30 second exam

During years, the Sony SRS-XB12 has been Sony's budget Bluetooth speaker. At €39.99 (€39, AT €48U), it was an affordable entry point into portable audio with surprising performance for its size, but now this flashlight will be brought to its successor, the new Sony SRS-XB13.

It's a little more expensive at €59 (about €40, AU$80), but with better sound dispersion, Sony designed the speaker to deliver 360-degree sound so everyone can have a party. beach or at the campfire can listen to music wherever you are. For outdoor enthusiasts, it has an IP67 rating that makes it resistant to water and dust. In addition, Sony claims that it has also improved the internal microphone for phone calls… However, we do not recommend using it for this purpose.

After putting to Try the Sony SRS-XB13We think it's a great super-budget option if you can't stretch your budget beyond $60, but sound quality, low maximum volume, poor call quality, and long charging times are all major pain points. .

Sadly it doesn't exist in a vacuum and it's worth spending a bit more to get last year's really amazing Sony SRS-XB23 instead; it usually only costs €79.99 and the sound quality is significantly better. However, if you're in love with the form factor, we also recommend the waterproof UE Wonderboom 2.

Sony SRS-XB13 price and release date

The Sony SRS-XB13 will replace the XB12 from June 2021, and some retailers are already starting to make the switch. In terms of price, the SRS-XB13 starts at €59 (around €40, AU$80) but that price may drop when the speaker goes on sale later this year at events like Black Friday 2021.

For a Bluetooth speaker, this price is quite reasonable, not the cheapest price we've seen for a Bluetooth speaker, but it's a lot cheaper than the competition that sells regularly, around €100 (€80, AU€150).

(Image credit: future)

Sony SRS-XB13 Bluetooth Speaker Review 1

That said, we think you're making compromises to get such a cheap speaker - the single speaker above the speaker doesn't deliver the clearest or loudest sound in its entire category, and you'll have to choose a speaker. second speaker for true stereo sound.

Design

Although the price of the Sony SRS-XB13 is very convincingMost people go for Sony's smaller speakers because they are lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. This year you can also add their IP67 rating which also makes them dust and water proof.

The shape is basically a sturdy soda can - it's a bit wide, round, and short. It can probably fit in a cup holder in your car, but thanks to the strap you can definitely hang your backpack.

At the top of the speaker is a grill that protects a standard 1,5-inch speaker, while at the bottom it has a passive radiator for better bass response. The controls are located on the side and that's where you'll find the hidden USB-C port that charges the speaker.

At the bottom of the speaker is a rubberized bass and small gaps in the plastic base to allow sound to pass through, a design feature Sony is taking directly from its 2020 speaker lineup.

That said, if the Sony SRS-XB13 looks like a speaker you've seen before, you might be thinking of the UE Wonderboom and UE Wonderboom 2. In fact, the design is pretty similar, but the Wonderboom flips the controls up and down. add a second driver and a second bass radiator. Unsurprisingly, the Wonderboom is a bit louder and clearer than the Sony and is the best all-around speaker in our experience testing both.

That being said, we have to give some credit to the new sound transmission processor that Sony has put inside the XB13; it really helps the speaker fill a 360 degree radius, but we'll talk more about that. In detail in just a moment.

Sony SRS-XB13

(Image credit: future)

The last two design features worth mentioning are the ability to pair two XB13s by pressing and holding the Bluetooth pairing button, and quick pairing with Android devices. The former will put the speaker in a left-to-right channel configuration for stereo sound which can really alleviate some of the speaker's sound issues, while the latter makes it incredibly quick and intuitive to pair with any new Android phone or tablet.

Performance

In terms of sound quality, the SRS-XB13 is much better balanced than in previous years. The emphasis is on the midrange, making vocals very easy to hear, and a good amount of bass for a speaker of its size.

In a pre-launch interview with us, Sony told us that one of the development team's main goals this year is flatter sound quality, and it really seems to be.

Unfortunately this is still a single driver system with a passive radiator at the bottom. This means that there is absolutely no stereo separation and a limited soundstage. Songs that generally have a distinctive left and right channel like Jimi Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower sound flat on the SRS-XB13 if you don't pair two.

The new balanced sound quality greatly improves the sound of most music genres, especially rock and alternative, but makes pop and EDM sound a bit worse. Joel Corry and David Guetta's catchy bass line on BED gets lost in the mix, as are the harmonies. You should be able to change this using your phone's built-in equalizer or the Sony Music Center app, but don't expect a miracle.

Of course, the new sound transmission processor helps distribute the sound in a 360-degree radius, but you won't get much clarity or presence anywhere you sit, and the audio isn't that loud. It's enough to fill a small room or keep people entertained around a small campfire, but it certainly doesn't fill large rooms or go very far. We were only able to get about 20 feet away from the enclosure before it started to lose its momentum. If you're looking for room-filling sound, you'll need to upgrade to one of Sony's new party speakers.

Because the speaker isn't much bigger than a soda and generates most of the sound from a single 1,5-inch speaker, the speaker can't do much, anything with its sound quality. This might be one of the best ultra-portable speakers out there, but when it comes to sound quality, it's a pretty low bar to erase.

However, the worst aspect of the speaker is the built-in microphone. Sony improved it, but friends and family we spoke to said we had incredibly distant and barely audible sound even though we were only a few feet from the speaker. If you plan to use a portable speaker for this purpose, we strongly recommend that you choose another speaker instead of this one.

Battery duration

Out of the box, prepare to charge the Sony SRS-XB13 for four hours continuously to fully charge it. In the box you'll find a USB-C cable for charging, which is nice, and it plugs into the back of the speaker under a removable rubber flap.

It's a long standby time, sure, but luckily the speaker can play around 16 hours per charge. Of course, if you need to turn up the volume to take up a larger space, the total battery life may be closer to 12 or 13 hours, but that's more than enough for a day out.

However, apart from the long battery life, the speaker is nothing special: it cannot charge your phone, for example, or it does not charge wirelessly, so you will have to keep a USB cable. -C on your fingertips.

Should you buy the Sony SRS-XB13 bluetooth speaker?

Sony SRS-XB13

(Image credit: future)

Buy it if ...

You want an extremely inexpensive speaker

While it's $60 (about $40, AU$80) at launch, we'll eventually see that drop below $40 and at this point it's going to be one of the cheapest Bluetooth speakers out there. A recognized company brand, which makes it quite attractive.

You want a lightweight outdoor speaker with 16 hours of battery life

In terms of size, portability, and battery life, the Sony SRS-XB13 gets high marks. If you need a speaker to take you for hours outdoors, this wouldn't be a bad choice at all.

You don't want to disturb the neighbors

Having a lower maximum volume is not always a bad thing; in fact, if you have neighbors who are easily annoyed, they may really appreciate that you buy the XB13 rather than something that has more power than you will use.

Don't buy it if ...

You want a speaker that rotates up to 11

The low maximum volume won't matter for people planning to sit within a few feet of the speaker, but if this is your main audio system for outdoor parties, you probably won't like it.

You are looking for exceptional sound quality

Of course, we love the flatter EQ Sony is using in the XB13 this year, but since it only uses one controller, the sound quality is limited and not particularly clear.

Instead, you can enjoy the Sony SRS-XB23 or UE Wonderboom 2

The Sony SRS-XB23, the big brother of the XB13, hits the sweet spot in price and performance, offering more expansive and refined sound for a little more money. We recommend this or the Wonderboom 2 over the XB13 in almost every scenario.

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