When it comes to smart, portable home speakers there's one name in town that I'm sure you'll agree is often touted as the most prominent: Sonos. But that's not to say other brands can't make a big impression. Indeed, Harman Kardon has announced a new portable home speaker that's, well, 'out of this world', but on show at the all-too-down-to-earth confines of IFA 2022.
Not literally, mind, as you'll only be able to buy one on planet Earth. Just that as your own eyes will surely tell you, the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 looks more than a little reminiscent of the planet Saturn, albeit in speaker form. I'm sure it'll make very different sounds too, but then I'm no astronomer.
It looks as though Harman Kardon hopes to run rings around the likes of Sonos' Move in the portable home speaker market by introducing the Onyx Studio 8 into a lower price bracket, with a starting price of £249 in the UK undercutting the Move's nearer-to-£400 asking price.
I think it's a savvy shot, too, as Harman Kardon's established acoustic engineering skill is not to be overlooked. The company launched the Citation Move 200 a couple of years back, which I thought sounded superb, and clearly the company is looking for additional ways to chip away at Sonos' market dominance.
The Onyx Studio 8's ring structure is actually described as an "anodised aluminium handle", which makes me wonder if it'll deliver the sort of quality that's typical of, say, a Bang & Olufsen product. The speaker itself is covered in fabric, which is available in black, blue or 'champagne' finishes.
Beneath that fabric is housed a single 120mm woofer and two 20mm tweeters to pair together top-end sparkle and lower-end thump for balanced audio performance. Harman Kardon says it'll last for up to 8 hours on a charge, too, which pales against Sonos Move's 11 hours per charge really, but then the Harman Kardon product is the smaller option.
I'm yet to see the Onyx Studio 8 in person, but hope to catch a glimpse at the IFA tech show in Berlin, which I'll be attending, to get my eyes and ears wrapped around this new home speaker. It'll be available to buy from October, which is just around the corner (not the 746 million miles that Saturn is from Earth, phew).