The Sony HT-AX7 speaker system looks like no other. In fact, when I first set my eyes on it I thought it looked like a concept design that was still in development.
It’s not really a soundbar, although it does create a range of dynamic sounds on the screen, and it’s not like the best Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever seen. Regardless of what you think of its features, the HT-AX7 is an outstanding speaker system that certainly produces sound that stands out from its unconventional form.
I was lucky enough to hear the Sony HT-AX7 in action, both indoors and outdoors, during a short demo at the Sony Europe press event held in London.
Although I have yet to experience the HT-AX7 at home and conduct a full review, here are my first impressions based on my first experience with the company’s newest Bluetooth speaker system.
What is Sony HT-AX7?
The latest addition to Sony’s Bluetooth speaker line, the HT-AX7 works in the same way as pairing one of the best wireless headphones or the best Bluetooth speaker with a gaming device like the best laptop, the best tablet or the best phone.
Rather than being dubbed the “Magic Bucket” by some, Sony’s HT-AX7 takes a decidedly different approach in the features department with its latest Bluetooth speaker system. It has a central head unit with controls, plus two detachable speakers on top that can be placed close together to create room-filling sound.
A central control unit and docking station for detachable speakers will play stereo audio from your connected devices and send surround sound to nearby remote speakers. It’s not surround sound, but a sophisticated Sony algorithm mixes Bluetooth stereo audio to create a surround sound-like experience and creates a full room positioning effect with the HT-AX7’s speakers.
Sony HT-AX7 Mobile: Price and Availability
The Sony HT-AX7 is priced at $499 / £499 / (around AU$750 based on exchange rates at the time of writing). It is expected to go on sale in August, but at the time of writing Sony has not officially indicated the date of sale. It is available in light gray as pictured.
Sony HT-AX7 hands-on: design
The Sony HT-AX7 didn’t look like I expected when I was first introduced to the company’s new portable theater system. And in terms of first impressions, I doubt that the relatively compact and lightweight design will achieve the 360-degree sound that Sony claims. Looks can be deceiving, right?
The main tablet-shaped body of the HT-AX7 is more solid than it looks, and looks good too. together. Durability feels good, even after some experience listening to it outside, there is no mention that it is water resistant.
Although Sony has not yet released a full list of specifications at the time of writing, the HT-AX7 feels solid. Two of them can be removed, placed anywhere the speakers are strong enough to withstand wear and tear as owners move them around the house.
HT-AX7 comes in light gray color. Sony says the speaker’s neutral coloring covers fabric materials made from 100% recycled PET glass and includes recycled plastic.
Sony HT-AX7 mobile: sound quality
The Sony HT-AX7 is a Bluetooth speaker that only uses stereo audio. There’s no support for Sony 360 Reality Audio or Dolby Atmos content, but Sony says its 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology creates multiple phantom speakers in the front, back and overhead. And from what I heard during the two main previews with very long excerpts of movie content, music and sports, it is very effective.
The first demonstration took place on the balcony of a series of smart London hotels with the street below us filled with heavy traffic. Sitting on a couch in the sun-drenched outdoor deck, the detachable speakers were placed about 3 feet away from my shoulder, as I sat listening to a recording of a Coldplay gig.
As expertly explained by the Sony representative conducting the demo, I was enveloped in sound coming from the front and speakers to my side. As the show unfolded, I could clearly hear the roar of the crowd from the live event to my left, right, and behind me, putting me in the center of the show despite the noise from London’s busiest streets below me. Even though the sound is only stereo, I get the feeling of listening in surround sound.
Moving inside, the range of sounds the HT-AX7 conjured up is impressive. It has an uncanny knack for layering effects from No Time To Die with convincing accuracy and hardly any perceptible latency, even though the HT-AX7 must mix all of the stereo audio signals to create immersive processing.
Just to emphasize the intensity of the low flexibility of Sony, the short expert of the tennis tournament has expertly shown the sound of the ball hitting the racket at the same time as it appears on the preview screen of the tablet.
Without an image on the screen to distract, the music demo is less impressive. Although it managed to fill a large hotel suite with sound, I’d say Sony’s HT-AX7 is more suited to audio content when viewing the screen rather than as a music speaker setup.
Sony HT-AX7 Mobile: Outlook
Despite its strange design, the HT-AX7 turned out to be a more impressive experience than I originally thought. Although demos are most effective with the main speaker placed on a coffee table about 3 feet in front of me while looking at my tablet screen, this may feel like an awkward arrangement if you’re the type of person who likes to watch TV. on the mobile screen while sitting in bed.
Based on my brief experience with it, though, I can see a use for the HT-AX7 with the portable projector system I’ve been trying out for my outdoor movie nights, as well as a powerful way to amplify sound from other portable display devices. House while sitting on the sofa.
Although it feels more successful when watching content on a screen rather than listening to music, I will be able to go into more detail about that when I try it out in my own environment. Look out for my full Sony HT-AX7 review coming soon.
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