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Bose Soundwear Companion is a wearable Bluetooth speaker that offers hands-free calling. This rather original device sits around your neck, directing music and sound to your ears, using its microphones for calls or controlling the smart assistant Siri. At the same time, you will be able to maintain awareness of the sound in the world around you.
Bose Wearable Speaker
However, it’s not the first of its kind – we tested JBL Soundgear first. Is this a new category of wearables we’ll soon start seeing everywhere? Probably not, but when done well, these things have uses.
Bose Soundwear Companion Wearable Speaker
As you’d expect from Bose, every detail has been built for its Soundwear Companion speaker. This means not only the sound quality and the balance of the speakers, but also the comfort and durability of the device itself. Bose even considered personal expression.
The result is a relatively comfortable unit that has a lot more flexibility and power than its frankly solid rival, the JBL Soundgear. Bose Soundwear Companion can sit on your collarbones without discomfort even for long periods of time.
But no matter how well built this speaker is, it’s still a bit clunky. Maybe headphones used to feel awkward too and we’ve been using them for so long that we’ve forgotten it? Perhaps the future of this wearable neck gear will be the same.
Bose used a medical-grade silicone shell around a steel wire to provide strength but enough flex for comfort. This can be clearly felt and makes the Soundwear Companion easy to wear.
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Again – sorry JBL – the Soundgear’s rival is solid and does the opposite, making it feel a bit claustrophobic. So this flexibility is appreciated.
The buttons are large and accessible with a satisfying click feel. Volume and play/pause are on the right, and power and bluetooth on the left – simple. Charging is via micro USB, which makes it easy for anyone who already has these types of cables on the go.
The unit also comes with a removable cover. This has to be unzipped to charge, which is a bit annoying if you want it to stay on. You can just leave it out, but the standard silicone finish can cause adhesion problems for those with long hair.
Bose Soundwear Companion cases come in a variety of styles, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. The question is: do you want to draw more attention to yourself with this thing? And you even intend to leave the house with him? More on that later.
Bose Made A Speaker For Your Neck
The big advantage here is the ability to listen to music and podcasts while being aware of the world around you. As such, the Bose Soundwear Companion does its job well—because the speakers are far enough away from your ears to make it work.
What Bose says makes this speaker even more special is the waveguide technology. This system uses 11-inch waveguides in the neck band to deliver sound at both ends. The drivers push air through the waveguides and out the angled openings towards the user’s ears. This should result in a more personalized listening experience without the viewers having to hear as much sound as they would, for example, from a normal speaker.
The next big benefit for the Soundwear Companion is hands-free calling. Bose simply says it uses an “advanced microphone” with no talk of multiple microphones or smart sound. What’s really smart here is the ability to use the smart assistant of the connected device, specifically Siri.
With the click of a button, you can access the smart assistant to perform tasks just as you would on your iPhone or iPad—without digging out and opening that gadget.
Bose Soundwear Companion Speaker 公式の
For calls, the Soundwear Companion offers both a ringtone and haptic alerts in the form of vibrations. You also have the option to only receive a vibration alert, just like on your phone. This should mean you can walk around the room with your phone resting somewhere without having to touch the device.
The battery is a feature in itself. You get 12 hours of battery life – but you also have the option of fast charging, a 15 minute charge giving you three hours of use. A useful feature when you consider that you can still wear it while charging at home or even use a portable charger if you have a long enough cable.
The Soundwear Companion has a well-balanced sound, although it lacks the bass it claims to offer. While it’s helpful to avoid too much vibration through the collarbone, it can be a less impactful sound than a good set of headphones might offer. However, it is sufficient for most music. You quickly adapt to the new norm and appreciate quality, while still accepting the sounds of the room around you.
The sound is also not local as you might expect. Having tried the JBL Soundgear – basically speakers placed around the neck – expectations from Bose were high due to its waveguide technology that directs the sound to the user.
Bose Bose Soundwear Companion Speaker Wearable Neck Speaker
The reality is a negligible difference. Anyone else anywhere in the room can still hear the audio quite clearly, even if you play the music low. No matter how much you “tune” the speakers, they still talk.
Even bad headphones put out enough sound to be heard outside in some cases, so the speaker always did the same. In JBL’s case, it was forgivable because Soundgear never claimed to offer native sound. But Bose suggests that’s the case with this waveguide speech. So don’t be fooled – this is very much a speaker system.
Good sound is appreciated when you’re walking around the house, and there’s enough power that you can rock with the speaker sitting firmly in place even with the most vigorous head banging. And yes, I gave him the Iron Maiden test. Everything stayed in place without the cover thanks to the silicone grip – but it was a little less secure with the material case clamped down.
The lightweight flexibility not only absorbs movement – it also provides a comfortable fit. But despite Bose’s best efforts, this is still a speaker on your collarbones. I got used to it, but I still noticed it. Although the same could perhaps be said for the headphones, at least they are cooler to wear.
Bose Quietly Launches A Wearable Speaker For Your Neck
The design of the Bose Soundwear Companion is great, but you’ll still get some looks when wearing it in public. Mainly because it’s like going out with a boom box to attract attention. Since there are headphones, it will always be offensive in public. As a result, it is a kit at home or, at a push, in the office.
The functionality is there for the office and home, with this hands-free system that works really well. Even with a single microphone, the audio reception is so good that anyone on the other end can’t even tell it’s a hands-free call.
The buttons make it easy to use, and the button and mic combination works well for Siri smart voice controls as well. But when you can usually access it with just your voice, it’s probably a bit of a novelty.
Battery life is apparently good at 12 hours. However, a decent wireless speaker or a good pair of wireless headphones can get you closer to the 30 hour mark. So maybe that battery isn’t that amazing, but the shorter life and the lighter, more comfortable headphones are a real trade-off.
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If you take a lot of hands-free calls, enjoy music and podcasts – all at home or in the office – then the Bose Soundwear Companion could be for you. If you need to be aware of your surroundings, say, as a parent at home or a boss at the office (since most offices probably won’t tolerate you walking around with that jerk), then this is a winner.
Stay-at-home moms and dads will appreciate this as a way to stay connected, have fun, and still listen to their little ones. Office people who want a hands-free kit with a premium sound might also like it.
Bose Soundwear is a great example of a wearable speaker. It is relatively comfortable, has adequate battery life and excellent sound quality and makes hands-free calls at a high level.
Luke Edwards was a journalist and editor – well – much more than he was willing to admit. Specializing in everything related to technology and gadgets – from science and health to sports and adventures.
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