Panasonic announces neckband
Panasonic has announced the GNW10, the latest addition to its SoundSlayer gaming audio lineup, which is a wireless ‘wearable immersive gaming speaker system’ (or WIGSS) and the upgraded, wireless successor to the older SC-GN01. The neckband-style speaker rests on the shoulders like a skinny neck-pillow and uses four speakers to deliver immersive audio.
The GNW10 uses an included wireless transmitter to connect via USB to the PC, gaming console or other USB audio enabled source. Being geared for gaming, low latency is obviously critical, so it uses a 2.4GHz band instead of bluetooth to ensure sub-20 ms latency, even when receiving up to 6 channels of audio. Apart from ditching the cable, Panasonic says the GNW10 is an upgrade from the previous GN01 speaker, in that it uses “newly developed 38mm speakers” and a 60% larger acoustic chamber to create more pronounced bass.
The speaker offers three sound modes tailored for different gaming scenarios: RPG Mode “creates a sense of intensity and reality” for heightened sense of immersion, FPS Mode “provides accurate audio location to hear subtle sounds like footsteps”, and Voice mode “enhances human voices”. Two noise-canceling, voice-optimized microphones are located on either side.
On the design front, the speaker is said to be ergonomically shaped to minimize long-term strain or fatigue from wearing it, and has optimally placed buttons for controlling volume, muting and switching sound modes. It also features two LEDs acting as indicators as well as enhancing the visual aspect.
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Neckband style wearable headphones are hardly a novel concept – Bose launched its Soundwear Companion (now discontinued) back in 2017 and Sony launched the first of its own lineup in 2019. Sony’s current wearable speakers are mainly positioned as a “wearable personal theater” or for work-from-home use rather than for gaming.
The Panasonic SoundSlayer GNW10 will be available from December 2023; the launch price is currently not decided.
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