Sony XB20 Review
Pros: Loud, good bass, water resistant, provides light show
Cons: Mediocre battery life
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|Pros||Loud, good bass, water resistant, provides light show||Excellent sound quality, very loud, long battery life||Excellent sound quality, water resistant, great battery life||Good overall sound, great volume, great battery life, waterproof||Good sound quality, waterproof, long battery life|
|Cons||Mediocre battery life||Expensive, relatively large and heavy||Expensive, relatively heavy||Not the strongest bass, a bit pricey||Not the best sounding nor most portable|
|Bottom Line||Booming bass and high volume for $100 make this a fairly good value||The exceptional sound quality, high volume, and somewhat heavy weight make this perfect for backyard parties||Top notch sound from a relatively small and durable package||A solid choice for those that want a bit of power in a fairly portable and waterproof package||A good mid point for those that want good sound quality and portability, but don't want to pay a premium price for the absolute best|
|Rating Categories||Sony XB20||Bose Soundlink...||Bose SoundLink...||UE Boom 3||JBL Flip 5|
|Sound Quality (40%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Specs||Sony XB20||Bose Soundlink...||Bose SoundLink...||UE Boom 3||JBL Flip 5|
|Dimensions (in x in x in)||7.80" x 2.68" x 2.72"||4.1" x 4.1" x 7.3"||5.97" x 3.24" x 3.24"||2.9" x 2.9" x 7.25"||3.64" x 3.6" x 8.5"|
|Inputs||3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro USB port||Charging port, Micro-USB, 3.5mm auxillary input||3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro USB port||Micro USB port||Charging port|
|Reported Weight||20.8 oz||34 oz||24 oz||24 oz||19.04 oz|
|Measured Weight||21 oz||34 oz||24 oz||22 oz||19 oz|
|Wireless Range (feet)||33 feet||30 feet||30 feet||150 feet||Not Listed|
|Reported Battery Life (hours)||12||16||12||15||12|
|Measured Battery Life (hours)||12||24||18||24||27|
|Warranty||1 year limited||1 year limited||1 year limited||2 year limited||1 year limited|
|Receive Phone Calls||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sony XB20 boasts powerful bass and a lot of volume for a fairly low price. It's not the best speaker by any means, but it's a good choice if you want something with some power and don't want to spend top dollar.
As you can see in the table above, the Sony XB20 was at the upper end of our score sheet. In the following sections we discuss how it performed in all of the tests we used to determine the best Bluetooth speakers.
Earning a 7 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, the Sony XB20 was above average but not exceptional. The most impressive component of its sound is the bass, which is powerful yet clear and defined without any muddled undertones. Flipping the 'extra bass' switch makes the bass even more powerful, and still kept things sounding crisp. The speaker also accentuates the bass with a built in light show that follows a beat. This is a somewhat entertaining feature, but it can easily be turned off once it gets annoying. It didn't produce as powerful bass in our testing as the Bose models and the Beats Pill+, but it was reasonably close. Plus, all of those models cost twice as much.
The XB20's treble and clarity were also quite impressive in our testing. While the top models were clearly superior in this regard, the XB20 was still able to create a full bodied sound that will please most listeners. If you're looking for something completely waterproof, the JBL Flip 4 produced a similarly bassy yet well rounded sound, and is IPX7 waterproof.
The XB20's is a mid sized model that earned a 7 out of 10 in our portability testing. Tipping the scales at 21 ounces, it is fairly average in terms of weight. This feels fairly light considering both the audio quality and sheer volume this model can produce, with only the JBL Flip 4 (19 ounces) and the Bose SoundLink Color II (19.8 ounces) comparable in that regard. The pill shape makes it easy to slide into a bag, and the IPX5 water resistance lets you tote it around no matter the forecast.
The XB20 is impressively loud, given its size. It earned an 8 out of 10 in this metric, falling behind only models that are significantly heavier. This speaker was easily able to cut through a large group of people talking in our testing apartment, and felt plenty loud enough for a small party. It's also loud enough to make you the center of attention at the beach.
The XB20 was average in our battery life testing, earning a 5 out of 10. It lasted 12 hours in our test, which was exactly what the manufacturer claimed. This is plenty of power for a day at the beach or by the lake, so most users won't find this limiting. However, there are some models that offer absurd battery lives, like the Anker SoundCore 2 (42 hours) and the JBL Charge 3 (30 hours) that make 12 hours sound kind of lame in comparison.
With a list price of $100, the Sony XB20 provides quite a bit of performance per dollar. We still think the slightly better sound of the Bose SoundLink Color II makes it a better value, but it also costs $30 more. If you want to save $30, we doubt you'll be disappointed with the XB20.
The Sony XB20 is a loud, powerful speaker that costs only $100. If loud and powerful satisfies your checklist, you'll like this speaker.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata