The first thing you notice about Sony's SRS-BTV5 wireless speaker is its size. It is an amazingly compact spherical speaker (some refer to them as “ball speakers”), which is a mere 65 mm in diameter and 68 mm in height.
And although built very solidly, at 130 gms, it is literally light enough to slip into your pocket (it comes with a neat cloth bag to save it from scratches). And well, we can see the ladies going “awww” when they see it in in Blue and Pink (the gents will opt for the sombre Black one, we reckon).
There is a fair bit on offer inside that relatively tiny form factor - it comes with Bluetooth, NFC and 3.5mm audio jack connectivity. Also on board is speakerphone capability - a tiny microphone on the speaker lets you receive calls on it. At 1.2 watts, it is not exactly designed to blow the roof off your house, but is loud enough to fill a small room.
We can see people using it in cars and cubicles, especially as the sound quality you get is very good indeed -there is hardly any distortion even at high levels. We would recommend listening to music that is not too instrument-heavy for best results: listening to Unplugged sessions is a delight, Gangnam Style not quite so.
The speakerphone ability is a very handy add-on as you can simply park this speaker on a table in a conference room and let others have their say in a discussion - there is a call/end button on the lower part of the speaker, where you will also see two volume control buttons. One charge of the battery yields about 4-5 hours of music - good enough for a day in most cases.
Where the speaker comes a trifle undone is in its connectivity, which does not always live up to its on-paper promise. While it paired easily on Bluetooth with both the Sony Xperia Z and the Nokia Lumia 920, it took its time acknowledging the existence of the iPhone 4S. And fans of the NFC tap-to-connect principle will be disappointed to learn that it worked only with the Xperia Z and that too after downloading Sony's own NFC Easy Connect app. We certainly hope NFC devices from other brands will be supported in the coming days.
All said and done, it is difficult not to like the SRS-BTV5. It is well designed, fits into one's palm and delivers decent sound. Not a bad deal at all for R 3,990, we think, especially for those needing louder sound on the move, minus earphones.