Upon receiving this product, I was a bit confused. Its a lot larger in person than it looks in the pictures. "Monolith" somewhat accurately describes its style, a tower of glossy black plastic (a Sony favorite) with beautiful lights emanating outwards. Its both stirring and unnerving at the same time.
At first my problem was I did not know where to put it.... sitting horizontally, its very wide and I had no place on my floor to set it. Didn't want to put it on a shelf because that would hinder the sound.
I wound up standing it up vertically and putting it next to my bed. It was a great choice!
This thing is seriously beautiful. It is more of a traditional Sony design, with the glossy black plastic, and all black monolith design. But there is something to be said about tradition!
It blends into the room, but stands out at the same time. People at my Christmas party were a bit astonished. "What is that giant glowing speaker?...... it looks so cool!" were common comments from friends.
Is this an Audiophile's dream? Probably not. But that doesn't stop it from filling a room with high quality sound! A true audiophile would have a 5.1 or even 7.1 system, with sound coming from all directions. It would probably cost them ~thousands. This is not meant to replace that though!
When listening to songs, I usually keep the volume towards the lower limits, and even then it still fills my ~600 Sq. F. Bed Room with sound! For its size the Bass is above average. When put against the wall, it can easily make said wall shake, and the neighbors already complained when I was conducting "Midnight testing"!
It truly is a "portable party system", designed to fill the room with sound, and get people dancing. And it does just that extremely well. Mission accomplished Sony!
One of the nicer things about this system is the way it lights up! Glowing led lights in both channels, and in the ipod dock glow more than 7 (by my count) different colors, and depending on the beat of the music you are listening to, change frequently to keep pace with your music.
Turn the lights off, the sound up, and get your party started! These LEDs shine bright and strong, and look truly beautiful! At night I love sitting in the room, listening to classical music and watching the LEDs change at a slower pace. Its extremely calming and somewhat soothing. A great way to unwind from a long day!
4: NFC/Blue Tooth:
Truth be told, we are not an iPod/iPhone household anymore. I have not had a chance to test how docking an iPod in this system is. But please note it has a Lightning Connector, so newer iPods/iPhones only. No way in heck would you be able to dock an iPad here either!
BUT - whats great is the way this thing pairs via NFC and Blue Tooth. Turning Bluetooth on via my Nexus 5. You just Tap said phone against the marked NFC sign on the right side of the machine and the two are paired nearly instantly.
No more "enter code" on both machines, and then pray they pair anymore! Just tap and you are set! The beauty of NFC, I am incredibly happy Sony choose to embrace it, and the implementations are solid! You can even pair more than one device, I have both my Sony Tablet Z and my Nexus 5 paired to the machine, and switching between each is incredibly simple!
With BlueTooth you can stream music from any source to this machine - I tested Spotify, Google Play Music, iTunes (on my desktop), and Rdio - and each worked flawlessly.
However, whats even better is that sound even streams from other apps as well. For me, I was able to watch movies on ShowTime Anytime, on my Tablet Z, and the sound streamed perfectly! Its a much better listening experience, and honestly is one of the reasons why I have come to love this machine.
1: Some people might have issues fitting this speaker in their homes. I know it wasn't easy to find a spot for it in my home
2: Audiophiles might complain its not good enough. To which I say they are in the wrong product category.
3: Price - some might have issue paying this much for such a system that is not 5.1. But honestly, all said and told - its worth it! Sony has always been a premium brand with premium products, and you get what you pay for!
4: The remote:
My biggest complaint about this system would be the remote and its functionality. An LED "On/Off" feature would have been great here, but unfortunately is not present. You have to scroll through the >5 LED profiles before you can turn the LED lights OFF! Its slightly annoying. Worse, after a while the system hibernates and goes into a "Demo" mode - and the LEDs turn back on again! I am sure there is a way to relieve this issue, but at least for me, I have not been able to figure it out yet. So consider me a bit peeved!
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
This system has great sound and amazing capabilities. Most any family who bought this thing for their home would love to place it under their TV and have weekly jam fests with friends and family. Quieter people could put it in a room and use it for casual listening to music, as well as streaming sound from movies/Tv shows they watch on ANY Blue Tooth device.
While I was unsure at first about how this device would fit in, in my home, I am now in a position where I cannot do without it. I honestly have come to love it.
Don't judge a monolith by its cover! ;)