Sony SRS-NB10 Wireless Neckband Speaker Review: Interesting but Niche
This wireless neckband speaker is a unique product with limited utility for now, but I wouldn’t brush it off just yet.
Sony SRS-NB10 wireless neckband speaker
When I got a call from the Sony representative asking if I was interested in reviewing their ‘Wireless Neckband Speaker’, my reaction was probably similar to yours when you read the title of this review: Wireless Neckband or Wireless Speaker ? It turned out to be a combination of both. While it sounded weird at first (and it kind of still does), we do know better than to push aside a new audio product category that Sony is indulging in. I’m sure the first Walkman had quite a few naysayers at the time.
The Sony SRS-NB10 aroused my interest, but of course I had many questions about it. While some were answered by the company in due course, I managed to figure out the others once I got my hands on the product. I’m sure you’re curious about this unusual product too, and I’ll be happy to unravel it for you in this review by answering the most frequently asked questions about this wireless neckband speaker. So let’s get started.
What exactly is a wireless neckband speaker?
It’s pretty much everything the name suggests. Think of it like a wireless neckband that you wear around your neck, but instead of headphones you have portable speakers. The Sony SRS-NB10 has an interesting design that somewhat resembles a horseshoe. Despite weighing over 110 grams, it fits comfortably around your neck without any discomfort. The weight distribution is perfect.
It has a pair of speakers on the back, with a microphone and controls on the front. Just like your wireless earphones, you need to pair them with your source device via Bluetooth and listen to the audio or manage calls wirelessly. Build quality is pretty solid with a polished, soft-touch matte finish. We got the charcoal gray variant for review, and it’s also available in white. The SRS-SB10 is IPX4 splash-proof.
What is the primary use of the Sony SRS-NB10?
The primary use of this wireless neckband speaker from Sony is to have long conversations without the inconvenience of having an earpiece in your ear all day long. This product is primarily intended for people who work from home and often need to make phone calls. Since it is a wireless product, it does not restrict your mobility and at the same time keeps your hands free for other work. It is also intended to reduce listener fatigue and make you aware of your surroundings.
Can it be used to listen to music or watch movies?
Yes, it can be used to listen to music, and it’s enjoyable to some extent, but don’t expect as much detail or punch in the audio as a good earphone. It is perfect enough for some soft music or listening at night. The audio output is fairly clean and crisp, but understandably the bass lacks a thump. You get support for AAC and SBC codecs over Bluetooth 5.1.
The performance is also comparable when watching videos. If the content is vocally heavy, the NB10 does well, but is found too little in action scenes or when the audio contains a medley of instruments. I tried to watch the new Lord of the Rings – Rings of Power trailer and it was a fairly enjoyable experience with a pretty good stereo effect. I wouldn’t use it to watch the whole thing once it’s released though.
How well does the Sony SRS-NB10 perform?
This wireless neckband speaker is quite adept at its primary responsibility – handling calls. The call quality is very good, the person on the line can be heard clearly and the microphone transmits your voice just as well. It was indeed liberating not to hold the phone to your ear and not have an earplug in during a call, and yet not miss any part of the conversation.
The sound quality is better than telephone speakers as the neckband speakers are placed a lot closer to your ears at all times. The neckband also has a dedicated button to mute the microphone, which is quite handy if you’re attending conference calls or online events where you don’t need to speak much. The wireless range is also quite impressive with absolutely no stuttering down to at least 10 meters. The stated range is 30 meters, but I didn’t go that far.
The only big catch here is the lack of privacy. The person sitting next to or behind you can easily overhear the conversation. You can always lower the speaker volume (the controls are on the neckband itself), but below a certain loudness level you would also struggle to hear the caller clearly. So for important phone calls or private conversations you just can’t use the Sony SRS-NB10 unless you’re alone in the room.
What is the battery life of the Sony SRS-NB10?
The battery backup is pretty solid on the Sony SRS-NB10. The company promises nearly 20 hours on a full charge, and it’s getting close. Of course I didn’t have such long conversations all week, but during testing I did play a lot of music on it. It has a USB-C port and you can use any standard phone charger with it. The neckband also supports fast charging, and when the battery is completely drained, a 10-minute charge can give you an hour of playtime, which is good to see.
What is the price of Sony SRS-NB10 in India?
The Sony SRS-NB10 wireless neckband speaker costs Rs 13,990 with a one-year warranty. It is often seen for Rs 2,000 less on Amazon India. Since this is a unique product, it is difficult to comment on the price. At the moment it is a niche product with limited appeal and application. However, I would not write off this product category just yet.
Should I Buy the Sony SRS-NB10 Wireless Neckband Speaker?
By now you know what this product is for. If you are someone who is not comfortable using earphones or headphones for extended periods of time, especially for calls, then you should consider this product. I want to emphasize once again that the Sony SRS-NB10 is more work-oriented than an entertainment device. This isn’t meant to replace wireless earphones when it comes to consuming music and movies, just yet.
Sony is known to create new product categories in the field of consumer technology. Some ideas work, some don’t, but it’s never a good idea to write them off too quickly. And at some point, we all wanted a personal audio device that could deliver sound quality comparable to a good earphone or headset without having to stuff it in or over our ears. The SRS-NB10 is not that device but a big step in that direction.