Grain Audio PWS.01 Wireless Speaker review

It's hard to not fall in love with the beautiful walnut enclosure of this Bluetooth speaker, but having legit sound processing technology to boot makes this handsome devil all the more appealing. Designed for those who truly want the best sound from a portable speaker, Grain Audio's PWS.01 is one worth writing home about. Jump past the break to get the full scoop of what it's pushing and the goodies bundled with.

It won't take your calls, and it won't wirelessly charge your Qi-enabled device — no. The PWS.01 has one sole purpose, and that's providing you with amazing sound wherever it resides. Grain Audio has kept functionality simple with this wireless speaker, yet crafting a body that's designed to enhance the audio experience through and through. The enclosure is made of an FSC-certified walnut with a hand-applied oil finish that's water resistant (not to be confused with waterproof). FSC being the Forest Stewardship Council, which is 100% for sustainable harvesting of wood, protecting fragile ecosystems and stands against illegal logging practices.

Grain Audio PWS.01 Bluetooth Speaker

The edges are lined with an easy-grip rubber that surround the speaker grille on both sides. Underneath is a pair of rubber feet that do a jam-up job of preventing any slipping and sliding, regardless of surface material. On top you'll find the power and volume buttons, sharing the same matte finish as the edges. The 3.5mm auxiliary port for direct connections without Bluetooth, as well as a micro-USB port for charging its internal lithium-ion battery, can be found on the side. A Grain Audio logo is engraved into the wood on the opposite side, which looks quite nice.

Grain Audio PWS.01 Bluetooth Speaker

Fully charged the PWS.01 will rock your socks off for a completely-acceptable 8 hours. It comes bundled with its own folding blade charging adapter, 5ft micro-USB charging cable, mesh carrying bag, and a 40" auxiliary cable. It's reasonably sized, measuring 7" x 2 3/8" x 3 1/8", not ideal for pocket storage by any means, but the included bag is perfect for tossing in a backpack or carry-on.

The mesh carrying bag easily houses the PWS.01 and features a buckle lock at the top that keeps the wireless speaker from slipping out. I noticed that the bag seems to be water resistant as well, adding extra defense while toting the speaker around on foot.

Grain Audio PWS.01 Bluetooth Speaker

Pairing is straightforward with most Bluetooth devices; holding down the power button a few seconds puts it into pairing mode (indicated audibly) and shows up under devices as Grain Audio - PWS.01. No NFC pairing with this guy, which isn't really a deal-breaker for the extra few seconds it takes to scan for the device.

Inside are two 2" proprietary loudspeakers that feature a patented bass isolation system and passive radiator, topped with Waves MaxxAudio sound processing — recipient of a Technical GRAMMY Award. The PWS.01 also comes loaded with Bluetooth 3.0 + A2DP with aptX and AAC technology for the highest quality audio standards. When hearing the PWS.01 next to my ZENS Bluetooth Speaker/Wireless Charger, the tone is noticeably different. There's a richness to the mids of the PWS.01 that ZENS' dual speakers don't put out — playing to the strengths of that wood construction. The bass kicks when volume levels go up without drowning out the rest of the mix; that is, until you're cranking it to the point of distortion. It's still plenty loud for most living rooms before getting to that unpleasant point, though.

The verdict

As great as the Grain Audio PWS.01 sounds, it's in that higher price range that not everyone can easily afford. Granted, its sound quality and construction play a role in that, it could be a bit more affordable — minding you can't manage calls, skip tracks, or pair using NFC. Negatives aside, it's an excellent wireless speaker that blends well almost anywhere aesthetically. It's currently priced at $249.99 through Amazon, if you decide you want those rich acoustics of the PWS.01.

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Brent Zaniewski