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Sony SRS-XB3 ‘Extra Bass’ Review

Sony released a new range of portable speakers featuring the ‘Extra Bass’ technology. To compliment the Sony SRS line, four compact and portable speakers are now available: the small SRS-XB2, the mid-size SRS-XB3, the larger SRS-XB7, and the SRS-XB650 headphones. This review is for the XB3.

At a Glance The XB3 is a follow-up to the X3. It comes in six colours: black, red, yellow, gold, and green. Size is approximately 211x80x83 mm and it weighs 0.93 kg – portable enough that you can bring it with you anywhere you go. Connecting to the XB3 is easy via Bluetooth or stereo mini-jack. The battery is promised to last 24 hours on a single charge.

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Functions

On top, you will find seven buttons: Phone which also acts as a multi-function button, Volume, Power, light indicator beside the Add button, Bluetooth, and Extra Bass. The light indicator and Add button are for pairing another XB3 speaker, while the touted Extra Bass button is to activate the equalizer that turns up the bass. There are also other combinations of button presses to activate other functionalities.

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The Build

Light and Water Resistant The device is wrapped in soft plastic, making it feel super durable and comfortable enough for me to throw it into my bag for a weekend getaway. As a bonus, it is also water-resistant, ready for the outdoors and parties. Cautionary note: it is not waterproof, so you can’t dip it into water.

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Connectivity

It’s also one of a few speakers that feature NFC Bluetooth pairing. We tested the connection, and it works flawlessly. It certainly beats opening up Bluetooth settings and going through the multi-step pairing process. It’s as easy as tap and go with any Android device. Theoretically, if you own an iPhone, the NFC pairing would not work, and this is because Apple devices do not support NFC yet. However, when we tested it with an iPhone 6, it paired quicker than expected. So not much of a deal breaker there.

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Sound Quality

The sound is similar to the sound of other high-end portable speakers. The speaker has two active drivers and a passive radiator between the two drivers. This provides additional volume and accentuates the bass. I’d personally recommend placing the device close to a wall, but not right up against it, to improve the quality of the bass. The reason is that the passive radiator moves sound both forward and back, and the wall helps bounce the sound around the room. The high and mid tones produce clear and loud sounds.

Extra Bass The SRS-XB3 is all about the bass and is created with deep, punchy bass sounds in mind (hence the XB in its name). This device provides a powerful, deep bass which doesn’t get muffled with the rest of the sound, and the rest of the mid and treble are crisp and clear. Compared to other portable speakers in the market, I find the XB3 to be the best speaker if you enjoy listening to EDM and other bass-heavy music genres.

Battery Life

The Battery Life Sony promises 24 hours of non-stop music. In my testing, you can hit it if you don’t max your volume. If you do, you will get less than 24 hours. However, the device is loud enough that you won’t need to max the volume. Therefore, it will be able to last for the whole day.

When it comes to real life use, I only needed to charge it once a week. With this amazing battery life, Sony has achieved the perfect balance between weight, battery life, and efficiency of the speakers.

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The Verdict

Portable and Bass The Sony SRS-XB3 is a keeper. It is ‘the’ speaker you would want to bring outdoors for camping, beach, and BBQs and indoors for your room or flat parties. If you love listening to bass-heavy music, then the XB3 has the best bass performance, compared to other portable speakers currently available in the market. The battery life is impressive, so that moving it around is a no-brainer, while its quick connectivity is on par with the more expensive speakers that Sony is making.

 

Limitation

Multiple Pairing XB3 can be paired with only one device at a time, and can remember only one device. If you do require multiple devices connected at once, I would recommend looking at Bose Soundlink Mini 2, as it can be paired with two devices and remember eight. Personally, I believe for a speaker to be more social, it should support multiple devices. However, to get around this, the trick is connecting a Google Chromecast Audio via the audio jack.

 

Background

Sony, the creator of the Walkman, transformed the way people listened to music. Back then, Sony pitched it as a way to take back “lost time” while travelling or adding music to urban surroundings in a way that is portable, with a lightweight device and earphones. Before the Walkman, people carried around big studio systems on their shoulders that used double D batteries. Remember those? Suffice to say, Sony has a long history of producing great sounding devices.

Price and Where to Buy

Sony is selling the SRS-XB3 at RRP NZD$299, and it is available at Sony stores nationwide, Sony online, and Sony retailers.

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Do you have any questions or want to share your review of Sony SRS-XB3? Post a comment below.

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