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Polk Woodbourne Review

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued.

Our Verdict

The Polk Woodbourne steps outside the box with a stylish design and finish, but it excels in sound quality and connectivity. It is much bigger than other speakers we reviewed so you must make space for it. Overall, the combination of style, connectivity and sound quality make this one of the most desirable wireless speakers.

For

  • This speaker has great audio quality.

Against

  • The Polk Woodbourne app is only used to sync the unit to Wi-Fi – it has no other functionality.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The speaker is 24 inches wide and is larger than the majority of the speakers we reviewed.

Polk Woodbourne image: The speaker is 24 inches wide and is larger than the majority of the speakers we reviewed.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The power and volume controls are located below the LED strip screen.

Polk Woodbourne image: The power and volume controls are located below the LED strip screen.
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Polk Woodbourne image: All of the inputs are located on the back of the speaker.

Polk Woodbourne image: All of the inputs are located on the back of the speaker.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The aux port allows you to connect your mobile device to the speaker using a 1/8-inch cable.

Polk Woodbourne image: The aux port allows you to connect your mobile device to the speaker using a 1/8-inch cable.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The optical cable can be used to stream music from your television to the speaker.

Polk Woodbourne image: The optical cable can be used to stream music from your television to the speaker.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The speaker comes with remote, batteries, 1/8-inch cable, power cord and instruction manual.

Polk Woodbourne image: The speaker comes with remote, batteries, 1/8-inch cable, power cord and instruction manual.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The Woodbourne app is only used to connect your speaker to Wi-Fi.

Polk Woodbourne image: The Woodbourne app is only used to connect your speaker to Wi-Fi.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The USB input can be used to charge your USB-enabled device.

Polk Woodbourne image: The USB input can be used to charge your USB-enabled device.
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Polk Woodbourne image: You can hardwire your speaker to your router using the Ethernet cable if you don't have wireless internet in your home.

Polk Woodbourne image: You can hardwire your speaker to your router using the Ethernet cable if you don't have wireless internet in your home.
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Polk Woodbourne image: The cherry-wood finish is stylish and sturdy.

Polk Woodbourne image: The cherry-wood finish is stylish and sturdy.

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.

The stylish design of the Polk Woodbourne is indicative of the sound quality that follows. If the speaker's looks don't catch your eye at first glance, the sound quality probably will. This home wi-fi speaker is ranked by our reviewers as not only one of the best-looking speakers in our review, but also one of the most powerful and best sounding. 

The first audio characteristic we noticed was the sound dispersion. The Woodbourne has great stereo separation, and it fills a room with sound. It didn't matter if we were standing in the center of the speaker or off to the side – we heard full, rich audio.

It was apparent during our listening tests that this speaker's sound is rich, balanced and crisp in instrumentation and vocal clarity. The audio is also transparent, meaning this speaker is highly detailed so you can hear all the instrumentation. This was most apparent when listening to "Give Up the Ghost" by Radiohead. The clarity in all the repeating vocal harmonies was one thing, but the texture of the hollow thud of Thom Yorke's hand on the body of the guitar between strums made it sound like the song was being played right in front of us. It projected yet had the feel of a live acoustic guitar. That small detail conveyed the type of transparency this speaker is capable of, displaying all details audibly with crispness.

Music from the artist Pretty Lights and the group Rage Against The Machine put the Woodbourne's bass production to the test. The speaker showed plenty of presence and punch in the low register, keeping the overall tone of the audio round and warm. Although, in our comparisons with other top-rated wireless speakers, the Polk's bass didn't sound as powerful or focused as some speakers. That's not to say the Polk lacks depth – it was just outperformed in this category by a couple of other speakers in our review. Ultimately, we were pleased by the audio performance of this wireless speaker. It has full and rich sound qualities and is also powerful enough to fill a room with strong audio.

Connectivity is one of the strong suits for the Woodbourne. This Wi-Fi speaker features wireless compatibility with Bluetooth, Airplay and Wi-Fi, but also wired connectivity by offering USB, Ethernet and aux-in ports. In addition to all of the inputs is an optical cable input. This can be used to stream digital audio from your television through the Polk Woodbourne and adds to the plethora of connectivity options provided by this wireless speaker.

The wireless speaker is also one of the few that feature a physical remote control. The remote control allows you to control all the aspects of the speaker, including switching between functions and controlling volume. It's small, comfortable to hold and convenient to use. The connectivity options coupled with the high sound quality of the speaker make the Woodbourne a rare breed in the Wi-Fi speaker world where often speakers usually only excel in one area or the other.

The Woodbourne mobile application is merely used to sync the speaker to your home Wi-Fi network. It has no other function other than that, which is disappointing considering competing applications can be used to sync multiple audio streaming platforms, create playlists and queue songs among other functionality.

The speaker setup only took a few steps and a couple minutes to complete. For the setup, you'll need a USB cable and the password to the Wi-Fi network. Once the speaker is connected to Wi-Fi, you can stream music virtually anywhere within your home.

The Polk Woodbourne makes it a point to stand out physically compared to the competition. While all other speakers in our review are almost exclusively black, the Woodbourne is white with a cherry-wood finish on the top of the speaker. The speaker looks elegant and very dissimilar to all others we reviewed.

This wireless speaker weighs over 17 pounds, making it the heaviest in our comparison. It is also 24.1 inches wide, so finding ample space for this large unit can be an issue. Frankly, this speaker is large and heavy compared to all other speakers.

There is a small display that runs down the middle of the speaker separating the right and left sides. This little LED screen displays what function is currently in use. Below the small LED screen are the power button and volume controls.

The Polk Woodbourne is backed by the longest warranty in our comparison. The three-year warranty is like a safety net, should you experience any technical trouble with your speaker. Polk lists its phone number and email address on the support page. Expect a few days before your email inquiry is answered.

The Polk Woodbourne is near the top of our best wireless speaker comparison. It has all the connectivity options we looked for, including an additional optical cable input for digital audio streaming. The sound quality is rich, balanced and crisp, making listening to all types of music pleasant. The speaker doesn't have much of a mobile app presence, but it does come with a remote to control the speaker. This is a great choice for a wireless speaker.