Sony SA-NS300 Review

For convenience, the small size of the NS300 is a real bonus. It’ll fit just about anywhere and fill medium-sized spaces with music
For convenience, the small size of the NS300 is a real bonus. It’ll fit just about anywhere and fill medium-sized spaces with music
For convenience, the small size of the NS300 is a real bonus. It’ll fit just about anywhere and fill medium-sized spaces with music

Highs

  • Small footprint
  • Decent wireless range in low traffic areas
  • ⅛ mini jack input

Lows

  • Little bass
  • No battery operation
  • Quirky media file compatibility

Check out our overview of the Sony HomeShare system for more information, and links to reviews of other HomeShare components.

The SA-NS300 is the smallest of three wireless network speakers Sony offers. The considerably larger SA-NS400 runs an additional $100 and seems designed for higher performance audio. Something in our gut, however, tells us that the NS400 may get pushed aside in favor of the anticipated SA-NS500, which brings in Apple Airplay compatibility and a much more modern design.

Design

The NS300 looks like a black road cone with its head chopped off toward the top. The top third of the speaker is covered with black cloth, the rest is shiny black plastic. On the “front” of the speaker is the PartyStreaming button. On the back we found a LAN port, a ⅛-inch audio input jack, volume control, WPS switch and power switch. We appreciate the inclusion of the analog input jack, which allows the speaker to be used without a wireless music server, if desired. Though, we should note that it would make for a pretty expensive iPod speaker at $199.

Sony-SA-NS300-speaker-black-rear

Performance

To set up the NS300, you must connect it via the provided LAN cable to a wireless router or access point. The rest of the process involves a setup wizard on a provided CD-ROM. Just let your network connected computer find the S300 and turn it on. That’s it. We now have a wireless network speaker.

The speaker will be recognized by Window Media Player 11 or 12 as a “play to” option. As such, any computer on the network running Windows XP, Vista or 7 can play any accessible WMA (except pro. voice), AAC, LPCM, WAV or MP3 files directly to the NS300. At least that’s the theory, anyway. We had a little trouble with some of our files and never did get to the bottom of the issue. We suspect it may have had something to do with a bitrate limitation, but none of Sony’s documentation indicates any bitrate limits for any of the supported file types. We simply got a message from Windows Media Player indicating that media information could not be obtained. Odd.

Sony-SA-NS300-speaker-black-front-controller

The NS300 is intended to be that little speaker you can place just about anywhere. Put it on a desk, on a dresser, in the bathroom, or out on the deck. Its 5 5/8 x 5 /5/8 x 4 ⅞-inch measurements keep it from being a space hog, but those diminutive dimensions also make for less robust sound. We don’t think much could be done to make it sound bigger… its just physics. With that said, we think the little 360-degree speaker sounded just fine for passive listening. It’s not going to be the life of the party, but just fine for spreading music around the house.

Conclusion

For convenience, the small size of the NS300 is a real bonus. It’ll fit just about anywhere (as long as there’s a wall outlet nearby) and fill medium-sized spaces with music. For those who like a little more bass, take a look at either of Sony’s larger network speaker options.

Highs:

  • Small footprint
  • Decent wireless range in low traffic areas
  • ⅛ mini jack input

Lows:

  • Little bass
  • No battery operation
  • Quirky media file compatibility
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Product Review

Sennheiser brings audio perfection to wireless earbuds like no one else can

Sennheiser took its time entering the true wireless earbud market, and the results are what you’d expect from the storied audio brand. The new Momentum offer seamless operation, best-in-class sound, and a high price tag to match.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Movies & TV

Lose the torrents. Here's how to watch 'Game of Thrones' online (legally)

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Get ready to ditch your amplifier: New LG TVs add a powerful way to go wireless

WiSA, a wireless technology designed for high-end home theaters, might finally start seeing more love. LG's top-tier 2019 TVs will be WiSA certified, and that could mean a new wireless future for premium surround sound.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

These top-line smart speakers conduct the most sophisticated symphony: Your life

Stuck talking to yourself? Get an A.I. assistant to keep you company! Whether you put your stock in Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, we've picked out the best smart speaker for any smart home ecosystem.
Deals

Choosing one of these smart TVs under $300 will make you look like a genius

Buying a good cheap smart TV is easier than ever. To help you out, we've sniffed out a half dozen of the best models out there with prices starting at just $130. We've even thrown in a couple 4K smart TVs, with these UHD models still…