Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder Bluetooth speaker review: A stand-up wireless speaker

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.8
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Sound quality: 7.0
  • Value: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder is a sleek and compact wireless Bluetooth speaker that converts from a standalone speaker to a stand for just about any tablet. It has good build quality and delivers decent sound for its size.

The Bad Fairly pricey; no speakerphone capabilities.

The Bottom Line The Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder is a versatile and compact portable Bluetooth speaker that also converts into a stand for just about any tablet -- but it's priced a little high for its sound quality.

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Definitive Technology is known for its audiophile-grade loudspeakers. But now it's dipped into the mainstream market with its first wireless Bluetooth speaker, the $199 Sound Cylinder.

As its name implies, the Sound Cylinder is cylindrically shaped, which has been a trend in the portable Bluetooth speaker space with such products as the JBL Flip and JBL Charge , as well the iLuv iSP245 .

However, what makes the Sound Cylinder unique is that it can convert from a standalone speaker to a stand for just about any tablet. It's a sleek speaker that features "rugged aluminum/magnesium alloy" construction, and it also sounds decent for a portable Bluetooth speaker, though its price point is a little high.

Design and features
The Sound Cylinder isn't your typical Bluetooth speaker in that some extra pieces are attached to it. First, there's a flip-out kickstand that folds flat against the speaker when not in use. You only use that kickstand when you have a tablet docked in the hard rubber clamps that keep your device in place.

Side view of the speaker with power button. Sarah Tew/CNET

The clamps expand a bit, so there's some leeway as to the thickness of the tablet you can slot in there. The speaker seems to have been designed first and foremost for the iPad 2,3, and 4, but it should work with most other large tablets without a problem. It's also designed to clip onto the top of laptop screens, though the speaker does have little heft to it -- it weighs 0.74 pound, or 336 grams -- so, depending on the type of hinge on your laptop, it could cause your screen to close shut if you're not careful.

Where things get dicier is with tablets that have smaller bezels on their sides because when you stick the device in the clamps horizontally, if you have a thinner bezel, part of the screen ends up being covered by the clamps (phablets like the Galaxy Note 2 aren't compatible). It's also worth noting that the way the speaker and kickstand are designed, the tablet actually needs to have some weight to it for everything to balance correctly. And finally, while your iPad and other larger tablets end up being propped up well, if you were to bump your tablet from behind, it would tip forward pretty easily and fall down. In other words, there's a little bit of a balancing act going on.

Holding an iPad in landscape mode. Sarah Tew/CNET

Of course, the safest thing to do is turn the speaker over, stand it up on those rubber clamps, and use it as a standalone speaker.

As noted, the speaker's made of quality materials and appears to be well-built -- and it's certainly eye-catching. Definitive Technology says, "The grilles are custom perforated aluminum, while the 'kickstand' and clamp mechanism parts are injection-molded magnesium alloy, a costly high-tech material that is incredibly strong yet lightweight."

A view of the kickstand from the side. Sarah Tew/CNET

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Where to Buy See all prices

Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder

Part Number: Sound Cylinder Released: Feb 6, 2013
MSRP: $199.00 Low Price: $199.98 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Feb 6, 2013
  • Color Silver
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 8 Watt
  • Speaker Type Bluetooth speaker
  • Wireless Technology Bluetooth
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology Wireless