September 4, 2013 5:27 PM PDT / Updated: September 4, 2013 5:27 PM PDT
Cylindrical portable Bluetooth speakers are all the rage these days, and Sony, not wanting to be left out of the action, has introduced the SRS-BTS50, a $129.99 splash-resistant wireless speaker.
At first glance, it looks similar to the $200 UE Boom -- and like that model, it comes in multiple colors (black, white, pink, blue, and red) -- but it isn't quite a perfect cylinder, and when you pick it up, it isn't as heavy as the UE Boom (by that I mean it doesn't feel like it has quite the build quality of the Boom).
Included in the speakers specs are built-in speaker phone capabilities and NFC tap-to-pair (for devices that support NFC). Battery life is rated at 10 hours.
I only spent a short time with the product, and the room was noisy and not conducive to a listening test, but it seems to compete favorably with the JBL Flip, which retails for $99.99. While the list price of SRS-BTS50 is $129.99, Amazon has it on preorder for $105.55. Sony says the speaker is available now, but Amazon says it isn't due to ship for three to four weeks. We'll have a full review once we get our hands on a review sample.
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music and The Big Exit. Both titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, and Nook e-books.