iPhone, iPad, Mac notebooks, Watch all tell the rest of the industry which direction to pursue. That used to be what Sony did. Maybe Sony is back with a vengeance. If wearable boom box speakers catch on, it will be because of Sony’s Immersive Wearable Speaker with the catchy name SRS-WS1.
Sound For All
I once dated a guy who carried around a boom box all day. It was loud, yes, sonically abusive, and when I suggested he might get similar sonic results and not piss off so many people with a pair of headphones, he just snarled, shrugged, and turned up the sound volume. Again.
I saw him again recently and said hello, but he couldn’t hear me. I’m thinking karma.
The Sony SRS-WS1 looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before; something akin to a neck pillow you would use on an airplane, or futuristic Geordi La Forge goggles. Yes, of course. One picture is worth a thousand words.
‘Nuff said, right? $300. I know, I know. You want to know where to buy a pair. Don’t look for them at the Apple Store. Devindra Hardawar explains why:
I’ve been testing out the Immersive Wearable Speaker for the past week, and from the get-go, it was one of the strangest products I’ve ever used. It looks and feels like a quality Sony device, and it even sits on my neck well with excellent weight balance.
Looks. Feel. Balance. Probably unobtrusive, too.
But nothing about the speaker works the way you’d expect.
Let’s see, if this was an Apple product you would expect long battery life, wireless to connect to iPhone, wonderful sound quality (I’m thinking battery-powered HomePod with a neck brace), touch controls for sound, and a genetically built-in desire to wear them to bed even.
For one, it’s not Bluetooth compatible at all. Instead, you’ll have to manually plug in 3.5mm or optical cables (ugh) into its wireless receiver.
Hey, this is a product for 2019, right? Did Sony buy into the crazy news that Bluetooth earbuds cause cancer? Or, was it pimples? I forget.
There aren’t any playback controls on the speaker itself. All you’ve got is volume adjustment, vibration controls (which adds a bit of oomph to the low-end) and power.
Maybe that vibration mode is for your neck. Play some loud music with heavy bass and get a neck massage, too. It could be worse. Sony could build a wireless PC mouse with the charging connector on the bottom instead of the end so the mouse cannot be used while charging.
That could happen.
Seriously, if you’re actually considering it, maybe have a friend try to talk you out of it first.
I think I just did, huh, friend?