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

The Sound Cylinder has a built-in rechargeable battery that delivers 10 hours of battery life, and there's a Micro-USB charging port and auxiliary input for non-Bluetooth devices.

Definitive includes a 3.5mm cable for connecting those non-Bluetooth devices, as well as a very simple, thin cloth carrying pouch (it will keep the speaker from getting scratched up but little else). Alas, there is no speakerphone option.

In all, I liked the design, but there are some issues to be wary of.

Performance
Compared with other compact Bluetooth speakers, the Sound Cylinder sounds relatively good, though it should sound better for $200. The best thing that can be said about it is that it sounds pretty clear. The bass is OK for a speaker this size, but you definitely get some treble push to achieve that clarity and the speaker sounds a little peaky. I'm being more critical because of its price level, but as I said, it's a decent little speaker that plays pretty loud for its size. It'll fill a small room with sound, though not a medium-size room.

I tested it with both music and video, and it's well suited for watching film or TV programming on your iPad or larger tablet. Yes, you can certainly play music through the speaker, but with the speaker's stand capabilities it has a lot of appeal for those who watch video on their iPads and want to augment the sound experience. The Sound Cylinder will provide a big step up from the iPad's internal speakers.

You get a very basic carrying pouch, 3.5mm cable, and USB charging cable (not pictured). Sarah Tew/CNET

While Definitive touts stereo speakers to go along with a side-firing subwoofer, these little speakers offer little to no stereo separation unless you're 2 or 3 feet away from them.

As with other Bluetooth speakers, you can stream music wirelessly to the speaker from up to around 33 feet away using your device as a remote control. I compared it with a few other compact Bluetooth speakers, including the Jawbone Jambox , JBL Flip, and JBL Charge. The Sound Cylinder held up relatively well against the competition, but the problem was that it didn't beat any of those speakers, and the JBL Flip and JBL Charge played louder. The Sound Cylinder did sound better than the iLuv iSP245, but the iLuv is now down to less than $50, making it the better value.

As noted, battery life is rated at 10 hours. That's decent for this type of speaker, though the Jambox delivers better battery life.

The auxiliary input and USB charging port. Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion
The Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder has some nice things going for it -- namely a sturdy, sleek design and decent sound. That it converts into a stand for your iPad and other tablets is also an appealing trait, particularly for people who watch a lot of video on their tablets and want to augment the sound experience.

That said, apart from a few design concerns, my biggest gripe was that it just didn't sound better than the lower-priced competition. The JBL Flip, which retails for half the price, plays louder and offers smoother sound. So while I liked the Sound Cylinder, it's hard to offer it more than a tepid recommendation despite its strengths.

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Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder

Part Number: Sound Cylinder Released: Feb. 6, 2013
MSRP: $199.00 Low Price: $199.99 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