JBL's Around-The-Neck Speaker is Great for VR

You might think you'd look silly wearing a horse-shoe shaped device around your neck, but the JBL Soundgear Bluetooth speaker is worth looking a little weird. The wearable isn't made for city streets, but it shines in other situations, such as playing virtual reality indoors, or hanging out in the backyard. 

Hands-on Impressions

I tried out the Soundgear while playing the Samsung Gear VR game Land's End, and the speakers emitted enough ambient noise to block out the background noise of a CES 2017 exhibition floor. I could hear tiny details such as waves crashing on far-away shores, and the tones of the beams of light that guide you on your way sounded strong.

Availability and Starting Pricing

On sale this summer, the Soundgear will cost $199.95.

Key Specs

Compatible with all Bluetooth devices including the Google Daydream View and Samsung Gear VR. Up to 6 hours of audio playtime.

Why You Should Care

The Soundgear is arguably better for VR than a pair of headphones. It's light enough that I forgot it was there, and felt more immersed in the game by removing the feeling and pressure of headphone cans on or around my ears.


Interested: the SoundGear might not be the kind of thing you'd wear in public, blasting your music at everyone as you walk down the street, but it's a great way to carry your tunes or game audio with you at home.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.