'This is an airplane pillow! This is a neck massager! – No, this is a musical 'collar' for people '…
In the near future, in my opinion, an unusual wearable speaker from Bose will appear on our market. I had the opportunity to test the new product before the official announcement, I hasten to share my thoughts and impressions.
From time to time, thematic Western resources talk about certain bold projects from well-known companies that produce acoustics and headphones. The first such 'swallow' from Bose were 'plugs' for sleep, launching into the ears in antiphase to noise the soothing sounds of nature. There is an experimental component, there was information that such headphones are sold in American pharmacies (with a prescription?).
And last October, I came across a note about Bluetooth – a Bose SoundWear Companion speaker that you need to wear around your neck. A similar device was once released LG and Sony, I had to rummage in the net to remember. Like any sane geek, I initially took this concept with a fair amount of skepticism. Column around your neck, are you serious? Looking ahead, I will say that the 'personal acquaintance' turned out to be quite positive. What was the goal of Bose with such an unusual device? Let's try to understand the issue.
Specifications, complete set
- Connection type – wireless, Bluetooth, AAC and SBC codecs
- Qualcomm CSR8675 processor
- Dimensions: 190 x 177 x 444mm
- Weight – 266 g
- Ports: micro-USB
- Charging time up to 100% – 3 hours
- Operating time from full charge – 12 hours
- Connection radius 9 m
- Optional: water and sweat proof, IPX4 rated (splash proof from any direction)
- Sales start – May 11 (pre-order – May 1), price – 22,990 rubles
A large black box with a white cardboard outer 'envelope' hides the speaker itself, dressed in a strict black case, a charging cable, a separate pocket contains a user manual in several languages, a short tour of the first launch and a warranty card.
The part of the cover adjacent to the neck is made of leather, the upper part is made of a thin stretching material. On the bottom of the case, there are symbols that repeat the functionality of the buttons hiding just below the case. If you wear the speaker over dark clothes, then it is easy to take it by the collar, it is only the Bose logo on the back in the center that 'gives out' it, and if you get very close, there is a working light indicator under the power button.
The Bose SoundWear Companion came to me for a review accompanied by two covers, with which the owner, if desired, can customize the appearance of the speaker. One of them is made in blue (Midnight Blue), the other is in textured plum (Dark Plum). A third version of the cover will also be available later – Heather Gray. Covers will be sold separately, the price of each will be 2,990 rubles.
The charging connector is hidden under the zipper of the case, if you open it a little, you can charge. It would be more convenient if the port was located along the body, and not across, apparently, this location had its own reasons from the point of view of the internal layout.
The speaker casing is made of rubberized plastic, under which a pair of 11-inch acoustic waveguides are hidden. The column bends and adapts to the neck of any size, perhaps, except for very small children. At the same time, there is a certain rigidity, it can be felt, for example, when changing covers. Nevertheless, as emphasized in the instructions, you should not get too carried away by trying to bend the column.
It seemed to me that the weight of the device turned out to be such that it does not allow the speaker to 'move' unnecessarily, but it does not put pressure on the shoulders and is practically not felt. As mentioned, the control buttons are located at the bottom of the case. On the left are the buttons for turning on and activating the pairing mode, on the right – the volume control buttons, between which there is an additional key. Several commands are tied to it, for example:
- Press – pause playback, answer a call, end a call
- Long press – call the installed voice assistant
- Double quick press – skip to next song
- Triple quick press – skip to the previous song
- Triple press while holding the last press – rewind to the beginning of the current song
The travel of the buttons is small, soft, pressed easily, with a slight click.
Bose devices are traditionally loved for their sound, and the SoundWear Companion is no exception. The speakers are positioned so that they send sound directly into the space next to the ears, creating a kind of musical 'spacesuit', 'cocoon', whatever. The result is a very curious experience: music seems to be playing loudly, but there is also an opportunity to hear what is happening around.
The speaker transmits bass well, it turns out to be energetic and is felt physically through the vibrations of the speakers, an unusual feeling. The rest of the frequencies play cleanly, nothing is cut, subjectively – a very pleasant and instantly captivating sound. Separately, I will note the volume reserve, in this respect everything is also excellent, 60 percent of the maximum power is enough for me, which is excessive for indoor use, but acceptable for outdoor use.
Autonomy, additional functions
The device honestly fulfills the stated 12 hours on a single charge. It will take 3 hours to fully charge the speaker, 15 minutes will be enough for 3 hours of playback.
You can answer calls using the built-in microphone, you can hear the interlocutor well, cleanly, except that I often turned up the sound. There were no complaints from the callers about the sound quality, the wind can interfere when used outdoors.
The Bose Connect app can connect up to two devices at the same time. It is convenient, especially when you are watching a video from a tablet and at this time a call comes to your phone. In the settings, among other things, the level of low frequencies is adjusted so that you can hear app notifications or voice notifications better. There is also a user manual with an answer to frequently asked questions, very useful and clear, I advise you to read it before use. There will be something to do while the firmware is being downloaded.
We return to the question posed at the beginning of the material: for whom and what is this device intended for? On the Russian-language Bose website, there was such a description: 'Even if you are a passionate music lover, it is not always convenient for you to be in headphones, not hearing what is happening around. Now there is a solution for such cases … '. That is, we have a device for simultaneous communication and listening to music. At the same time, none of the aspects suffers.
Let's try to understand what scenarios are covered by Bose SoundWear Companion. If you take the application at work, then it is quite suitable as a musical accompaniment to inventory in a warehouse. From my own experience, it is a very useful piece for the home. No wires, good sound, no risk of missing a doorbell / intercom / landline or mobile phone, and all this, coupled with good autonomy and free hands.
Free hands? Of course, use in the car! What is not a hands-free headset option – it sounds great, while maintaining control over the situation, you can quickly answer a call without obstacles to driving. Developing the topic of personal transport, one can, in principle, imagine the use of such a gadget by music cyclists. Well, the speed allows you to listen to music, and you no longer need to stuff a bulky speaker into your backpack.
It seems to me that such scenarios can be found quite a lot, whether it is rest, active and not so, or sports application for some disciplines.
The device turned out to be original. I liked the very pleasant sound, good ergonomics and confident autonomy make the use of the most positive experience. Not everyone will understand this form factor, but the subjective impression of use is very favorable. The case when the initial skepticism was replaced by positive emotions. Positioning became clear after a closer 'acquaintance' with the gadget. It seems to me a great option for the holiday season. The product, as they say, is 'in itself', but it has a right to exist. The target audience is quite wide, but the questions, as always, are caused by the cost, but I would like to hope that over time it will be adjusted to more pleasant values.
The bottom line is a great sounding, curious performance and premium pricing product, not without useful scenarios.