Despite being introduced by Sony President Phil Molyneux at CES 2013 as “my pink balls,” the Sony Bluetooth Wireless Mobil Speakers are a serious piece of portable audio tech. They are about the size of a golf ball and spit out some significant sound, and include mobile features not found on other portable speaker systems.
The speaker ball is completely portable, lightweight and easy to carry around. Outfitted with Bluetooth connectivity, the speaker is completely wireless and easily linked to your portable device.
As their street names implies, the speaker is spherical in design with minimal buttons or inputs. At the top of the ball is an opening designed to maximize room-filling sound quality. When looking at the speaker, the left side of the ball contains the volume + and – buttons.
The speaker functionality extends to phone calls as well. The right side of the Sony speaker ball houses the phone button with a small mic opening above it. When depressed, the phone button allows the user to call the last person they dialed.
The phone functionality works both ways, as the speaker automatically recognizes a call, pauses your music and allows you to answer the phone without losing your place on the playlist. Want to speak directly though the speaker? No problem. Just activate the Bluetooth device on the call screen of your phone. Choose the speaker option and that\’s it.
The back of the ball houses a hinged access door that hides the mini-USB and audio-in inputs. On the bottom of the ball is a switch that allows you to power up the speakers. In addition to Bluetooth, the speakers are also armed with NFC (Near Field Communication) functionality. Users can also choose to turn off NFC through this switch if they desire.
The speaker can be recharged via USB, which is included. A single charge lasts about five hours. Don\’t have Bluetooth connectivity? No big deal. An auxiliary cable allows for a \”wired\” listening option.
The speaker ships with a carrying case.
At an invite-only media event held in New York City, Sony handed out these speakers for review. They asked attendees, including the TechnologyGuide team, to take a listen and see what we thought.
Our first impression with the Sony\’s Speaker Ball was very positive. The speaker is fun. It travels easily and can be a great conversation starter. Linking an iPhone to the speaker was fast and simple. Once linked we were able to transport the speaker to different areas of a large house. Sound quality was impressive for such a little thing and was unaffected by transporting it from room to room.
The Sony speaker balls aren’t cheap. Priced $70 at the time of this writing, there is a Sony premium attached. But our initial impressions were positive, based on feature set and sound quality, and Sony has a good reputation for home theater and audio tech.
Back to Molyneux’s chuckle-inducing introduction… earlier in the week, he announced on Sony\’s blog that they need your help in naming Sony\’s Bluetooth Wireless Mobil Speakers. Check out the rules here. Begging consumers to have fun and maybe get a little cheeky with the names, Sony is counting on social media and viral marketing to launch their new product.
By Laura Hicks