Hands-on Gear Review

Sony XB10 Review

Best Buy Award
Price:   $60 List
Pros:  Inexpensive, great bass given its size, water resistant
Cons:  Not terribly loud, can sound a bit thin
Bottom line:  A perfect low cost and portable option
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Dimensions (in x in x in):  3" x 3" x 3.5"
Inputs:  3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro USB port
Reported Weight:  9.2 oz
Manufacturer:   Sony

Our Verdict

The first time you hear the Sony XB10 you'll probably be surprised at how much bass is coming out of such a tiny speaker. This lends the XB10 a much fuller and more pleasing sound than most other speakers in its weight class. It is also water resistant and lists for only $60. All of these things combined things combined earned the XB10 our Best Buy on a Tight Budget Award. If you want something inexpensive and totally waterproof you might want to spend a little bit more on the UE Roll 2. Alternatively, if you want something that is small but loud the UE Boom is about the same size but significantly louder, but it also costs twice as much.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Thursday
December 21, 2017

Share:

You can't match the Sony XB10 in terms of value per dollar. It perfectly balances sound quality, portability, and price into a value-packed package. If you want a cheap speaker that still impresses, this should be your first choice.


Performance Comparison


The XB10's surprisingly powerful bass propelled it to a relatively high overall score in our testing. We used multiple tests split into four different metrics in order to calculate those overall scores. Below you can find out how the XB10 did in all of those tests.

Sound Quality


Despite its small size the XB10 can belt quite a tune, earning it an above average score of 6 out of 10 in our sound quality testing.


The key to the XB10's sound is its bass, which is incredibly powerful given its tiny stature. This bass was on par with much larger models like the Tribit XSound Go and clearly outperformed other small speakers like the UE Roll 2. This lends a much fuller sound to the music than most speakers of this size can produce.

However, the XB10's treble kept it from earning a higher score in this metric. The TReble sounds decent, but lacks a bit of clarity and can be a bit thin at times. Still, this speaker provides a phenomenal listening experience given both its size and its price.

The XB10 is quite compact.
The XB10 is quite compact.

Portability


The XB10 earned a near perfect score of 9 out of 10 in our portability testing, bested only by the UE Roll 2.


The XB10 checks nearly every box on the portability checklist. Tipping the scales at 8.8 ounces it is the lightest speaker we tested, besting even the UE Roll 2 by over 2 ounces. It also has a tiny profile and a tiny lanyard with a loop that lets you hang it on things (this loop doubles as a stand for the speaker as well). The only reason it didn't pick up a perfect 10 is the fact that is merely water resistant instead of completely waterproof. This is the one area where the UE Roll 2 is superior.

The XB10's thumb loop doubles as a cradle for putting the speaker on its side.
The XB10's thumb loop doubles as a cradle for putting the speaker on its side.

Volume


This is another area where the XB10's performance seems impossible given its size. It earned an above average score of 7 out of 10 in this metric.


In our testing the XB10 produced enough volume to fill an average sized bedroom. It also had plenty of power to entertain a few friends relaxing on the beach. It would get drowned out in a crowded apartment party, but for most uses it has plenty of power. If you want something that is small but loud the UE Wonderboom is about the same size but noticeably louder.

The XB10 is IPX5 water resistant.
The XB10 is IPX5 water resistant.


Battery Life


though the XB10 didn't live up to its manufacturer claim of a 16 hour battery life, it still lasted a respectable 13.5 hours. This is more than enough for a day at the beach or a lazy day chilling in the park. If battery life is your main concern, you may want to sacrifice a bit of sound quality and get the exceptionally long lasting Anker SoundCore 2.


Value


You really can't beat the Sony XB10's value. For just $60 you get good sound quality, impressive bass, and water resistance in a small and portable package. If you need full waterproofness the UE Roll 2 is only a slight step up in price, though you do sacrifice some bass quality.

Conclusion


The Sony XB10 is an awesome little speaker whose bark is much bigger than its bite. If you want something that is cheap, portable, and can produce decent sound, this is the speaker for you.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata

You Might Also Like