Sony Ericsson MS500 Review
The Sony Ericsson MS500 is a wireless Bluetooth loudspeaker designed for outdoor use, which presumably means sound that packs quite a punch so as not to get drowned out by all the noises that surround us at every turn. Moreover, the MS500 is splash resistant, which might come in pretty handy for a gadget that is to be primarily used in the open. Getting ready for all the trials we are about to throw at it, we do hope the passers-by will neither mind our music preference, nor tick us off if when we get the MS500 going at full blast.
The manufacturer seems to have opted for a simplified design. The MS500 is made of plastic and comes in two colors schemes – black-orange and white-pink. Unfortunately, the plastic itself is not of stunningly high-grade, since we managed to get it a bit damaged right away on opening it in the way suggested in the manual. The slightly flattened, oval shape of the MS500 makes it really comfy to hold in your hand, but it also comes with a hand strap, so you can have it dangling if you hang it onto your wrist or rucksack (it seems that´s what the manufacturer considers as typical usage scenario for the MS500, although we don´t really consider it much too comfy). The Sony Ericsson is splash resistant, which makes for a really neat feature if you get caught unprepared by spring drizzle, but don’t think the gadget will come through torrential rain episode with flying colors.
The MS500 sports just one button, power on and you need to hold it pressed for a few seconds so as to activate the pairing mode. It´s this simple. The Sony Ericsson MS500 plays music flawlessly, provided you stay close and within 10 m. radius, which is more than enough for such an accessory. We need to say we didn’t encounter any issues relating to its range during our tests. Unfortunately, there is just no way to connect it to a player/handset via normal cable if you device doesn’t support Bluetooth. The MS500 is powered by two AA batteries, which means it´s quite unlikely that you end up without options even when you are away from home.
It´s just too bad we are not impressed by what the gadget is all about, i.e. sound. Of course, it sounds much better alongside of the sharp, metallic roar that most cell phone loudspeakers deliver, but the problem here is called loudness. Or lack of thereof. We played some music through it indoors and even then the sound lacked enough power and things are definitely not coming up roses once you take the MS500 outdoors, because all the clamor and din outside drown it out almost entirely.
We do find the MS500 appealing, at least when it comes to design. The device is ergonomic and its odd shape is likeable. Still, the feeble sound it produces means it´s certainly not your best option for outdoor use. On the bright side, why not use it indoors and kill two birds with a single stone? You can have a loudspeaker that delivers decent audio quality and quit driving your neighbors up the wall with the loud sound of your home audio system. However, the MS500 is as far from being a proper loudspeaker for outdoor use as it gets.