With wireless speakers, there are two prevalent technologies: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Klipsch opted to only use Bluetooth in the R-28PF system (and not aptX HD), which means you get some compression in the signal and limited range. As I described above, streamed audio suffered a bit in both quality and reliability, especially with higher-resolution files.
For movie/TV buffs who'd like to mate these speakers with a video player, there's no HDMI pass-through, so you can't feed the speakers the highest quality movie soundtracks in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats.
Comparison & Competition
I can't find a competitive powered, full-sized floorstanding speaker exactly like the R-28PF. There are many wireless, powered bookshelf speakers, as well as many single-speaker units that look like miniature soundbars meant to sit on a shelf. But the R-28PF is kind of in a category of its own, especially at its price point.
So, let's just consider some similar alternatives. The passive version of this tower speaker, the R-28F, actually sells for roughly the same price: $449 each. It allows you the flexibility to work with whatever front-end electronics you want. Moving up to Klipsch's Premiere Reference RP-280F tower speaker ($599 each) will provide a significant improvement in bass and overall refinement.
If you want to stick with powered speakers, there are (as I said above) lots of powered and wireless bookshelf speaker options. The Paradigm PW 600, at a street price around $599 each, costs slightly more and doesn't have a built-in phono stage. Being a smaller bookshelf, it also won't be able to play as loud to fill a room. However, with Anthem Room Correction built in, you can dial in the sound to better suit your room. And, thanks to the PW 600's dual-band Wi-Fi connection and DTS Play-Fi, you would be able to stream uncompressed audio directly from many apps on your phone to your speaker without having to use Bluetooth.
There's also any number of soundbar/sub combos that have similar connectivity (minus the phono input) and can produce good sound--but they're probably not going to provide the wider separation and more expansive soundstage you get from a pair of tower speakers.
Make no mistake, the Klipsch R-28PF is a great-performing speaker at its price point. The inclusion of built-in amplification, digital and analog inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, and even a built-in phono stage make this system an immense value for the right consumer. You just need to make sure that you are the right consumer--someone who wants the connection convenience of a soundbar but the performance offered by a pair of full-sized, full-range floorstanding speakers. Someone whose system is built around output options like USB and optical digital as opposed to HDMI. Perhaps someone who is also getting back into vinyl with a turntable and doesn't want to invest in a dedicated phono stage. If that describes you and you're looking for a simplified but high-quality audio solution, you should definitely check out the Klipsch R-28PF.
• Visit the Klipsch website for more product information.
• Check out our Floorstanding Speaker Reviews category page to read similar reviews.
• Klipsch Introduces the Reference RF-7 III Tower Speaker at HomeTheaterReview.com.