Every summer has a soundtrack, and Sony wants you to listen to yours on its newest series of portable Bluetooth speakers. The product line is available now and can help kick off a more active, less quarantined season. Here’s our rundown of the offerings:
XB13 Extra Bass
The smallest and most portable of the bunch, the XB13 Extra Bass comes with an IP67 waterproof and dustproof designation — that’s enough protection for serious showers or splashes and sand, but don’t let it go for a swim. The speaker is available in several vibrant colors befitting the summer season and, as its name would suggest, hangs its hat on its ability to handle bass-heavy tracks and produce a “deep, punchy sound.”
If you want to double up on that punch, you can pair the speaker with a second unit for stereo sound and — if you happen to get an important call while lounging poolside — it can serve as a speakerphone. This miniature model is small enough to fit inside your cupholder and comes with a multiway strap for carrying.
The battery life checks in at 16 hours — very capable for a small speaker. Like the rest of this product line, the XB13 features Bluetooth connectivity, but it’s also the only entry on the list without play-and-charge capability (more on that later).
The XG500 distinguishes itself with its long-lasting battery (30 hours of playing time) and slick design. LED lights, which can be controlled using a smartphone app, ring the speakers on either side and the handle blends seamlessly into its cylindrical frame, allowing you tote it wherever the summer may take you.
It does check in at just over 12 pounds — manageable, but not exactly a featherweight. Its waterproof and dustproof rating is IP66, which means it can withstand splashes or sprays, but don’t go dropping it in the pool.
One particularly cool feature of the XG500 is its play-and-charge capability. You can connect your device via the rear USB port and it will charge using the speaker’s power supply — very useful if you happen to be at, say, the beach, and you’re a long way from the nearest outlet.
The XP700, the largest model in the line, has powerful front and rear tweeters to create what Sony calls “Omnidirectional Party Sound,” and its mic/guitar rear inputs mean that you can jam out and/or karaoke to your heart’s content.
If you’re planning on throwing the soiree of the summer, you can use the Party Connect feature to connect multiple speakers (as many as 100!) and even coordinate the LED lighting between units. This 37-pound beast can be placed upright or on its side and has an integrated handle for lugging it around. It also features play-and-charge capability. The speaker is IPX4 water-resistant, but not waterproof, so be careful if you have a poolside bash.
The battery life on the XP500, the more portable little brother of the XP700, is a bit shorter (20 hours, rather than 25) but it’s smaller and much lighter (24 pounds versus 37). Otherwise, it’s pretty comparable to its kin: Mic and guitar inputs, Party Connect functionality, play-and-charge capability, X-balanced speakers for big bass, integrated handle, and programmable LED lights.
One notable difference is that this model features two front tweeters, rather than a front and a rear, so it won’t offer quite the same “omnidirectional party sound” as the XP700.
If you’re in the market, you may also want to check out our rundown of the best wireless speakers for 2021. Happy listening and have a tune-filled summer!