Sony’s new portable speakers are waterproof and better with calls
Sony adds four new models to its portable wireless speaker lineup
Options for outdoors, karaoke and more.
Sony has been keen on refreshing its portable wireless speaker lineup each spring, and this year is no different. Today, the company revealed four new models ranging from the ultra compact and easily packable up to larger karaoke-ready party machines. Depending on your needs, the company should have something to keep the music going at your outdoor — or perhaps indoor — gatherings this summer.
First up is the SRS-XB13. This tiny speaker is a compact in every way, with an overall design we’ve seen from Sony before. It’s around three and half inches tall, shorter than a 12-ounce drink can, and about three inches wide. The short cylinder is equipped with Sony’s Extra Bass for “crisp punchy bass and powerful sound.” The XB13 also has a Sound Diffusion Processor the company provides “rich dynamic sound” even in a tiny speaker like this one. The device is rated IP67 for dust- and water-proofing, with a UV coating for extra outdoor protection. You can use the XB13 for hands-free calls and employ two of them at once for a stereo pair. Lastly, 16 hours of battery life will keep the music and podcasts going for a while. The SRS-XB13 will be available in June for $59.99.
Gallery: Sony SRS-XB13 speaker
Sony also has three new models in its X-series of speakers that offer more power, lights and instrument inputs for more entertainment options. If you’re looking for a true party machine, the SRS-XP500 and SRS-XP700 offer a variety of features for such use. Both have customizable LED lighting, are IPX4 water resistant and have a handy phone/tablet holder for the DJ’s device.
The two models also pack in Sony’s square-shaped X-Balance speaker units for “powerful bass” and “less distortion” with the ability to active a Mega Bass setting should the festivities require it. Both the XP500 and the XP700 offer two 1/4-inch microphone or instrument inputs with independent volume controls and support Sony’s Party Mode for syncing multiple devices in one setup. Dual USB ports allow you to charge devices or play stored music over a wired connection.
There are a few key differences between the SRS-XP500 and the SRS-XP700. Both can be positioned upright or on their sides, but on the XP700, the speakers will automatically reconfigure themselves based on how the unit is sitting. The XP700 has an additional rear-firing tweeter to help spread sound in larger environments. Another main difference is battery life. Sony says the XP500 can last up to 20 hours on a charge while the XP700 can keep the tunes going for up to 25 hours. There’s a quick charge feature on both that will give you 80 minutes (XP500) and three hours (XP700) of use after plugging in for 10 minutes. The last place the two speakers vary is price: the XP500 is $349.99 and the XP700 is $449.99. Both models are scheduled to go on sale next month.
If you more into the boombox form factor, the SRS-XG500 might be for you. X-Balanced speaker units and “high efficiency” tweeters are inside once again, as is the Mega Bass setting. The XG500 has more subtle ring lighting on the ends and a rigid handy for easy carrying. This model is rated IP66 for dust- and water-proofing and it’s wrapped in a water repellent mesh so liquid beads off. Sony says the fabric exterior is also easily cleaned if things get messy. There’s one 1/4-inch input for a mic or guitar as well as a single USB port for device charging of playing music. The XG500 offers 30 hours of battery life with a 10-minute quick charge giving you three hours of use in a pinch. Like the other options, this speaker is set to go on sale in June, and when it does, you can expect to pay $449.99.
The XP500, XP700 and XG500 all work with Sony’s Music Center app. This software allows you to adjust the EQ to fit the music style or event. Sony says all three speakers also have its updated Remastered DSP (digital signal processing) that was re-tuned for a “genre free” audio profile. It explains that the change should lead to fuller vocals and a more “natural” overall sound. The company’s Fiestable app offers the ability to host karaoke parties in addition to tweaking the colors of the the built-in LED lighting.
Gallery: Sony SRS-XP500, SRS-XP700 and SRS-XG500 speakers