Good things come in small, wirelessly connected packages. Unless we’re talking about AirPlay speakers. For every high-quality Logitech UE Air Speaker ($350) there’s a lesser model that sounds like someone stuffed sand inside a pillow and piped in some crappy Pearl Jam MP3s through a rusty can.
The Denon Cocoon Portable does not sound like a sand speaker, or Pearl Jam. It’s the same price as the Pioneer A3 ($400), and it provides an array of streaming options from a number of apps on your phone or computer. Unfortunately, the Cocoon ranks toward the bottom of the AirPlay pile and carries too high a price. Unless you’re particularly enamored by the wireless options, the brand, or the design, it’s a definite pass.
The design is interesting: black with silver accents, a squished bean look that at least departs from the boxy shape of most speakers. Weighing 7.2 pounds and measuring 13.8 inches long and 5.3 inches deep, the box is portable enough for day trips, but not so light that it will slip off the back of your entertainment center. A grip on the back makes it easy to carry.
There’s a small tray that pops out, revealing a 30-pin iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch connector. (Denon says it has no plans to release a model with a Lightning port.) In about two seconds, you can place your (old) iOS device on the connector and play music. There’s a 3.5mm input for Android phones or any other 3.5mm source.