Some months ago, ATARI began making the "Speakerhat". The speakerhat is exactly what it sounds like. A speaker, in a hat. I'm not taking about a giant boom box sized speaker where the logo sits. The speakerhat is meant to look like an ordinary hat, with the convenience of having speakers built right into the brim of the hat.
Specs & Features
- Proprietary high-fidelity stereo speakers and microphone
- V 4.1 CSR/Qualcomm® cVc™ audio technology
- 5-band EQ, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
- Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP v1.4) and Headset Profile (HSP v1.2)
- Rechargeable lithium Ion battery
- Universal control button
- LED indicator light
The speakers are not too shabby, but lack one element. A subwoofer. I don't however, believe you could hide a subwoofer well enough for this hat to compete with stand-alone Bluetooth speakers, but that's not what Atari and AudioWear are trying to do. Why compete in that market when your product already creates a new category of its own. With how well the hat looks and feels, there is no way this hat was made to fit the tech. The tech was definitely created to fit the hat.
The Qualcomm audio tech allows the speakers to have minimal latency and issues. I have noticed that the audio range is not great. There were times when the hat was connected and playing music perfectly, but as soon as I put my Galaxy S8+ in my right pocket, the audio began to lose connection. The left pocket had much less issues. This tells me that the reception doesn't pass though the body very well, as the hats connection is on the left side of the hat.
The Universal control button is essentially one button that controls everything. On, off, answer call, hang up call, play and pause. Definitely the more preferred option as too many buttons would make it feel more like a brain cap than a speakerhat. The button hat a good click to it. That's important because it gives you the confidence that a song will pause or a call has ended. The rechargeable lithium ion battery goes for a LONG time. I've clocked over 20+ hours. This is most likely because there is no subwoofer.
There is also a "Multiplayer Mode". I didn't get to test it, but essentially you'll be able to sync speakerhats to each other. Not sure when you'd do that, but it would make for a great commercial. Just imagine the Nintendo Switch debut trailer, but with speakerhats.
Build & Aesthetics
The quality of the hat is top knotch! They must have known my head size, because the moment I put it on, it felt like I had owned the had for months. It's an oddly satisfying feeling. The material is tough and thick. The speakers are hidden very well under the brim. So well, that no one notices them unless I point them out. The stitching of the Atari logo on the front is accompanied with the company name written in katakana. On the back, you'll find the Blade Runner 2049 branding.
Placing the universal control button on the back left side keeps it well hidden. The button itself is rubber. It sits right next to the LED indicator light. The controls and battery connect to the speakers with wiring throughout the hat. I want to stress one main fact. I feel absolutely no compromises in wearing the hat.
What Could Be Better
I'd like to see some kind of additional effort in getting deeper tons. I know it's a task to add a subwoofer and hide it well, but I'm sure they can find some space in the unused brim space. Bluetooth 5.0 would future proof the hat and increase the signal strength. Being able to connect and put the phone in any pocket would add another layer of covertness.
I know having just one button for everything is optimal, but I would have liked to have had some volume buttons or a rocker. Pulling out my phone to adjust volume seems like a first world problem, but it happens all too often.
I am a collector and love this hat. If you are an average joe, the price will definitely deter you. There are some Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals going on. You can save $30. They are currently $99 to purchase during those times. Is it a premium product? Yes. Would I use it often? Yes. Would I pay full price for it? Probably not. All in all, the speakerhat will be a coveted piece of tech.
What do you think? Would you use the speakers often? Do you think it would be annoying to use in public? Is $139.99 a good price?