The great outdoors! 22 A

t long last, small groups of friends and family are allowed to mix again – with further relaxation of restrictions possibly coming in next month. So the desire for outdoor

socialising and relaxing looks set to continue, as the Great British public also scramble to secure a staycation holiday this summer, too. This means more opportunities for people to

include a larger portable speaker in their holiday luggage, as well as to take speakers into their gardens to accompany their outdoor gatherings. And there are a plethora of options. Sony’s newly-announced X-Series wireless

speaker range could be the perfect portable music option for those family barbecues and friendly get-togethers. With its IP66 rating, the SRS-XG500 is fully water

resistant and dustproof, letting consumers enjoy a powerful party sound just about anywhere. The SRS-XP500 and SRS-XP700 XP700 also have an IPX4 water resistant rating, so users can keep going even if the weather is a little unpredictable. “All three speakers feature Battery Care Mode,

a clever little trick to stop the speaker reaching 100 per cent charge to increase the lifespan of their long-lasting battery,” explains Lucy Gaby, Video and Sound Product Communications Manager, Sony UK and Ireland. “They also

feature quick charging, so users don’t have to wait ages before heading out.” And their variety of ambient lighting patterns

and karaoke features are sure to bring any garden party to life! Elsewhere, Sonos has its new Move waterproof

and drop-resistant outdoor speaker; it can be controlled with your voice, via the Sonos app or Apple AirPlay 2. Or if you’re looking for a multifunctional piece

of kit, there’s the JBL PartyBox 100, with its lightshow features and 160 Watts of pounding JBL signature sound. Still fully portable, the PartyBox 100 also has

microphone and guitar inputs and it can be mounted on a speaker pole for a wider, room-filling sound. You can pop in a playlist from your USB stick or stream from a Bluetooth-compatible device, and you can do this for up to 12 hours on the battery, but mains power will also allow for continued use. From Harman Kardon, the Citation 200 is the

latest addition to the Citation Series, bringing full portability to its family of smart, multi-room wireless speakers. Stream music in HD quality using Wi-Fi or create the perfect garden atmosphere through Bluetooth streaming when Wi-Fi is not available. “We’ve equipped it with plenty of power too,”

says Scott Campbell, Director of Sales, Harman Luxury Audio, Global, “so that it fills even bigger

People are beginning to be let free (sort of). But how can they liven up their garden gatherings and picnic parties to make the most of the summer sun… when it arrives?

spaces with music; and the rechargeable battery is good for up to eight hours. “When it comes to outdoor performance,

music play time from the battery is important, as is the actual weight and design of the product, but music performance must always take top billing – which is why we pair the Citation 200’s muscular amplification with a highly capable 25mm tweeter and 120mm woofer combo.” When asked if Harman has any new products in

the pipeline, Mr Campbell teases: “Not that we can take the covers off just yet!” So watch this space.

Out and about

We have all been enjoying the great outdoors in the past year it seems, with walking, hiking and exploring in our local areas at times one of the only allowed forms of exercise. Now with the longer days and gradually relaxing rules on social meetings, outdoor activities will be popular in the months ahead. Just launched in time for Summer excursions

is Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Explore. As the name suggests, it’s a tough and robust speaker yet developed to be lightweight, waterproof (IP67 Dust and Waterproof rated) and with impressive playtime. Beosound Explore is one of the first speakers

on the market to feature Type 2 anodised aluminium for improved scratch resistance, so it’s durable, but also practical, coming with an integrated strap for hanging and an aluminium carabiner for rucksack attachment. “We created Beosound Explore to be our

toughest speaker that can withstand the outdoor elements,” confirms Christoffer Poulsen, B&O’s SVP of Product Management. “The exceptional sound quality for its size makes it the perfect companion for any adventure.”

L-R: Sony's XG500, the XP700, JBL's PartyBox 100, and Beosound Explore

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