As far as families go, we’re a pretty sociable bunch. When my children have homework to do, they’ll often opt to get on with it in company, and I love that, provided that the rest of us don’t cause too much of a distraction. We generally prefer to be in the same living space, even when we are busily consumed doing our own things, independently. My son loves to listen to music as he does his art, my daughter loves snuggling up beside me, although inevitably with her nose in a book. My husband enjoys a lively podcast that may not necessarily class as easy listening. And I like knowing we can all communicate, whatever our chosen distractions. For us, the Sound Partner would be an ideal solution, combining good quality audio without excluding one another.
Unpacking the Sound Partner, I first noticed it’s pretty sleek and extremely light, weighing just 88g. The controls are so simple, easy to reach, and the whole unit rests comfortably – almost imperceptibly – around my neck. Turning it on, it’s best described as a portable surround sound system – the two speakers direct the sound up to my ears, although it soon became clear that sound was not only audible to me! I found this best suited to (non-private!) phone calls, and tv audio – don’t be alarmed by the vibrations that kick in, providing extra, cinematic bass, which really accentuates the drama. If you spend a lot of time on calls this would be fantastic as the sound quality is very clear and you can achieve pretty much any task whilst on a call. As for music listening, it’s not going to match your best headphones, the lower range simply isn’t there, and nor would you consider using them in the company of others if you enjoy blasting out your favourite tunes at high volume, but if you like music as a background to another activity, they’re certainly clear enough, better than a lot of mini Bluetooth speakers. Personally I listen to most music when I’m training, and while these aren’t really any good for running – wind noise interferes too much – they would be ideal for a home gym or turbo trainer, when you want to be ‘in the zone’ but not miss your baby waking up from a nap, or an important delivery, for instance, and can enjoy an incentivising podcast or train with audio prompts. With activity in mind, I loved that these had no wires whatsoever, and the Bluetooth pairing was a breeze. (The unit came with a Bluetooth transmitter, so I could even pair this unit to my – non-Bluetooth – TV; note that it’s possible to connect up to two Sound Partners to most devices, so two of you can share the same listening experience, which is fantastic for large households who like to share living space while doing their own thing, or indeed for gaming.) In terms of comfort, having no uncomfortable earbuds, or that excruciating pressure I often experience from headphones, was a real bonus. What I didn’t expect was the 14-hour battery life, another refreshing positive.
Sociable, within the home
Long battery life
Not best audio quality for music
Not ideal for outdoors or public spaces
3.8 out of 5 stars