[tabi] a unique very portable Bluetooth speaker

  • From: "Chip and Allie Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2013 15:57:57 -0400

Hi all,


If you have a phone with NFC (near field communications), here's a portible
speaker which takes advantage of it.  I'm going to buy this, even though I
don't have a phone with NFC, just because it seems such a nice small
portible speaker.




Sony's new wireless speaker.

Ultra-portable Bluetooth speakers are becoming increasingly common these
days, but

leave it to Sony to give us one with NFC technology, solid sound quality and

style in the SRS-BTV5.

Ignore the name - hey, Jambox and Pill were taken - and appreciate what the

super-light little speaker ball does. It's not a perfect device by any
means, especially

if you're expecting explosive sound. But it's more affordable and
transportable than

any travel speaker on the market, and in the right hands, that can be plenty
of fun.

At about 135 grams, Sony's diminutive Speaker Ball is slightly smaller than
a tennis

ball, with a sleek look and feel. A switch that allows for NFC functions and

Bluetooth connections sits on the bottom, volume switches and a phone button

subtly built into the sides, and another side panel pulls open to reveal a

port for charging and a 3.5mm jack, allowing it to function as a standard
wired speaker.

But the silver top of the tiny speaker is most interesting. Here resides the

tag, part of Sony's big NFC tech push in 2013. If you're unfamiliar with
NFC, here's

your quick primer: It's Bluetooth on easy-to-use steroids, taking the

pairing process and simplifying it to a device tap. More and more devices
are including

NFC technology - Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 and BlackBerry's Z10 both include
NFC functionality

- and Sony's making quite the NFC in 2013, headed by the SRS-BTV5 and a pair
of even

beefier speakers with equally unsexy names.

It's meant to work easily, and in the case of Sony's Speaker Ball, it most

does. Tap the NFC tag on the Speaker Ball to the NFC tag on any device, wait
a few

seconds, and the connection is established. I tried this with a handful of

- Sony's Vaio Duo 11, the Z10, the Samsung Galaxy S3, and Sony's Xperia TL

- and all connected easily, instantly streaming whatever media I had playing

through the Speaker Ball.

NFC technology remains in its infancy, though, so the Speaker Ball also

standard Bluetooth pairing capabilities. This works as intuitively as it
does on

most Bluetooth speakers: Holding that switch on the bottom to the right for
a few

seconds leads to a tone that places the device in pairing mode. Once paired,
it functions

like your typical Bluetooth speaker.

And it's here that the evaluation of the Speaker Ball grows just a bit
tricky. Suffice

to say this is no Jawbone Jambox or Beats Pill, but as long as you know what
to expect,

that's not a bad thing.

Rule out explosive bass and massive sound from the Speaker Ball. It's simply

big enough to generate such sound. You'll get the slightest touch of bass
thump here,

and it never gets truly "loud."

What the Speaker Ball does do, however, is deliver a solid, clean sound.
Like most

Sony sound options, you get a nice sense of space from the Speaker Ball,
with sound

emanating from the speaker housing in all directions. It's a well-rounded

not too tinny but not quite bassy enough for Beats addicts, either.

The SRS-BTV5 did an adequate job with music, although there was some
distortion at

its highest volume levels. I found it far more impressive as for video and
PC game

playback, though. Watching "The Avengers" on a Duo11, you can hear voices

from different directions, and the careful bass balancing prevented
explosions from

leading to distortions. You'll also hear some of the subtle nuances in such

as Borderlands 2. You'll deal with ever-so-slight latency issues, but not

to really disrupt the viewing experience.

In the end, Sony delivers a solid - and unique - entry in the growing
Bluetooth speaker

market, as long as you utilize it in the correct fashion. This easy
portability of

the Speaker Ball makes it ideal for the on-the-go user who wants just a bit

zip from their laptop or tablet or smartphone experience, delivering a
fuller sound

than the tinny speakers built into such units.

No, it's not quite impactful enough to fuel you through some bass-heavy
workout or

some house party.

But it is far easier to tote around. And at $69.99, that counts for






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