Sony SRS-BTS50 review
The Sony SRS-BTS50 is the company's smallest portable Bluetooth speaker to include support for the high-quality aptX audio codec. AptX is only available on some phones (see http://tinyurl.com/aptxdevices for a list) but can provide less lossy audio compression than SBC.
The speaker's softly angular shape and fabric cover makes it look like some kind of impractically small designer clutch purse at first glance. It’s splash proof, sturdy and has a metal loop so you can clip it to a backpack, belt or anything else. No karabiner or strap is included, though.
In its usual upright position, the sound from the speaker's pair of drivers is directed upwards and outwards to fill the room. You can also put the SRS-BTS50 on its side to face you if you want a more personal listening experience. We preferred the sound when the speaker was upright, though. There's a built-in microphone, so you can use the speaker for hands-free calls. An answer button on the speaker makes it easy to pick up your call without having to fumble for your phone.
Other buttons control the speaker's volume, enable manual Bluetooth pairing and let you check how much battery life you've got left. There's also a sliding on/off switch. An NFC pairing point lets you pair any compatible Android smartphone or tablet at a touch, as long as you've already installed Sony's NFC Easy Connect app. This is highly convenient, making it easy to share the speaker between multiple users and devices. We had no problems pairing the speaker with our test phones, but none of our test laptops' older Bluetooth chipsets and drivers were able to pair with the speaker.
A rubbery silicone cover protects two 3.5mm stereo ports: one input to connect auxiliary audio sources and the other to plug in a pair of headphones or an external speaker. The speaker's mains power connection is also under the flap; there's no USB charging option. The SRS-BTS50 lasted over 15 hours in our battery tests, which is impressive for something so small.