Sony has made some great speakers in their time, some of them portable. As time has gone on they have improved and become even more portable, able to be used anywhere with a durability unseen in past years.
Here at EFTM we got our hands on their latest portable, durable speaker, the SRS-XB13 (I’m still not convinced that their naming scheme is the best for marketing purposes) and put it through its paces and see just how it performs.
If you look at the marketing material from Sony you’ll see a beautifully styled speaker with an air gap at the bottom, speaker at the top and a hanging/carry strap on the side. Taking it out of the box you will not be disappointed in the product compared to the marketing material here (there’s no Big Mac photography tricks going on here). It’s a good looking speaker that is light to pick up and fits comfortably in the hand.
The rear of the speaker houses five simple controls — a power button, Bluetooth button, a play/pause button and a volume up and down button. Pairing the speaker is dead easy although it does lack the NFC pairing other Sony speakers have had in the past. Press and hold the Bluetooth button and a notification will pop up on your Android phone asking if you want to pair with the Sony speaker (Google’s Fast Pairing in action. For iOS you need to follow the usual Bluetooth pairing procedure after long pressing the Bluetooth button).
The speaker may be small but packs a decent punch thanks to its Sound Diffusion Processor and 1.5-inch speaker on the top. The sound is a decent quality but with a single speaker do not expect it to have a massive range. The bass is surprisingly good for such a small speaker. Unfortunately, the sound does not go super loud, but you shouldn’t expect that from such a compact speaker.
The sound is well balanced without being over enhanced in any of the various aspects such as high end or bass. This is a good and a bad thing, but the sound is certainly good enough to get you through a day but don’t expect to wow a crowd with the quality and range of sound from it. If you are within about 5m of the speaker when outside the sound is still good. Inside the music travels a lot further as you’d expect. If you want, you can also pair two of the SRS-XB13 together for a better quality stereo sound.
Using the speaker for phone calls wasn’t too bad although the microphone wasn’t as good as using your phone — but you shouldn’t expect that. The person on the other end of the call was still able to hear me well enough and discern what I was saying.
The SRS-XB13 is charged using USB-C but it is definitely not fast charging so make sure you have it fully charged when heading out for a long stint with it. Sony say the speaker will give you up to 16 hours and in my testing, I was able to get close to that with the speaker up quite loud.
Sony has also included an IP67 waterproof rating with the speaker which makes its durability a guarantee. For a recap IP67 means a device is “100% protected against solid objects like dust and sand, and it has been tested to work for at least 30 minutes while under 15cm to 1m of water.” Take this to the beach party without having to stress about sand or water ruining it.
The only issues I had with the speaker were the slow charging and the less-than ideal microphone. The sound was what you would expect, actually it was better than you’d expect, from such a small speaker — just don’t expect it to sound as good as those Sonos or Sony bookshelf speakers you paid four times as much for.
All things considered the Sony SRS-XB13 is a great little speaker that is super portable (compact) and durable while producing a decent sound — perfect for use when you are out and about, anywhere, especially around water such as the pool or beach. At a RRP of $89 it won’t break the bank — grab one (or two for that stereo sound) at all leading retailers.