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Sony SA-NS500 Portable HomeShare Speaker: wireless AirPlay with a five-hour battery

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The Jawbone Jambox may have plenty of power per pint, but if you're hosting a lively party you'll want something with a bit more boom -- something like Sony's SA-NS500 Portable HomeShare Speaker, a black vortex filled with four drivers, a subwoofer, and a built-in 5-6 hour battery for 360 degrees of completely portable sound. After I commented on the lackluster audio quality of Sony's visually stunning Wearable HDTV, company reps grinned and pulled out this AirPlay-compatible system and a Sony Tablet S, and proceeded to throw songs straight from the company's homebuilt DLNA Android app to the all-in-one speaker system. Impressions below.

To my surprise, the audio that came out was pleasing, full and loud... and when they lifted up the 9.5-pound prototype by its carrying handle and set it down in an alcove, corner-loading the rig, the bass leapt without significantly distorting the overall soundscape. For $399 this October, the multi-room wireless HomeShare and AirPlay device will be going head-to-head with the popular Sonos Play:5 -- and without spending more time with the Android and iPad controller apps, we can't say if it's wholly up to the task -- but if the final devices sound as good or better than this prototype did and those battery life estimates are on the money, they've definitely got a chance.