So if it's a bit iffy on the looks and build department, doesn't have a remote and isn't portable, what does the Sony SRS-BTV25 speaker do well? Simple, it sounds great.
That peculiar design is at least in part for a reason; housed in the large bottom part of the sphere is a relatively large 56mm (2.2in) driver while above this in the overhanging top section is a 20mm tweeter, and sitting between is an odd spinning top shaped plastic section. This plastic section that is used to merge and deflect outwards – in all directions – the sound this little device produces. And the combined effect is impressive.
First and foremost is the surprising amount of power it can produce, with it easily filling a modest sized room. Okay, so you're not going to shake windows with its 13W output but it's perfect for background music for piping your favourite podcast throughout the kitchen while you do the washing up.
What makes it all the more suited to background listening is that 360-degree design. Place this speaker anywhere and no matter what direction it's facing, everyone can get a good listen. Clearly this eliminates any sense of stereo so you don't feel placed within the music – it's clearly coming from 'over there' – but equally it means you don't need to be in the sweet spot to get the best from it.
There's a surprising amount of bass oomph too. When compared to the aforementioned Pasce Minirig, the Sony clearly shows the limitations of portable speakers' size and battery power, supplying a genuine thump to kick drums and rumble to bass lines. What's more this doesn't come at the expense of clarity, the second driver filling out details nicely to provide an overall sound that's detailed yet full.
However, while impressive considering its size we still can't escape the feeling that Sony either needed to make this device bigger, more powerful and more elegant or make it battery powered and portable. After all, if all you're looking for is a device that'll suffice for a few background tunes, a large number of portable speakers deliver - the new Nokia Play 360 a prime example.
The Sony SRS-BTV25 is a great-sounding Bluetooth speaker with a cute spherical design. However, while certainly a bit better sonically than most portable speakers, it isn't enough to justify either the inconvenience of needing a plug socket or its high price. It's not bad value per se, considering its audio quality, but we suggest most people would be happier with either an almost as good sounding battery powered unit or a bulkier, more powerful mains system.