Belkin is known for its range of iPhone accessories that include wireless chargers, and one of the company's latest offerings is unique because it pairs wireless charging functionality with a home speaker.

belkinspeakercharger
The SoundForm Elite Smart Speaker + Wireless Charger, which is priced at $300, was released in May, and while it's something of a niche product because of its price point, it may fill a void for those who are looking for devices that have a range of functions.

Design wise, the speaker looks a little bit like a HomePod with the top cut off, though it's wider than the ‌HomePod‌. It has the same rounded body shape with an angled top area that's designed to fit a smartphone for wireless charging purposes. I have an iPhone 11 Pro Max and it fit well, but any size ‌iPhone‌ will work here.

belkingspeakerlistening
I was concerned that the speaker would look unfinished without a smartphone charging on it, but the angled smartphone charging platform looks like a deliberate design decision. The speaker is covered in a mesh fabric, but it's clothlike and has give, so it almost feels more like a sleeve than a part of the speaker.

belkinspeakerside
The mesh fits tightly over the body of the speaker, but I'm concerned the fabric texture could rip or tear if any accidental damage occurs, especially since this is a speaker that's meant to be in hand's reach for the charging platform.

As with the ‌HomePod‌, the speaker is available in either black or white, and my test version is black. There are touch controls on the top for activating Bluetooth, changing the volume, playing/pausing music, or turning off the microphone (and thus preventing Google Assistant from listening), but I wish these buttons had some texture because they're hard to find without looking at the speaker. The icons are also a little bit light in color and difficult to see in lower lighting.

belkinspeakerbuttons
A small light on the wireless charging pad lets you know when your smartphone is charging, and there are a series of LEDs on the front that shine through the fabric cover to give you a visual on when Google Assistant is interacting with you.

The wireless charger is 10W, so it's able to charge an ‌iPhone‌ at the maximum 7.5W speed, and I appreciated the design of the wireless charger and how easy it was to drop my ‌iPhone‌ and go.

This is a smart speaker, and setting it up requires the Google Home app on an ‌iPhone‌ or Android smartphone. I'm not a Google Assistant user and I have no other Google devices in my home. I suspect that's going to be the case for many who are in the Apple ecosystem, so right off the bat, this limitation is something to be aware of.

belkinspeakerback
To get the speaker working, I downloaded the Google Home app, which detected it right away. Since I don't have a Google Home setup, I had to walk through the steps of adding a home and giving Google my location (the location bit is skippable, but will prevent accurate weather and directional information). After the home setup, something went wrong, and I could not for the life of me get the speaker added to Google Home.

Resetting and trying again solved the problem, but then I ran into another issue with the speaker being unable to play music from my chosen music source until I turned on Web & App Activity. All in all, it was a frustrating setup experience, and I'm not a fan of all of the permissions I had to enable, but that won't come as a surprise to those who already have a Google setup. It's worth noting again that the microphone does mute, so you can prevent the speaker from listening if desired.

belkinspeakerdesign
With Google Assistant, the speaker can play music automatically when asked from these linked services: YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer, with a default able to be set in the Google Home app. Missing here is Apple Music, which is the music service that I subscribe to.

The only way for me to play ‌Apple Music‌ to the SoundForm Elite Smart Speaker is by connecting it to my phone using Bluetooth. There's no AirPlay 2 support, so no way to play it using WiFi.

belkinspeakermicmuted
Google Assistant is capable of all kinds of other things in addition to playing music, such as answering queries, translating, providing weather information, adjusting volume, controlling linked smart home products, providing daily news, setting timers, setting up music routines, broadcasting voice messages, and more.

Depending on the level of access you give Google and the smartphone you're using, it can also make phone calls, access your calendar, set reminders, send messages, add items to a shopping list, and more. I'm not going to get deep into what Google Assistant does, but suffice it to say that the Belkin SoundForm Elite does what other Google Home-compatible speakers are able to do.

Belkin designed the SoundForm Elite in partnership with Devialet, a well-known high-end speaker company that offers a range of speakers that cost thousands of dollars, which is definitely going to catch the attention of Devialet fans.

Belkin says it's using several Devialet technologies, including Devialet's acoustic architecture, Speaker Active Matching technology for high-fidelity sound in any size factor, and "Push-Push" woofer architecture for powerful bass without vibration, which is good since this is a wireless charger and you don't want your phone bouncing all over the place.

I don't have a Devialet speaker to compare the SoundForm Elite to, but for the size of the speaker, it was very bass heavy, more than I prefer, in fact. Those who like a deep, rich bass are likely to appreciate this speaker. Vocals were clear and the highs came through, but I thought the mids left something to be desired on the default settings. Luckily there are equalizer settings available in the Google Home app so sound can be adjusted to personal preference.

belkinspeakergooglehome
Most of my music listening is done on the ‌HomePod‌, so comparatively, the SoundForm Elite had deeper bass, but both sounded comparable. I had no complaints with the sound coming from the SoundForm Elite, and I think for its size and its price, it's putting out some great sound.

It's loud enough that it's able to fill a room with sound, provided the room isn't super large, and even at high volumes, the music is unmuddled. I'm not an audiophile by any means, I'm not an expert on sound quality, and music preference is subjective, so I definitely recommend reading multiple reviews to get a fuller picture of what the Devialet tech in this speaker is capable of.

belkinspeakertop
Note that my testing was done using ‌Apple Music‌ on the ‌HomePod‌ and Spotify on the SoundForm Elite rather than using ‌Apple Music‌ over Bluetooth and risking poorer sound due to compression. Streaming directly from Spotify did seem to sound just a bit better than using Bluetooth, which is something to keep in mind if you don't plan to use the smart features.

Bottom Line

If you're in Apple's ecosystem and use ‌Apple Music‌ and Siri, the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker and Wireless Charger isn't going to be worth the purchase because it's just not set up for Apple's devices and services. It doesn't work with ‌Apple Music‌ except over Bluetooth, there is no ‌AirPlay‌ 2 support, and it isn't HomeKit compatible.

If you have a mix of Apple and Android devices and also have a Google Home setup, it's a different story. In that situation, it's a solid speaker that offers high-quality Devialet sound at a reasonable price, and provides all the bells and whistles you get with Google Assistant integration. And to top it all off, there's a handy wireless charger, making the speaker a versatile and useful desktop companion.

How to Buy

Belkin's SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker and Wireless Charger can be purchased from Amazon for $299.99.

Note: Belkin provided MacRumors with a SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker and Wireless Charger for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Tag: Belkin

Top Rated Comments

bladerunner88 Avatar
14 months ago
Yeah, Google Microphone listening.....
Lost my interest right there
Thanks but no thanks
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Asarien Avatar
14 months ago
And so, we've returned to where it all began.

Docked iDevices on a speaker.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
14 months ago
I know they are wildly popular but I am still struggling with why one would invest in the "smart speaker" when I would venture to say that 90-95% of the time your phone, which has the same capabilities, can serve the function.

IMHO why waste the money on any speaker with smarts as eventually that hardware will be useless (other than the speaker itself). Ex: how long until the Gen 1 Homepod is no longer functioning because the hardware can't keep up with the software and Apple doesn't want to keep spending resources on backwards compatibility. Not only blaming Apple, Google and Amazon will do the same, at one point all these free Dots will no longer work.

Spend your money on high quality speakers and let your phone do the work and play through the speakers.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
14 months ago
seems like a HomePod at $199 and a wireless charger would be a better move.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
14 months ago

I love being able to ask my smart speakers to do things without pulling out my phone. For me it was worth it to invest in smart speakers. My devices are old but still sound good. The smart assistant, alexa, is still fast and continues to get better. Overall, I'm pleased with the cost/benefit they provided and in hindsight, I should have spent more on higher fidelity speaker b/c of how often i use them.
Good response but you are not dreading the day when you hear that your model X is no longer supported and you need to toss perfectly good speakers in order to upgrade the smarts?

I understand that none of these have been around long enough yet to know how the end of support cycle will go, they may all continue to function a-ok but just not receive updates but somehow I think the same things that drive us to upgrade our phones, etc will drive the smart speaker sales cycle as well none of these companies want you to hold on to a piece of hardware for 10 years and that is not unreasonable for a high cost speaker.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
otternonsense Avatar
14 months ago
Looks like it can offer a free face hugger too
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

macbook air orange

Apple Developing a Whole New Kind of MacBook Air

Monday June 21, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Apple is believed to be working on a completely new, high-end version of the MacBook Air, according to recent reports. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, has repeatedly discussed the company's work on a high-end MacBook Air. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and leaker Jon Prosser have also referred to a similar MacBook Air model. The high-end...
iOS 15 Users Underwhelmed Feature

Users Underwhelmed by iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Survey Suggests

Monday June 21, 2021 7:17 am PDT by
Users appear to be underwhelmed by Apple's upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates, according to the findings of a new survey by SellCell. The survey asked 3,000 iPhone and iPad users, evenly split between men and women, aged 18 or over in the United States, what they thought of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and the naming of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup. Over 50 percent of all of the survey's...
purple iphone 12 and 12 mini

iPhone 12 Mini Production Reportedly Ended Earlier Than Expected Due to Relatively Low Sales

Monday June 21, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Following widespread reports that the iPhone 12 mini has experienced poor sales performance, at least relative to other iPhone 12 models, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce today claimed that production of the device has already ended. According to TrendForce, the iPhone 12 mini "reached End-of-Life ahead of time" during the second quarter of 2021, suggesting that Apple will focus on selling ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Apple Updates Dark Sky Weather App With Apple Watch Improvements and More

Tuesday June 22, 2021 11:58 am PDT by
Apple today updated the Dark Sky weather app for the first time since November with improved VoiceOver support and other bug fixes and performance improvements. In addition, Dark Sky complications on the Apple Watch now update more frequently. The full release notes for Dark Sky version 6.8.6:• Improved VoiceOver support • Complications on Apple Watch update more frequently •...
iPhone 12 v Android 2020

Apple Executive Says Users Who Want App Sideloading Already Have That Option With Other Platforms

Wednesday June 23, 2021 5:07 am PDT by
Apple earlier today published a detailed report outlining in blatant terms the negative impact that sideloading would have on the iPhone and iPad, specifically calling out the impacts it would have on user privacy and security. Now, the company is continuing its PR push, with an executive noting in an interview that users who wish to sideload apps already have that option thanks to other...
iOS Spam Calendar Feature

iCloud Users Continue to Be Plagued by Calendar Spam

Monday June 21, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Despite previous attempts to put the situation at rest, some iCloud users continue to experience spam calendar invitations, causing their calendars to be filled with random events. The situation received widespread coverage in 2016, where Apple said that it was "actively working to address this issue" by "identifying and blocking suspicious senders." Victims are targeted in various ways. The ...
primeday2020 feature3

Amazon Prime Day: The Best Apple Deals

Monday June 21, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
Amazon's annual Prime Day event has officially kicked off today, beginning 48 hours of discounts, offers, and tons of savings across Amazon's storefront. This includes everything from home electronics to clothing, jewelry, video games, movies, and much more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
iphone 13 lineup dummy models

iPhone 13 Dummy Models Depict Repositioned Camera Modules

Wednesday June 23, 2021 4:12 am PDT by
New alleged dummy models of the upcoming iPhone 13, shared by leaker Sonny Dickson on Twitter, depict a modified camera layout on the standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, with two lenses in a diagonal arrangement rather than the vertical arrangement seen on the iPhone 12 models. The dummy models generally line up with iPhone 13 schematics previously seen by MacRumors, which showed that the ...
iphone 13 yellow

TrendForce: iPhone 13 Lineup Will Remain Limited to Maximum 512GB of Storage

Monday June 21, 2021 6:33 am PDT by
Apple will likely unveil its next-generation "iPhone 12s" or "iPhone 13" lineup in around two and a half months from now, and ahead of time, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce has outlined its expectations for the devices. A summary of TrendForce's expectations:Apple will unveil four new iPhones in September, including a mini model, a standard model, and two Pro models. September is the...