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Panasonic cuts the wires from its SoundSlayer neck speaker for gamers

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The Panasonic SoundSlayer (GNW10). | Image: Panasonic

Companies keep trying to make neck speakers a thing. People must be buying them, though, because Panasonic is releasing a new one: the GNW10 SoundSlayer, a wireless neck speaker with AI voice isolation (which it confusingly calls “AI voice control”) for phone calls and in-game voice chat. The SoundSlayer is $299 and will be available in late October of this year.

This is essentially an updated version of the wired SoundSlayer neck speaker that Panasonic released two years ago. The biggest change is that the new SoundSlayer employs a small transmitter that plugs into your console or PC and sends audio with a proprietary 2.4GHz wireless protocol that Panasonic says is good for under 20ms of latency. That’s less than you’d typically see with Bluetooth audio, which can be delayed by hundreds of milliseconds, so the sound should be more immediate. That can be crucial in, say, a first-person shooter.

The other headline feature is what Panasonic is calling “AI voice control” (a confusing name for its beamforming noise-cancellation abilities since you can’t actually control the speaker with your voice). The wired SoundSlayer also has noise cancellation, but Panasonic claims that the new product will leverage AI to better cut out background noise and echo during calls. Whether it actually does a better job will remain to be seen until it makes its way to the public.

The new SoundSlayer also has a 60 percent larger housing than its predecessor did, which the company says will improve bass.

Like its predecessor, this SoundSlayer model has four speakers and six sound modes for different scenarios, including three distinct game modes for RPGs, first-person shooters, and dialogue-heavy titles.

Panasonic says it “identified points of fatigue and discomfort” commonly shared by neck-worn devices and designed the SoundSlayer not to “burden” your trapezius muscles — the muscles that run from your neck across your shoulders and down to a point in the middle of your back — or dig into your clavicle bones.

Similar wireless neck speakers include the discontinued Bose SoundWear Companion — which The Verge’s review called fun if often impractical — and Sony’s Bravia XR-focused neck speaker.

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