How we love Sony for the pretty products that land in our laps. Once more, we fell in love with another member of its lineup - the Sony Rolly Portable Entertainment Player, which literally danced gleefully in our labs during its stay here.
When we finally unpacked and released the Rolly from its confines within the box, we were surprised at its petite nature. Despite being able to grip the whole Rolly within a hand, it actually felt rather hefty at 300g. Molded into the shape of an egg, the Rolly comes with two movable parts at its sides. Think of them as wings/arms, and you'll find yourself enthralled by its funky moves later on.
The Rolly also comes with an accelerometer, which makes perfect sense when you're adjusting its volume or skipping tracks. This works in tandem with the two rollers on its sides, which acts as the Volume or Forward/Back function.
Place the Rolly vertically, and you can skip or backtrack to the next song by scrolling the roller. Place it horizontally, and the rollers will become its volume control. Incidentally, you can also leave the Rolly standing vertically (thus leaving one of its wings closed) or just lay it horizontally and open up both wings to reveal the tiny but powerful speakers. To appeal to the crowd, the Rolly can also put up a light show that is synchronized with the movable wings to put up one heck of a dance.
Before we move onto the flashier stuff, let's talk about the Rolly's audio delivery. Like we said, the 20mm (diameter) speakers might not look like much, but judge it not by its size. Even at high volumes, the speakers handled itself well and we didn't detect any signs of cracking. While you won't get the bass levels found on its bigger cousins, the Rolly showed itself to be more than adequate in terms of clarity and volume.
Sadly, you won't find a 3.5mm audio jack on the Rolly, but in its place, we get the Bluetooth A2DP streaming profile. Switching the Power button to the Bluetooth mode, we paired it up to a mobile phone and managed to get the Rolly's speakers blaring the streamed music. In terms of audio quality, the streamed music sounded average, but there were moments when we detected the stream being dropped, but it was picked up pretty quickly. In the Bluetooth streaming mode, the Rolly will act like a static speaker, with no fancy moves to wow you over.
This leads us to what we believe is the Rolly's true entertainment value; the choreography. With the help of the bundled Rolly Choreographer software, we paired the Rolly to a PC via its USB (and charging) port. Whilst you can create your own choreography and make its wings and lights dance to your whims, we found it easier to just download some user-generated choreography files off the Sony Rolly website.
Once we got the Rolly dancing, we got the attention of not only the ladies (who were absolutely gushing about how cute it looked), but even the men who just stared non-stop and gleefully listened to more of its songs just for the moves.
The Sony Rolly is what we would like to call, a rare jewel. We felt that it has a high entertainment value and will definitely be a desirable product. And like a rare jewel, the Rolly is also priced pretty steep at S$599, in direct proportion to its entertainment value. We'll be honest about it: if you don't have the extra cash to splurge, the Rolly is something you'll admire and love to own, but won't be spending on anytime soon.