While it’s true that we’re now, finally, on the verge of being able to resume a mostly normal post-pandemic life, there’s a good chance that at least one change brought about by COVID-19 is here to stay: Working from home instead of the office. With that in mind, Sony is taking another shot at a product design that has been around a while: The neckband speaker. Its new $150 SRS-NB10 will come in gray and white when it goes on sale in September.
Sony’s hardly the first company to try the neckband speaker. The Bose Soundwear Companion and JBL Soundgear are very similar. But Sony is looking to differentiate the SRS-NB10 by positioning it as the ultimate work-from-home accessory that lets you participate in Zoom meetings and other conference calls without the discomfort of wearing full-size headphones or cramming a set of earbuds into your ears for hours at a time.
The NB10 should be able to operate for 20 hours before needing to be recharged via a USB-C cable, and Sony says you can squeeze in an extra hour with a 10-minute quick charge — not bad if you’re anxious that the speaker may not make it to the end of your day.
Sony says the device is lightweight and comfortable and that “customers can keep this on all day long without shutting out the world around them.” Worried that everyone around you will be listening in on (or simply annoyed by) your calls? Apparently, the upward-facing full-range speakers with passive bass radiators are optimized for personal sound so you can hear your virtual meetings and phone calls clearly without disturbing others in the room.
More importantly, the NB10 support Bluetooth Multipoint so you can pair them to your phone and your computer or tablet simultaneously without needing to pair them again every time you want to swap from one device to another.
The two beamforming microphones can be easily muted with a touch of a button and the entire device is IPX4 rated, so you won’t have to worry about the occasional splash of water — whether it’s from enthusiastic dishwashing,or a toddler trying to get your attention.
You can use the SRS-NB10 for listening to music or, if your TV or streaming media device support Bluetooth headphones, you can use it to listen to movies and TV shows, too. However, if that’s your main intent, Sony also makes the $300 SRS-W1, a supercharged version of the SB10 that only works with its own transmitter, not Bluetooth.