With Sony Ericsson priding itself on being a "music" brand, can its Bluetooth stereo speaker, the MS500, really deliver you your music on the go, or should you just plug a pair of speakers in to the headphone socket? We get listening to find out.
Fitting in the palm of your hand, the large black and orange or chic white and pink MS500 speaker connects to any Bluetooth A2DP enabled mobile phone or device, be it Sony Ericsson or not, and allows you to stream music from one to the other once you've paired the two.
The MS500 speaker is designed for the outdoor environment with a durable splashproof shell and comes with a minimalist approach to design. A speaker on one side, a matching bobbly surface on the other and a power button that sits on the thin orange band that separates the two. There are no volume controls, no operational controls in fact, aside from that power switch and a status light so you have some vague suggestion as to what is going on. We say vague, because in reality it's really only there to give you the nod that it's on or off.
Get past the design, which also comes with a loop and complementary karabiner so you can no doubt dangle it from your backpack as your track your way around Europe, and that's it. The rest is done via your handset.
With that being the case, it comes down to whether your Sony Ericsson, BlackBerry, Samsung, etc, is up to the job on the music front. Pairing as with most Bluetooth devices is done within seconds and the fact that the volume can be controlled via the phone rather than the speaker does make it incredibly easy to manage.
As for performance it's a bit of a disappointment really. The speaker isn't actually up to much on the sound production front and those who like their tunes with a bit of bass will be disappointed. The results were tinny: we tested it with both classical (Handel) and dance (Prodigy's Invaders Must Die).
The MS500 is very tinny, probably because the speaker isn't really that powerful.
Powered by two AA batteries you get roughly 5 hours of music before you'll have to replace them and because they are just regular batteries it's handy if you are travelling as you won't have to find a plug to charge it.
Simple in its offering the MS500 will allow you to play your tunes on those boring camping trips and picnics in the park for all to hear, just don't expect it to really get the party started.
For us while it's easy to use and set-up, we were overall disappointed with the sound that came out. You might have to opt for a wired speaker solution to get the bass and noise, but there are louder, better sounding systems, out there.