Sound Cylinder Is A Portable Speaker With A Very Neat Trick [Review]

Sound Cylinder sits atop your Macbook's screen... like a boss.

Sound Cylinder sits atop your Macbook’s screen… like a boss.

Rechargeable, portable, and built to live on or under your Mac or iDevice, the Sound Cylinder (SC) speaker is a first from audio maker Definitive Technology (DT), who usually focuses their acoustic talents on high-end home theater equipment.

Sound Cylinder by Definitive Technology
Category: Wireless Speakers
Works With: iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac, or anything with Bluetooth
Price: $200

But can Definitive Technology, with its years of experience engineering coveted boutique audio, create a portable speaker that usurps the top spot of the much-loved and most-excellent sounding Jawbone Jambox?

What It Does

At its core, the Sound Cylinder is a portable Bluetooth speaker that works with all modern Apple devices, including your iOS devices and Macs. It’ll also work with any device that uses Bluetooth.

But unlike other speakers out there, to save desk space and put your ears right in front of that sweet sweet sound, the SC can be quickly mounted atop your Macbook’s screen, and it won’t even block your FaceTime Camera. This trick is especially handy when you’re watching movies on your Macbook, and if you travel a lot, you’re going to love it.

Base station mode activated.

Base station mode activated.

Off screen, with its hidden foot extended, Sound Cylinder acts as a stand for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod. This clever design is a great space-saving feature on cluttered desks, and if you’re a road warrior, it’ll make using your iPhone as a clock in hotel rooms quite handy.

Sound Cylinder is also rechargeable, and can be powered up via micro USB by your Mac or the included adapter. Definitive Technology claims 10 hours of battery life per charge, and I found that to be about what I experienced.

In Use

Remember those 007-looking iSite cameras Apple used to sell? Those beautiful, looks-like-a-Braun-shaver-from-the-40s matte aluminum beauties that sat like on your iMac’s shoulder like a hawk? Definitive Technology definitely does, and they did a fine job infusing the spirit of those aesthetics into Sound Cylinder, which, with its hole-punched aluminum body, looks like it was designed by Sir Jony Ive himself.

"Hey everybody, come see how good I look."

“Hey everybody, come see how good I look.”

The SC’s innovative top-mounted or base-stand design also sets it apart from other speakers I’ve tested. My desk can often run out of room quickly, so I loved being able to mount the SC to my Macbook’s screen, or use it as a base for my iPhone. People who saw the svelte aluminum cylinder perched above my Mac also commented how cool a feature that was, and that made me feel good because they were basically admitting I was cooler than them and they envied my life.

When in the base orientation, though, I do wish the SC’s retractable foot extended farther back. As is, an iPad or iPhone mounted in place could be easily flipped forward because the SC doesn’t allow them to lean back quite far enough. If the SC’s foot allowed a few more degrees of backward lean, I wouldn’t be as worried my iPad or iPhone might accidentally flop forward.

Exhibit A: could use more gangstar lean.

Exhibit A: could use more gangstar lean.

But on to the heart of the matter, for the big question is, does the Sound Cylinder oust the Jambox as the best sounding portable Bluetooth speaker on the market? Well… no, at least not to my ears. It does sound very good, no doubt, but the Jambox serves up magical unicorn sound, and the Sound Cylinder’s acoustics, is more like a Clydesdale; a beautiful creature no doubt, but its status isn’t quite a mythical.

official-sound-cylinder
Product Name: : Sound Cylinder
The Good: Very good sound in an attractive and portable form-factor.
The Bad: Jawbone’s Jambox sounds better and is less expensive.
The Verdict If you’re a traveler or often find you need a portable speaker for your Mac or iOS device, Sound Cylinder is among your best options.
Buy from: Definitive Technology

Cult of Mac rating: Good

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Erfon ElijahErfon Elijah is the producer and host of The CultCast. When not editing podcasts or watching Mrs. Doubtfire, you’ll find him on Xbox Live hunting Black Ops II foes like the Predator. Here are his tweets...

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