides crisp tonal qualities that were especially apparent as we played Radiohead's "Give Up the Ghost." Compared to the Bose SoundTouch 20, it displays wide sound dispersion that sounds good anywhere you stand in a room. Good stereo separation is also apparent; you can hear different instruments and tones coming from different areas of the room. The speaker audibly displayed all the vocal harmonies and loops that are prevalent throughout the Radiohead song without jumbling everything together, which made for an enjoyable listening experience.
As we listened to more bass-driven music from bands like The Floozies and Pretty Lights, we felt that the Denon had enough bass to make the music sound round and full, but it just isn't as strong or prominent as some of the higher-ranked speakers. This isn't necessarily a knock the on the sound quality of the HEOS 5 – it does have full bass – it just doesn't punch like some of the best wireless speakers in the top half of our lineup. However, the overall audio quality of the HEOS 5 speaker is quite pleasant.
The Denon HEOS 5 is a rich-sounding speaker with crisp and clear tonal qualities, no matter the musical genre. It is one of the better-sounding home wireless speakers in our lineup. Its lack of Bluetooth connectivity is disappointing, but it does provide a handful of other connectivity options including USB, aux and Apple Airplay. The HEOS mobile app is one of the better applications we've come across and allows you to control all aspects of your speaker right from your phone.