Sony has launched the first neckband speaker with Dolby Atmos sound tech. The Sony SRS-NS7 looks a lot like the company's NB10, which launched back in July. The difference is Atmos.
However, you won't be able to enjoy Atmos on the NS7 from your Sony Bravia XR TV straight away. Sony says you'll need a firmware update which won't be available until January 2022. Once downloaded, you can enjoy Sony's 360 Spatial Sound through the neckband speaker courtesy of Dolby Atmos, using the 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer app.
But it should be worth it. It will create the effect of Dolby Atmos speakers situated around you, immersing you in the action.
To create the same experience with some Sony headphones, you can pair them with the WLA-NS7 wireless transmitter, which is sold separately. The SRS-NS7 uses a separate wireless transmitter that comes in the box. This plugs into your TV with an optical-to-USB cable, and pairs to the neckband speaker wirelessly over Bluetooth.
The wireless transmitter works with other TVs than Sony Bravia XR models, but it won't minimise the audio delay (aka 'lag') as it will with those Sonys.
If you want to use the speaker for tunes, Sony's 360 Reality Audio technology will work with music files from streaming services like Deezer, Tidal and nugs.net. And of course you can pair the NS7 with other devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones, for working or playing from home (echo-cancelling promises to minimise feedback from other people's voices).
Inside is an X-Balanced Speaker Unit that increases sound pressure and reduces distortion. The upward-facing speaker promises to deliver clear sound without disturbing others, so you can listen late at night without waking the neighbours, but at the same time not cutting yourself off from the world like a pair of headphones would. There's also a passive radiator to increase the low frequency response, improving the bass.
The neckband is flexible, with an ergonomic design that promises to fit securely around your neck. It delivers 12 hours of battery life (or five hours at maximum volume), with a 10-minute charge giving an hour's extra life. And its fabric finish and silicon neckband are soft and easy to clean.
Thanks to Multipoint Connection you can connect it to two devices at once, like your laptop and smartphone. Then if a call comes in on your phone while you're listening to music on your laptop, you can take the call with one press of the neckband's Play/Call button. When the call ends, you'll be automatically reconnected to the music.
It's splashproof too, so you can listen while doing the washing up (though it's not fully waterproof, so don't take it in the shower).
The SRS-NS7 costs £270 (about $370, AU$500), while the WLA-NS7 wireless transmitter (which you'll need to create the same effect using headphones) costs £50 (about $70, AU$90). Both go on sale in November.
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