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If you want to play some tunes from your phone in your bedroom or kitchen but don't fancy standing around with headphones in, you should get yourself a Bluetooth speaker. The Sony SRS-BTV25 is just such a speaker, offering an impressive sound level from such a small, lightweight body.
It won't replace your dedicated lounge hi-fi, but it's a fine choice for some background music in a more modest room. It's available now for £100 from Amazon.
Eschewing the usual black square look of many speakers, the BTV25's spherical design is reminiscent of a spaceship from a bad B-movie. It won't appeal to those of you after classic, minimalist design, but will appeal if you like alien motherships noisily invading your home.
With a diameter of 145mm, it's particularly small for a speaker and with a weight of only 500g, it's very light too. Its size means it's easy to find a spot in your living room among those stacks of old magazines and coffee mugs you haven't washed up yet. It also makes it very easy to move to a different room if you fancy some tunes on in the kitchen while you're cooking up something tasty.
Although the plastic is very lightweight, it doesn't feel cheap. We gave it a good few knocks and bumps and were left pretty confident it can survive the odd tumble to the ground. But we don't suggest you throw it around too much, even though it is ball-shaped.
On the top you'll find three buttons: a bass-boost function, one to pair your Bluetooth device and one to select the auxiliary input, as well as volume and power buttons. Around the back you'll find the power socket and a 3.5mm auxiliary input for connecting any devices using the headphone jack rather than Bluetooth. There's a USB socket on the speaker as well, which is only there to provide charging power to a device, not as a connection.
Setting up the Bluetooth connection is the same process as any Bluetooth device and takes only a matter of seconds. We tested it with a variety of smart phones and had no problems at all. The connection was pretty strong too, allowing us to continue streaming music at opposite ends of a 20-foot living room, although this will likely depend on your transmitter.
The BTV25 may be a little chap with only 13W of power, but it packs a surprising punch. A 20mm tweeter delivers the high-frequency sound while a 56mm woofer brings the lower frequencies. At medium volume levels, the audio produced was crisp and clear with a pleasing amount of bass that was easily sufficient for enjoyable listening in a small bedroom.
When cranked up to the max, the BTV25 achieved impressive volume, although the sound did begin to distort somewhat. It's more than loud enough for some casual background music in your living room, but you definitely wouldn't want to rely on it for a wild party.
The speaker offers what Sony calls '360 degree circle sound' which means the sound is fired out in all directions, rather than straight out in front like normal speakers, making you a little less restricted about where you can place it. We found this worked rather well, with good sound offered in various spots around our room where other speakers may have struggled to spread the music quite so well.
The sound levels are most suited for smaller rooms, so if you're looking for a speaker for some quick tunes while getting changed in your bedroom, the BTV25 will do fine. If you're looking for a dedicated speaker dock for rich audio in your living room, you may want to check out something with a bit more grunt, like the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air -- but you'll have to stretch your wallet a lot more for that.
The Sony SRS-BTV25 may look like an invading spacecraft, but it delivers a surprising wall of sound for its size. It's not going to be the life and soul of the party, but if you want some quick tunes on in the background of your bedroom, your £100 would be well placed here.