More and more people are fully vaxxed and ready to party, so it’s good timing for Sony’s four new Bluetooth speakers.
The Sony SRS-XB13 is a teeny wireless speaker meant for active people who want an extra dose of bass. Meanwhile, the other three speakers — the SRS-XP500, XP700, and XG500 — are the company’s takes on a modern boombox for peak party vibes.
The $89 XB13 is a lil guy that’s meant to be used when you’re outdoors, but can also double as a regular Bluetooth speaker at home. At the top, it has a two-way strap so you can hook it onto a bag, and it’s small enough to also fit inside a cupholder. As far as sound profiles go, Sony says the XB13’s passive radiator and full-range speaker work together via its Extra Bass feature to enhance low-end tones and boost bass. Compared to the last version of the speaker, Sony also says it has improved mics for calling, charges via USB-C, and Android users get a little perk as it’s also compatible with Google’s Fast Pairing. As for how it holds up during outdoor activity, it’s rated IP67, has 16 hours of battery life, and an extra UV coating to prevent wear and tear from sun damage. (Apparently, speakers need SPF, too.)
While the XB13 is an obviously portable speaker, the remaining three speakers are what I call “technically portable.” To cut straight to the chase, the XG500 is the lightest at 7 kg, while the XP500 is a hefty 11 kg and the XP700 is 16 kg. So yes, you could lug these big boys out to a patio or by the pool, but they’re not really meant to be moved once they’re set in place. All three feature Sony’s “X-balanced” speaker drivers that purportedly enhance lows and mids, and also reduce distortion and add clarity to vocals when you crank it up. There’s also a Mega Bass button so you can, you know, go ham on the bass. Each speaker also has “indirect” LED lighting so you can set the mood, and in a nice perk, they all support quick charging. Depending on the speaker, you can get between 80 minutes to three hours of playback in 10 minutes of charging. It’s also available in black, blue, taupe, coral pink, and if you buy it on Amazon, powder blue.
The $499 XP500 and $699 XP700 are kind of like little brother-big brother. Not only do they look alike, but they both have IPX4 water resistance, support device charging, sport high-efficiency tweeters, have a slot to hold cell phones or tablets, and can be placed vertically or horizontally. Both have dual mic inputs, so they can also serve as amps for guitars or karaoke night, which is neat if you’re into that kind of public self-humiliation. (You do you, reader.) The main difference is the bigger XP700 also has a rear tweeter so there’s better omnidirectional sound, as well as internal sensors that automatically detect when the speaker is horizontal to adjust the sound. The XP500 is rated for 20 hours of battery life, while the XP700 gets up to 25.
Meanwhile, the XG500 is sort of like a mish-mash of the XB13 and the other two speakers. It’s the most portable of the three X-series speakers, partly because it has a built-in carrying handle and partly because it’s less than 9 kg. Design-wise, it has a water-repellent mesh fabric outer layer, and is rated IP66. And like the XP500 and XP700, it has LED lighting, X-balanced speakers, and high-efficiency tweeters, but only a single microphone/guitar input. It does, however, have the longest battery life at an estimated 30 hours.
All four speakers are slated to ship in June, with preorders beginning today at Sony, Amazon, and other retailers.