When it comes to immersive audio, there are all sorts of solutions out there. From AirPods to XM3s and Sonos One to Echo Studio, each product has its own intended use cases. Is a wearable speaker justifiable? Bose and JBL have thought so for a while, and Sony appears to think so too with its own SRS-WS1 offering slated to debut in the United States.

Sony’s SRS-WS1 wearable speaker heads to the US

Sound that surrounds you and a built-in vibration board are ingredients that Sony deems vital in its new wearable speaker. The company claims that its wearable speaker is perfect for situations where a listener needs to be mindful of surroundings.

Sony thinks this will deliver incredible audio as it is centered around the wearer instead of being projected at them from far away. Three adjustable vibration intensities allow wearers to experience action scenes like never before while keeping it tailored to their liking.

SRS-WS1 takes about three hours to charge and from that, delivers playback for about seven. An included stand aims to keep charging simple and organized, but it does mean that users will end up having another proprietary port in their home.

wearable speaker

“For the consumer that wants to take their movie watching or gaming experience to the next level or for that individual who would like to hear their television content more clearly, the SRS-WS1 Immersive Wearable Speaker provides a unique personal sound experience,” says Michiko Araki Kelley, vice president, New Business and Corporate Marketing Group, Sony Electronics North America.

Pricing and availability

Sony’s new SRS-WS1 wearable speaker is available for pre-order now. Official pricing is set at $299.99, mimicking what Bose charges for its similar offering. Those that order both direct from Sony and prior to the first of December can bag $50 in savings, bringing the cost down to $249.99. While it is available at Amazon, the special introductory pricing is not reflected there.

When it comes to availability, Sony’s new wearable speaker is set to arrive sometime in December with no specific date being offered. That being said, the Amazon listing currently shows a release date of December 15, leading us to believe initial orders will have plenty of time to arrive before Christmas.

9to5Toys’ Take

While I have yet to try a wearable speaker, I’m intrigued to identify optimal use cases. Sony markets it as a “dynamic sound experience that does not isolate you from your surroundings,” but its own top-tier XM3 headphones sports a special sound mode that “allow[s] you to hear ambient sound even while wearing headphones.” Apple’s new AirPods Pro also do something similar, attempting to provide the best of both worlds.

Like it or not, headphones tend to become uncomfortable over long periods of time. This is one area Sony’s new wearable speaker seems able to outperform headphones. When compared to a home theater sound system, SRS-WS1 is likely a fantastic alternative for apartments or homes with minimal square footage, especially given the fact that two speakers can be paired at once.

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