Wearable music for users who don’t like to wear headphones.
I’m someone who likes to listen to music as I work. I almost always have some sort of headphones close at hand and my collection of headphones is nothing short of incredible. I’ve also got an impressive pile of Bluetooth speakers. What can I say? I like to have music with me wherever I go. That said, I’ve never tried wearable speakers before. I’ve actually always thought they were a little bit of a strange device given that other people can hear them and I typically think that part of the reason people use headphones is for privacy and respect of others around you who may not want to hear your music. Wearable speakers sort of go against that. However, I do love CLEER Audio products and decided to give their Halo Smart Wearable Neck Speaker a try.
The Halo Wearable Neck Speaker is described as ‘powerful and personal audio enjoyment’ by CLEER. It’s meant to provide audio listening enjoyment without blocking your ears. The audio experience is optimized with customized acoustics for music, movies, and gaming. The device is foldable and has an ergonomic fit design to maximize comfort while wearing it around your neck. The speaker provides up to 12 hours of audio playback on a single charge and includes a USB charging cable and quick start guide in its retail packaging. The speaker is designed to ‘fire’ upward to minimize the disruption of those around the user.
- Google Assistant integrated into speaker
- Bluetooth 4.2
- AAC, aptX low-latency compatible
- Features Beamforming technology
- Includes enhanced Stereo Sound (ES Sound)
As I stated above, I’ve always thought the concept of wearable speakers is kind of odd. It was suggested to me that some people might enjoy using a wearable speaker like the Halo while working out instead of using headphones. While I would understand that as one possible use, the Halo speaker doesn’t really seem to lend itself to that type of use. First of all, they are a little on the heavy side for physical activities. They lay nicely around the neck and the weight is good for keeping them in the optimal place for listening pleasure, but if I were to jog or even power walk while sporting the Halo, I think it would move around too much. It really seems as though the speaker works best if the wearer’s neck, shoulders, and head stay somewhat stationary — no bending down/over and no quick movements.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised about how wonderful the Halo’s sounded and how comfortable they were to wear. Set-up is very easy. Once the Halo is connected to your phone (or other Bluetooth device), you just listen. There is no extended set-up required. There are on-speaker control buttons which includes the Google Assistant button. Users can utilize Google Assistant even on an iOS phone by downloading the Google Assistant app. In order to use the Google Assistant, the speaker does have to be connected to an internet-connected device. I do appreciate that there are simple buttons (play/pause, volume up/down) on one speaker and the advanced control (power, Google Assistant, and ES Sound) on the other.
When I first put the speaker on, I was watching a movie (Home Alone) that was largely dependent on dialogue. Anyone familiar with that movie knows that there is a wonderful score to it, but most of the movie involves characters talking back and forth. This is one place where I felt like the speaker fell flat. Even with ES Sound turned on, I thought the mix of the movie was lacking. I would have to turn the audio up to hear the talking and then the music would be too loud. When I listened to music, it was great and I have no complaints about the sound quality the Halo produced.
As far as whether or not those around you can hear the speaker, I left some music playing and took the speaker off my neck. I held it about an arm’s length away from me and could still hear the music playing. It was a little muffled, but I could hear it as if it were being played from a set of Bluetooth speakers with the volume turned down.
The Halo Smart Wearable Neck Speaker is an interesting device and for the right user, it’s probably amazing. For me, I’ll likely stick with traditional headphones for my listening entertainment.