Sony SRS-XB2 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

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These days, it’s hard to visit any electronic store and not be bombarded by the extensive range of wireless speakers in all shapes, sizes and colors. With the commoditization of this product category, it seem harder to define a specific purpose for these speakers and also the people who purchase them. Do people bring their portable speakers outdoors? Would people value portability over audio quality? With the SRS-XB2, Sony thinks that it has a product for people who value both portability and audio quality.

Sony SRS-XB2
Dimensions  191x62x65 mm
Weight 480 grams
Wireless Codecs supported AAC/LDAC/SBC
Frequency Transmission  20 Hz – 20000 Hz
Battery Life 12 hours
Power Consumption 9W

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Design

The Sony SRS-XB2 is compact and fits comfortably in your hand. Weighing only 480 grams, it comes in 5 different colors (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black) that is seemingly targeted at the youth. In terms of connectivity, the speaker play nice with Bluetooth, NFC for pairing purposes and also an Aux-in port for your legacy devices. The SRS-XB2 is powered by 2 drivers and 1 passive radiator with a 12 hours battery life, pretty decent for a speaker this size.

One feature I really liked about the SRS-XB2 is the ability to charge via a microUSB cable which effectively eliminates the need of bringing around a proprietary charger to keep the speaker juiced up. With the built-in mic, you can also use the SRS-XB2 as a speakerphone via connected via Bluetooth.

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At the top of the speaker, you get all the controls that you need for your music playback and calls. You get your power, volume, Bluetooth, Call and Extra Bass button for that boost in bass. At the side of the speaker, press and hold the “Add” button to wirelessly connect one SRS-XB2 to another.

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SRS-XB2 Double Mode

Called the “Double mode”, both speakers will play the same music simultaneously to create a party mode – ideal for used in a big venue or at a party. The speakers can get really loud when connected together even at half the volume, therefore filling a cafe or function room with music would not be an issue. While you probably won’t use this feature much, and it’s unlikely you will find someone else with the same speaker, it’s still a good feature to have. However, i would have prefered a left/right stereo mode for a more immersive experience while watching shows with friends on the iPad or laptop.

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Water Resistance

Besides being portable, the SRS-XB2 is IPX5 water-resistant. While it probably won’t survive being fully submerge in water for an extended period of time, the speaker will be able to withstand the splashes of water from the pool or shower and rain. Just make sure you keep the flap at the back closed tightly to prevent water from entering the exposed USB and AUX-in ports.

When exposed to wet conditions, the grill of the SRS-XB2 will retain some of the water and you will find that the audio gets slightly muffled during playback. Simply shake the speaker to remove the excess water out of the grills for the optimal playback quality.

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Audio Performance

For bass heavy tracks like “Titanium” by David Guetta, the SRS-XB2 delivers a solid bass at moderate listening volume and doesn’t distort even when near max volume. Turning on the “Extra Bass” mode instantly brings out a significant amount of bass response which might appeal a lot to the younger demographic that the company is trying to attract. After turning Extra Bass on, you would find little reason to turn it on when listening to your music.

For vocal tracks like “Hello” by Adele, I do feel that the singer’s vocal is slight drowned out by mids and the lows especially with the Extra Bass turned on. Soundstage is great though, considering how compact the speaker is.

Overall, the SRS-XB2 has a very balanced bass and midrange with a warm sound signature. It is less harsh than the UE Roll and has very good bass for something of this size. The SRS-XB2 can get really loud too, so if you’re looking for something to power your next house party without the fear of audio cracking at high volume, the SRS-XB2 will do the job.

srs-xb2_5The Sony SRS-XB2 retails for S$169 in Singapore, which is considered affordable for a Sony branded product. While it’s not the most portable speaker around in terms of the size and weight, the speaker provides a very good audio/value to size ratio. The Extra Bass option gives you very tight and punchy bass and really, that’s what most people look for in a portable speaker these days.

Learn more about the Sony SRS-XB2 here.

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