The Sylvox Portable TV is one of the IFA 2023 launches I knew I was going to track down at the show because the pitch is just too good: a floating, waterproof, wireless TV.
It’s just 15 inches in size, with a chunky design that’s needed to make it buoyant, but also make it easy to grab. You can connect to its Full HD screen over HDMI, but it also has Android 11 built-in so you can access streaming services or connect a USB drive to watch without any cables.
That includes no power – Sylvox says the battery lasts “3-6 hours”, presumably depending on brightness and whether you’re streaming or using HDMI (or stored video).
Understandably, Sylvox hasn’t turned up with a pool to a busy and chaotic tech show, but the company does have a kitchen sink on its stand, so naturally, the first thing I asked was to give it a soak.
As you can see in the picture above, there was no fear about that – the Sylvox team happily started drowning the thing.
The Portable TV has a chunky stand that actually rotates around the device, meaning you can put it behind the screen so it’s angled slightly up (great for if you have it on a kitchen counter or something), or in front of the screen so it’s angled slightly down, which is useful if you’re lying down (nice in the bath, maybe). It can also be used over the top of the screen as a way to hang it on a hook, so it’s effectively wall-mounted.
The more inelegant part of its design is the cover for the ports, since HDMI wasn’t exactly designed with waterproofing in mind when it was being developed for the best TVs. Anyone who used one of the best waterproof speakers from the era before watertight USB-C existed will be used to the idea of covering things with a little plastic flap.
As you might guess, it’s not the most premium-feeling design or dazzling screen – it delivers 400 nits of maximum brightness – but it’s quite reflective, so it won’t always be easy to see.
And while I didn’t spend much time using the Android software on it, bear in mind that it’s using regular Android, not Android TV, and when I’ve used that on TV-style devices in the past (such as portable projectors), it’s not been the slickest experience.
But I find all of this quite forgivable, because I don’t really need a premium-feeling finish or high screen quality for something that I’m imagining putting at the end of the bath to binge a Netflix show while I soak, without worrying that it’ll fall in. Or having something sporty on while I cook, with no fear of fat spitting on to it, since I know I can just give it a wash afterward.
The price of £539 (around $680 / AU$1,000) is a little higher than seems ideal to me, but if you’re looking for a way to watch At Home with the Furies on Netflix while in your Jacuzzi, it’s money well spent, right?