Sony Ericsson has done an admirable job with its line of Walkman cell phones, so it's not too surprising that the company would succeed with Walkman phone accessories as well. The Sony Ericsson MPS-70 portable speakers are an ideal solution in moving your Walkman tunes from a private to a public setting. As an update to Sony Ericsson's MPS-60 system, the MPS-70 speakers are almost identical in design, save for their larger size and gray-to-black color change. Fortunately, the sound quality was a bit improved--though the available features remain sharply limited. The MPS-70 speakers are a great buy at $49.95, but keep in mind they will work with only a select number of Sony Ericsson phones.
The MPS-70 portable speakers could hardly have a simpler design. Each speaker measures 2.1 inches tall by 1.6 inches wide by 1.2 inches thick; together they weigh 4.4 ounces. Though they're a bit larger than the MPS-60s, they remain eminently portable and lightweight. You'd have no problem stashing them in a bag for a day or weekend trip. The MPS-70's black coloring is an improvement over the MPS-60's minimalist gray, while here again an orange ring pays homage to the unofficial Walkman phone color.
The wire that connects each MPS-70 speaker to the phone plug is also black, and you're allotted enough length--3 feet to be exact--to place the speakers far apart from each other. Also, the cord connecting the left speaker to the plug measures a generous 1.4 feet. We liked having so much freedom to position the speakers as needed. The wires also function as an antenna for an FM radio.
It's worth noting, however, that the plug is only compatible with Walkman-branded phones--so if you have another Sony Ericsson music phone, you're out of luck. Also, because the plug connects to the phone's charger port, you can't listen to music and charge your phone at the same time.
Setting up the speakers is exceptionally easy; just plug them into the phone and you're good to go. Your handset is the power source, but the speakers won't drain your battery significantly. When paired with our Sony Ericsson W580i, the speakers delivered surprisingly good sound quality--just like the phone itself. Volume was much higher than with the MPS-60 speakers, which is a welcome change. Though they deliver a satisfying experience, keep in mind that the MPS-70 speakers are not designed to replace your home stereo, and they're also short on audio editing features. A speaker-mounted volume button would be nice, but we're not going to complain too much. Simplicity is really the whole point of the MPS-70 speaker set.