Sony SA-NS510 network speaker
Sony’s battery-powered monolithic speaker is useful, unless you're on Android
- AirPlay for iPhone works well
- Multiple speakers can be linked
- Reasonable omnidirectional sound
- App only streams Music Unlimited and internet radio
- Party Streaming mode is complicated
Sony’s SA-NS510 is a wireless network speaker that aims to make music listening a trouble-free and convenient experience. If you’ve got an iPhone and a strong Wi-Fi network, it works well, but the setup is otherwise seriously limited.
Price$ 429.00 (AUD)
Sony’s SA-NS510 is part of a larger trend in home entertainment. Our first experience with Wi-Fi network-enabled speakers was Sonos’s PLAY:5, but more recently we’ve also tried out Pure, Samsung, Libratone and Pioneer systems.
The Sonos PLAY:5 remains our favourite, and Sonos also our favourite vendor, although Pioneer’s new SMA speakers did wow us recently. Sony is stepping into the ring with three new network speakers — the $229 SA-NS310, the $299 SA-NS410, and $429 SA-NS510.
Sony SA-NS510: Design, features, and setup
The Sony SA-NS510 has an interesting design. We’ve seen it likened to an upturned vase, a traffic cone, and a vertical wind tunnel. We happen to think it looks more like a futuristic trash can.
It’s not constructed in an especially ergonomic shape, but the SA-NS510 does look attractive. It’s got a twisting pattern running from the base to the top, with a grille around the lower quarter to dissipate sound from the speaker’s omnidirectional setup. There are some controls up top — power, input, voloume, and the enigmatic Party mode — and a carry handle with a soft glowing blue-or-white LED.
Down on the speaker’s base, facing outward, there’s a DC power jack, 3.5mm audio input, Ethernet wired network socket, and a couple of buttons for connecting the SA-NS510 to a Wi-Fi network. The speaker is 802.11b/g compliant — oddly, no 802.11n, so you’ll have to have your home network running in multi-standard mode.
On the SA-NS510’s actual base, hidden until you pick the speaker up and turn it over, are two switches. One is a physical hard-on/hard-off power switch, and the other alters the standby mode from a low-power sleep to a high-power one, where the SA-NS510 can be roused over Wi-Fi.
The SA-NS510 has a lithium-ion battery hidden inside its shell, good for up to 5 hours of playback time according to Sony.
Sony SA-NS510: Performance and sound quality
You can use the Sony SA-NS510 with iOS and Android mobile devices using Sony’s Network Audio Remote app, via AirPlay on iOS, or via a network-connected PC or Mac. Here’s the rub — buying a Sony network speaker only really makes sense if you’ve got an iPhone, if you’ve got lots of music already stored on your phone, or if you’ve got free access to Sony’s Music Unlimited service. Android streaming music users are left somewhat in the lurch.
Sony’s Network Audio Remote app lets you play music that’s stored in your phone or tablet’s library, through any AirPlay-enabled app on iOS or Mac, or through DLNA off a PC. AirPlay works just as you’d expect, and Apple’s implementation means you can stream any audio through an app that has AirPlay support included.
On an Android smartphone, there’s no option to play music except through Sony’s app, and the problem is that beyond already-saved music, you’re only able to stream Sony’s Music Unlimited service, or vTuner internet radio. You can’t access Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, or any other music-streaming service. If you’ve got any music streaming subscription other than one to Music Unlimited, you’re out of luck.
There’s no Wi-Fi Direct option with the SA-NS510, either. Being battery powered is great — you can move it around your house as you like — but you’ll have to stay within range of your Wi-Fi router to be able to use it properly. Beyond that point, it’s just a big, battery-powered speaker you’ll have to connect to your phone or tablet with an audio cable.
When it actually gets down to listening to music, the Sony SA-NS510 does a perfectly acceptable job. It’s got reasonably strong mid-bass for a speaker of its size and weight, although treble is quite restrained. It can sound a little muddy and indistinct in the mid-range with some streaming tracks, though.
A very high maximum volume with little noticeable distortion, as well as reasonable-sounding audio from any angle — courtesy of the omnidirectional speaker design — means it’s probably best put to use in the middle of an outdoor party or spread-out picnic.
The SA-NS510’s Party Streaming mode is nice, in theory. You can join all your Sony streaming music devices — recent Blu-ray players, home theatre systems, micro hi-fi, A/V receiver and network speakers — into a single unified speaker system, playing music from a single source.
We tried out Party Streaming with a SA-NS510 and a SA-NS410, and found that it was more complicated to setup than an equivalent multi-channel speaker system from Libratone, Sonos or Pioneer. Once it’s all set up, music played out of both speakers with no lag — although there’s no option to set speakers up as individual stereo channels in the way that Sonos allows. It’s certainly possible, just not particularly easy.
Sony SA-NS510: Conclusion
Sony’s top wireless network speaker is an interesting concept. A battery-powered, Wi-Fi-enabled speaker that can stream music from all your devices sounds great, and in the Libratone Live and Pioneer XW-SMA3 it really works well.
Sony’s implementation in this network speaker is not so refined, though, and while the SA-NS510 does a reasonable job of being a speaker, the network part of the equation still needs some work.
Join the newsletter!
cloudandco Smart Cane
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Apple iPhone X
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Toys for Boys
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Foxtel Now's new streaming device launched weeks after TelstraTV
- Logitech announce new MX Sound speakers
- Telstra looks to solve 'Entertainment Exasperation' with new 4K Telstra TV
- Sonos reveals Sonos One, an Alexa-enabled speaker that will support AirPlay 2 and Google Assistant
- Bose Introduces Tiny New Bluetooth Speaker
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- Dell Inspiron 5675 Gaming Desktop review
- Hands On: Our first impressions of Sony's a7R III
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCWeb Applications Project ManagerVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystNSW
- TPEL1 Business AnalystACT
- FTSenior Business Analyst - WealthOther
- FTSenior Solution ArchitectOther
- CCScrum Master - BrisbaneNSW
- FTTest AnalystOther
- CCIntegration SpecialistNSW
- FTPrincipal Architect/ConsultantOther
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CC.Net DeveloperWA
- CC.net developerNSW
- CCSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCPega Resources Required - Developers & ArchitectsACT
- CC.net DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Project CoordinatorOther
- FTJunior Infrastructure EngineerACT
- CCDesktop Support TechnicianOther
- CCCitrix Solution Designer? NetScaler | XenAppQLD
- TPSenior Business Analyst - GISQLD
- FTBusiness Analyst - TableauOther
- FTPayroll officerOther
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Business Case - Risk & Compliance - ContractNSW
- FTSenior Solution ArchitectVIC