Sony ULT Field 1 review: Powerful sound for outdoor fun

Solid sound, highly portable.

Sony ULT Field 1
(Image: © Tshaka Armstrong)

Android Central Verdict

Sony’s ULT POWER SOUND FIELD 1 may make you wonder if a hyper-bass-focused speaker will sound too muddy for outdoor consumption, but that ULT option actually benefits the package. The FIELD 1 even produces a respectable amount of volume at 50 feet. Add to that an IP67 rating, a nice carry handle, a few color options, and a footprint small enough for easy portability, and you have a good choice for your small outdoor adventures, skatepark sessions, and park or beach kickbacks.


  • +

    Very compact

  • +

    Audio clarity is very good

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    ULT tuning works well in open spaces


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    No 3.5mm audio port

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    No USB-C audio support

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    Off-white is not outdoors friendly

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This year, Sony released a new line of hyper-bass-focused audio products under the ULT POWER SOUND moniker. The ULT Field 1 is the smallest of the three ULT POWER SOUND Bluetooth speakers the company offers now, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you! Sometimes, big things come in little packages; you’ll find that the ULT Field 1 is one such “little package.” 

Want something highly mobile but large enough to expand your phone’s sound for a trip to the park or beach? The ULT Field 1 may be just what you're looking for.

Sony ULT Field notes

Sony ULT Field 1

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong)

This eight-inch long or tall (it can be used lying on its side or standing on end) Bluetooth speaker supports Bluetooth 5.3 and a few Bluetooth audio codes like SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs. For a mono speaker setup, the single tweeter and single woofer units produce a satisfying amount of clarity and warm audio with ULT enabled. That’s the backlit button on the top of the speaker, where you’ll also find the other controls. 

The power button and Bluetooth pairing buttons also have status indicator lights; next to those, you have the play/pause/call button and the volume buttons. There’s also a handy carry strap on the unit's top edge, which can expand if necessary. The rear of the device has a rubber plug/cap, which helps it maintain that IP67 rating and keep water and dust out of the USB-C port.

Sony ULT Field 1

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong)

With an IP67 rating, you can easily take Sony's ULT Field 1 to the beach and on other dusty, dirty excursions worry-free. However, I’d recommend buying it in one of the other colors because the off-white will look “well-traveled” pretty quickly. Those other colors are black, forest gray, and orange.

Sony ULT Field 1

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong)
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CategorySony ULT Field 1
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, LDAC support
Dimensions8 inches x 3.03 inches x 2.99 inches
WeightApprox. 650 g
Battery lifeRoughly 12 hours (extended with ULT off)
Phone call/MicrophonesYes. Hands-free support

The speaker supports multipoint connections (two at a time) and can be used as a stereo pair when connected to another ULT Field 1 unit using Sony’s Music Center app. And speaking of that app, it's actually pretty basic here. Its most important features will be the ability to control the sound and make a stereo pair if you have two units.

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong)

Controlling the sound is pretty basic compared to the options you get with the ULT WEAR headphones. In this case, you can only turn ULT on or have it off and use your own custom sound via the three-band EQ. However, since you'll likely be outdoors with this small speaker, the nuance you can control with an EQ with more bands will likely be lost to the ether and inaudible.

Sony ULT field test

Sony ULT Field 1

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong)

Let’s establish something from the start: this isn’t a party speaker for your country barn summer soiree or sunset beach bonfire. This is a “personal speaker” with enough volume for a small group of a few pals to hit the beach and have a kickback or to take to the park and relax to some Coltrane. Maybe you pack it, take it to the AirBnB you and your buddies rented for your week-long getaway, and use it in the backyard. Enough to provide some atmosphere and move your booties but nowhere near loud enough to elicit “disturbing the peace” calls to the police from neighbors.

To test the audio quality, I took the speaker to a few parks and to the beach. I used it alongside my JBL Charge 4, which is currently my and my wife’s favorite take-along portable speaker. After my testing, the ULT Field 1 will absolutely be our new go-to.

I went to one park next to a busy main street where a concert was proceeding in another section of the park. I tried to get as far away from that as possible, but the music coming from that section was still audible. Here, I walked about 30 feet away from the speaker before the audio was masked by traffic and other noise.

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong)

The second park I visited was during the morning, around 10 a.m. The local private schools use it for their PE field, and it just so happened that there were around 50 high school students there that morning. Here, I was able to get roughly 50 feet away from the speaker before the vocals became somewhat indecipherable.

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong)

Comparing the FIELD 1 to the Charge 4, I can tell you that the ULT function definitely makes a difference. I should note that the Charge 4 uses a less dynamic Bluetooth codec, SBC, while during my testing, the Field 1 used AAC, which has more “resolution.” I can also tell you that the ULT Field 1 sounds better when that function is activated than when it's not. The sound is flatter with ULT off, but turning it on immediately imbues presence and depth to the sound, making the music fuller and more robust close-up and at greater distances like 50 feet.

The ULT Field 1 does support LDAC, which is a nice addition, but I was unable to get it to work with that codec using a Pixel 7 Pro and a Galaxy S22 Ultra, which both support LDAC. You may have better luck than me.

We’ve discussed “auditory masking” in other articles here, so keep that in mind when using a speaker like this outdoors. At the beach, the sound of the waves will compete with the higher frequencies in some of your music. Orchestral music, for example. Bottom-heavy songs sounded great when I listened to my music in the park, and instrumental music like R&B, which still had more mids and bottoms, also sounded great. However, music from the Chevalier score lost elements of the mix at 50 feet away in the park. Soft sections of violins were inaudible at that distance, so you’ll want to be closer if classical is your jam.

The only issue I found with the sound output from the Field 1 was that when you turn the volume up to its max and play a track with a really heavy bottom end, like Skrillex's “Mumbai Place,” I ran into a decent amount of distortion. That combination was a bit too much for this small unit.

Aside from music, the speaker can also be used for phone calls, video calls, and whatever audio is output from your phone. I found the volume excellent, and the person on the other end said I sounded clear. What is also clear is the accuracy of the battery life that Sony claims you’ll get. I let the speaker play with ULT activated the volume level set to 25 (it has 50 steps of volume), and the Field 1 lasted just under 12 hours. Turning ULT off will get you more playback time should you need it.

Should you buy the Sony ULT Field 1?

The Sony ULT POWER SOUND series of speakers brings the BOOM! But, in this case, that “BOOM” actually translates to a fuller sound for outdoor use. Couple that with an IP67 rating for water and dust ingress, solid battery life, and a small footprint with good sound output, and you have a speaker well worth considering for your summer outdoor shenanigans.

You can check out our roundup of the best Bluetooth speakers if you need something larger than what this offers, but for most casual get-togethers, the Sony ULT Field 1 is a great option for portable Bluetooth audio.

Tshaka Armstrong

Tshaka Armstrong is a nerd. Co-Founder of the non-profit digital literacy organization, Digital Shepherds, he’s also been a broadcast technology reporter, writer and producer. In addition to being an award-winning broadcast storyteller, he’s also covered tech online and in print for everything from paintball gear technology, to parenting gadgets, and film industry tech for Rotten Tomatoes. In addition to writing for Android Central, he’s a video contributor for Android Central and posts everything else to his own YouTube channel and socials. He blathers on about his many curiosities on social media everywhere as @tshakaarmstrong.