These sort of speakers are getting very popular these days. It’s so easy to chuck one in a bag and take it to the beach or wherever you might be and you want to take your music with you and share it with others.
full disclosure – This was sent to us for a period of time for review purposes.
So lets get into it.
With so many of these sort of speakers on the market, how can we choose which is best? or which is best for us? how much difference is there between them all? We looked at one of the top offerings from JBL not long ago and came to the conclusion that yeah we get why people would want something like this. The thing we’re finding most is that people are wanting the best for the cheapest price. So when it comes to the more affordable options, how good can it be? and what can we expect to pay?
UE Boom has somewhat dominated this market for some time so most things would be comparable to the UE offerings. I’ve never had one for review but I’ve certainly seen a lot of friends with them and know a little about them. This XB30 unit i would suggest for size and sound would be comparable to the BOOM 2 Wireless – which retails for $329.90 NZD – if someone wants to challenge that or suggest a better comparison, by all means do – I’ve not had them side by side.
So lets look at what it is you’re buying.
for the price of Sony’s RRP of $269.95 you get in the package. The Speaker, and a power cord. That’s all you need given these are always used over Bluetooth and you would generally control the music playlist over your phone. So pop this on top of the chilli-bin and enjoy.
The first thing I noticed about this was the weight, Sony had in its marketing that its compact and light weight. For the sound it pumps out it sure is compact however it does feel very heavy for the size, I’m not mad at that. The bulk tells me there is some serious business and technology going on inside from speakers to processing which takes me back to the quote ” if its heavy its expensive, put it down” So it does feel premium right out of the box, The weight is actually 980 grams which in a box 228mm x 82mm x 86mm is not insignificant. It’s not gona weigh you down between the car park and the beach, or the back yard to the pool.
So, high quality for less than the competition and not massive to carry around? so far so good. But this is a speaker and its job among all the other features it has is to reproduce your music in the environment you’ve placed it in at the given time.
The first place I popped it was right in-front of me on my desk. It’s a large room with proper sound deadening so a fairly good place to get a base reading. Ignoring the flashy lights I que’d up some Tool and got to work on some other work and let it ride. As the kind of person who always has that sort of music played at the appropriate level while tapping away at the keyboard it wasn’t as loud as my system connected to my PC but I wasn’t expecting that. What I was looking for was depth of sound and clarity. I ended up moving it to a few other spots around the room to see how it sounded from different scenarios, for example on the floor at the end of a Yoga mat.
For indoor applications – It’s not gonna blow the house down but it will give clear and full sound at a volume where you can enjoy most types of music, popping it on a table for background music when you’re having a dinner party or some out of this world tunes for your yoga practice this will do all those well.
As far as outside applications.
we all know higher range sounds travel further than lower in open space, albeit directional so if you’re out for example at a skate park like we were yesterday, you’re going to want a lot more low end for a fuller sound. Sony have done this with the ” extra bass” button. Now inside at full volume this can start to sound a bit muddy. Outdoors however brings up that bottom and end stops your music sounding tinny in an outdoor environment. pretty neat hey.
Something I only found out when I pulled up the specs to write this up ( cause I didn’t read the instructions) You can effectively daisy chain these together. Say a few of you are heading to the beach or wherever and you each have one of these ( not sure if it works with similar models I would assume so ? ) you can pair them together and repeat the signal from 1 source device and bam, you’ve just doubled your sound, or tripled – That’s a neat feature but it does require having friends that have the same / similar unit and actually managing to get them all together with a charged device on the same day. Good luck with that one
The usual things you would expect like splash proof, huge battery life and things like that are all there. The lights feature is novel and kinda cool. Buttons are clear and easy to use and connecting is a piece of cake – Overall this is a fairly unexceptional device as far as form and function, there’s nothing that really stands it out from the crowd – I’d say for me the best feature was the bass boost for the aforementioned reasons. With more than decent sound and significantly cheaper than the competition It’s not bad buying – Personally for me I’d only use something like this in an outdoor environment and would likely get something less portable yet more powerful if I was spending my own money. What I would suggest if you’re interested in one of these is find out who of your friends have them and put them in the environment you plan to use it in most and see how you like the sound. there is a big difference between filling a small room with your music for you and entertaining groups outside.
For more information on the XB30 check it out on the SONY WEBSITE
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!