Sony SRS XB13
When searching for a portable speaker, the Sony SRS XB13 offers the greatest portability. Sony doesn’t lack their options for portable speakers, but the SRS XB13 is by far the most budget friendly and portable they offer right now.
However, with its smaller size, does this device produce on the sound profile a Sony user may expect? Or is the portability its only biggest win?
Join me in this SRS XB13 overview to understand whether this speaker is the right one for you, and performs at the high quality Sony is known for.
Overview & Specs
The Sony SRS XB13 has over 5,000 ratings on Amazon and is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars for its portability, intimate sound profile, and user friendly operations. It was released in June of 2021.
Most of those that rated this device on the lower end were frustrated by the smaller sound they received, possibly not realizing the device was going to be as small as it is.
It sells for $59.99 and is on the cheaper end of the Sony device line-up. It comes in 5 different colors: black, coral pink, light blue, powder blue, and taupe.
The XB13 has an IP67 rating, making it completely waterproof and dust proof. It is extremely light, and so when dropped it doesn’t hit with as much force as speakers usually do. This is a product you can literally take anyway without a worry for potentially damaging it.
It does not include an app to go along with it, so you can’t use the Sony Music Center app to control device EQ. You can however, connect two of the XB13’s together for a full stereo sound.
It features a Bluetooth 4.2 version and holds a 16 hour battery life. When put to the test at top volume, this speaker withstood on one charge for about 13 hours. This is still a decent amount of time for such a small speaker, although the charge time does take 4 hours!
If you have phone calls coming in, the built-in mic supports hands-free calling. This was a sore spot for this device, as the mic doesn’t perform well, and the sound clarity from the call is low.
The SRS XB13 is very compact and cylindrically shaped. It weighs a mere 255 grams, fitting easily into the palm of your hand without much of a “feel” that it’s even there. It
The dimensions are 76.2 mm x 95.3 mm. It is 46 mm in diameter.
The speaker grille sits on the top of the speaker, with the 1.5 inch driver, and the passive radiator sitting on the bottom. The speaker grille is made of aluminum, the body a silicon, and the bottom base made of a rubber to secure it on flat surfaces and avoid vibrations.
The controls are located on what can be believed as the “back”. They are placed lower, right above the small slots that encompass the bottom half of the speaker to help push sound out. They are along a rubber panel, with raised grooves outlining the buttons themselves.
The controls include power, Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, a volume up and down. The Play/Pause button also serves as a call answering button.
There are LED notification lights that show the device is charging, when it is in stereo pair, and the mic is located right next to these indicators.
Next to the controls is a rubber flap covering the USB-c charging port.
As with all small devices, you only get so much sound. This seems to be the biggest concern to users and the Sony SRS XB13.
The XB13 includes a sound diffusion processor that expands the sound created with DSP technology. It is meant to enhance low end tones and give bigger bass. As with most Sony speakers today, the “Extra Bass” developed by Sony is also included within the XB13.
Unfortunately, this device doesn’t deliver on the “loudness” factor, as most users indicate it is only really good for personal listening.
The device doesn’t get very loud, and will distort at higher volumes. Although this is to be expected by a small speaker, it’s a disappointment from Sony. I’d like to see future models developed to capture a bit more punch.
Cons and Other Considerations
What I Love!
This device is very portable. It’s extremely light, easily attachable to any part of your body, backpack or surroundings, and won’t damage when exposed to water, dust, dirt or sand.
You can fit it within very small spaces, including a car cup holder, and for the cheap price of $59.99, you’re not breaking the bank!
What I Think Could Be Better…
Its a small device, and should really only be used for personal listening. It doesn’t pump out the music loudly, and this aspect seems to be the only reason users rate it lower than 5 stars. There’s no app associated, and you cannot adjust this sound profile.
The built-in mic, although handy, isn’t the greatest quality. Complaints made by users indicate that it’s very hard to hear the recipient, and the recipient said the user was distant and muffled.
Lastly, its amazing to see a potential 16 hour play-time with the battery. But having to wait 4 hours to charge it is very long, and can be inconvenient if you’re on a longer adventure and need to charge. There is no quick charge.
My Verdict: Compact, but too quiet
The Sony SRS XB13 is most definitely a compact device and great for bringing anywhere you go. However, it also captures all the characteristics of a small speaker, including the lack of sound.
At high volumes, you not only eat up the battery, but you hear slight distortion in your music, something we all dread. This device is perfect for a single user, who’s in a quiet area, and just wants a bit of extra tunes.
This speaker, although very durable, compact and light, won’t be able to drown out outside noise or more than 2 or 3 people within a small space. It simply is too small for that kind of power and won’t come in use for larger events or groups.