Sony is adding four new models to its Bluetooth speaker lineup — one that is pint sized and four sizable speakers that range from tall rectangles with neon party lights to a modern take on the boombox.
Sony is boosting the sound quality across the board, and after our early testing, these can get your feet tapping. You won’t need to wait long if you’re in the market as well, since they’re all up for preorder starting today.
Sony XB13 ($58; amazon.com)
You have a lot of options when it comes to small, affordable Bluetooth speakers. The Sony XB13 is on the higher end of this category. It’s about the size of a human fist and looks like a small can. Up top is the main speaker grille, and at the bottom, you’ll notice a few cutouts for sound dispersion. Sony is also offering the XB13 in a range of colors: black, taupe, navy blue, pinkish orange and powder blue.
The design is also purpose-built — out of the box, the XB13 has a strap built in that lets you easily bring it with you on the go. It can be strapped to a backpack or bag, or just held in your hand. The plastic and metal build is also IP67 rated, which means it is both water- and dustproof. This should survive a dunk in the pool, as it’s rated to withstand 30 minutes in up to a meter of water. Like the Sonos Move, this Sony speaker has a UV coating to ensure the paint doesn’t crack over time.
The XB13 charges with USB-C, and a cable comes in the box. Sony promises 16 hours of battery life.
If you’re on Android, the XB13 will fast pair with your phone. Turn it on, hit the Bluetooth button and it will start casting a signal. Then bring it close to your Android device, and it will pop up on the bottom. This is just for Android and makes pairing a cinch. It’s very similar to fast pairing with AirPods on an iPhone.
After testing the XB13 for a few days, we found the sound to be rich, clear and crisp. XB13 doesn’t introduce any muddiness either, with clear instrument separation. You can also physically see the woofer up top moving with any tones — it’s a visual confirmation of the sound being produced. It’s a pleasant sound experience, and Sony’s “Sound Diffusion Processor” inside is working hard. Sony was also smart for including a rubber grip finish on the bottom, which keeps the XB13 from sliding away.
The XB13 is an excellent speaker for the price and delivers a rich sound experience that can scale pretty high. If you opt for two XB13s, you can pair them together for a stereo experience.
Sony XP500 ($348; amazon.com)
The XP500 is a large speaker fit for parties. And while we haven’t tested this specific model, Sony’s previous X-Series offered big sound, featuring four speakers inside along with custom technology to deliver “Mega Bass.”
Like the XP700 and XG500 below, Mega Bass boosts low and mid tones for a big climactic sound. It’s essentially an adjustment to the track in real time. You can also customize the EQ for these speakers in the Sony Music app for Android or iOS. You’ll be customizing the sound for two tweeters and two “X-Balanced” speakers. These work together to deliver rich and clear sound with clear separation between items on a track.
At the top and bottom are two LED light strips that’ll match whatever is playing. Within the companion Sony Music app, you’ll be able to pick from several preset options. It can also be outside even in inclement weather, with an IPX4 water resistance rating, meaning that it can handle some light rain, but you shouldn’t push this in a pool. Sony promises 20 hours of battery life on the XP500, and it uses a proprietary charging port. You’ll also find a single input that can be used for a microphone or a guitar.
Sony XP700 ($448; amazon.com)
The XP700 is a massive speaker, about the size of a garbage can. And it’s the only speaker in this new line to feature a rear-facing tweeter along with two tweeters and two X-Balanced speakers in the front, alongside Sony’s Mega Bass. And with sound being broadcast in all directions, you can place the XP700 pretty much anywhere.
Like every other speaker here, it will connect via Bluetooth to your device and it will fast pair with an Android phone. You can also plug in with a USB-A drive or two guitar plugs that let you plug in a guitar and a microphone. The XP700 is also IPX4 rated for water resistance. Lastly, Sony promises 25 hours of battery life, which is solid for a speaker of this size.
In our short hands-on time so far, the XP700 is already showing lots of promise. Sony’s premium speaker pumps out absolutely booming sound. What really brings it all together is the colorful light show that syncs up with whatever you’re playing.
We also found the soft-touch physical controls easy and comfortable to use, and were able to pair to our iPhone in seconds. The XP700’s guitar port picked up our Fender Telecaster cleanly, and we were even able to play along to tracks playing over Bluetooth. We’re definitely eager to see how it holds up over prolonged jam sessions and get-togethers — if we don’t get kicked out of our apartment.
Sony XG500 ($448; amazon.com)
Not only does the XG500 feature two tweeters inside, but it has two X-Balanced speaker units that pack a serious punch with bass. Even at about 50% volume, the XG500 managed to fill an entire one-bedroom apartment, and with it on the floor, we could feel the sound radiating out. It also features Sony’s Mega Bass, which is a great way to make your neighbors hate you while also delivering impactful low tones that don’t reduce the clarity of a track.
The XG500 sports a pretty neat design that takes inspiration from boomboxes. There’s a wide carrying handle up top, which makes it easy to carry the XG500 around. It’s 11.7 pounds, which is surprisingly light for a speaker that can get this loud.
You’ll charge the XG500 with a proprietary cord and plug that comes in the box. Sony also includes two USB-A ports for charging other devices, an audio out and a guitar jack. With the latter, you could plug in a guitar for some shredding or a microphone for singing. Sony promises 30 hours of battery life with a 10-minute charge delivering three hours of playback.
It also carries an IP66 rating, and the fabric encasing the XG500 repels water and, by design, causes it to bead up, then fall off — which we found to work as designed.
Similar to the other speakers here, this can fast pair with Android devices also. Within the Sony Music app for Android or iOS, you get some customizations, including lighting controls for the left and right sides. There are a range of options like chill, rave or strobe. You’ll need it to be pretty dark to see the lights in action, though.