You've heard of over-ear headphones, now get ready for around-neck speakers

Imagine if you had a pair of headphones, but instead of putting them on, in, or over your ears so that only you can hear the music, you instead draped them round your neck and had them play music from there. 

Well imagine no more because Bose's new wearable speaker does exactly that. Called the SoundWear Companion Wearable Speaker, it essentially works the same as a pair of Bluetooth headphones, just without the private listening element. 

Bose isn't the first person to investigate this form-factor. JBL showed off a similar product at IFA called the JBL Soundgear.

So what's it for?

Although headphones are great at playing music just for you, they're also designed to block out the outside world in the process. 

Headphones like the Sony MDR-1000X have experimented with using their external microphones to mix in the sound of the outside world, but this tends to amplify ambient noise and isn't a great listening experience over longer periods.

In theory then, a speaker like the Bose SoundWear Companion should allow the sound of the outside world to mix naturally with the sound of your music as though you were listening to a set of speakers inside your home. 

We wouldn't want to use a speaker like this while out and about, but potentially this could be a good way of listening to music throughout your home while also keeping an ear out for any important ambient sounds like doorbells or children.

The Bose SoundWear Companion has been priced at $299.95 (around £220 / AU$375). 

  • For some more traditional recommendations, our guide to the best headphones is here to help. 
Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.