Sony's wearable speaker is the best or worst idea ever

(Image credit: Sony)

The Sony SRS-W1 Immersive Wearable Speaker is a home cinema audio system that you wear on your shoulders and over your neck, which — what? I’m sorry but I can’t really wrap this around my head other than literally putting it on.

Here is how Sony claims this weird product works: “By simply placing the wireless speaker on their shoulders, users will be surrounded by sound and vibrations that allow them to experience films, concerts and games as if they were actually there.“ 

Sony is trying to put a home cinema system right next to your ears without blocking them like headphones would do. They are probably more comfortable to wear that headphones. Sony claims that it provides an immersive surround sound experience thanks to “30mm-diameter full-range speakers on both sides,” which also makes sense.

(Image credit: Sony)

The company says that the neck speaker produces a “powerful sensory experience” in which “every explosion, every jump, every shot has a more realistic feedback,” with three vibration intensity levels. OK, sure. The device uses an RF transmission system because Sony claims it provides with better sound due to lower latency and better responsiveness than Bluetooth. The battery life, Sony claims, is seven continuous hours. The device charges on a charging stand.

It’s a pretty simple idea that actually makes sense even while it looks goofy. It’s also a typical funky Sony product, like ones it used to release in 80s and 90s, with a futuristic aesthetic that can turn them into props in a sci-fi B-movie about escaping a prison in some dystopian society.

Things just get weird when Sony claims that you can link two Immersive Wearable Speakers to share the experience with another family member. I mean, if I were alone at home and you didn’t want to crank up the volume of your TV or projector, I can see myself wearing one instead of using a traditional speaker. But if I were with my wife, wouldn’t I just use our TV sound system or soundbar? And how do they interact with each other? Would I hear more sound from where she’s seating? Doesn’t that ruin the whole pristine hi-fi sound experience premise?

The product itself is not new. In fact, Sony claims that their decision to introduce these devices in the the United States “is based on its popularity overseas,” so maybe this is not so weird after all.

Anyway, you can order the Immersive Wearable Speaker now for $250 from November 18 to December 1, 2019. After that, they will be $300 a pop.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.

  • jjtd
    Thanks for this link and the article. That said, you missed an important point. On Amazon, there are many (172) similar products at prices from $10 to $730. There is no need to go down the Sony path with this idea. Perhaps you could have tried the cheaper ones and told us if they are OK. In my house, we have a noisy dishwasher. I could see using this for about an hour a day. But, I don't see paying Sony prices for a $30 speaker.