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Sony SRS-XG300: analysis in two minutes

oh sony. The maker of the original Walkman is back with another X-series Bluetooth speaker called the Sony XG300, named after the company because all of its X-prefixed speakers feature Sony's easy-to-use non-circular X-Balanced speaker. There's also a new XG500, which is a bit bigger, but today we're focusing on the XG300.

The potential problem for the Sony XG300 is that while Sony, Ultimate Ears, JBL, and Bose have been the frontrunners in our best Bluetooth speaker roundups for a number of years, recently some newcomers and novices have struck gold: names like Tribit and Earfun. they are gaining traction.

So is Sony guilty of resting on its laurels? Did the Tokyo-based tech giant get drunk on its own successes and not realize others were winning? Well the answer is no, this speaker hands down the rest, in every way, but its offerings now stand out like sore thumbs for another reason and the XG300 is no exception. Sony's X-series SRS-XG300 is especially expensive considering the plethora of talented, humble, cheaper and better new competing speakers.

With a stoic Sony price tag of $348 / £259 / AU$479, you can buy at least two similarly sized cheap Bluetooth wireless speakers for that money. So the question is, should you? Or does the smart money stay here, with Sony?

What we can tell you is that this is a talented beast of a speaker, brimming with extra features you might or might not need, and somehow manages to get another to hit the party card in an instant and still look good on your living room. the next day, thanks to a few simple taps in Sony's comprehensive Music Center app.

The most popular name on the spec sheet is undoubtedly support for LDAC, Sony's proprietary "high resolution" codec. Why then? LDAC allows you to stream higher resolution audio beyond CD at up to 32-bit/96kHz over Bluetooth at up to 990kbps. According to Sony, it also allows approximately three times as much data to be transmitted over Bluetooth by using more efficient encoding and "optimized packetization" of data. To put those numbers into perspective, SBC (the standard "vanilla" Bluetooth codec) achieves a maximum data rate of just 328 kbps, while Qualcomm's aptX HD can only stream at 576 kbps. Impressive then...

How does all this translate into sound performance per pound? In fact, it translates very well. The tight, gripping, snappy, exciting bass you get from this thing has to be heard to be believed, and the vocals are beautifully textured and sit at the center of an expansive mix.

Overall, the performance of the Sony XG300 leaves us with no choice but to conclude that this is a very, very good, feature-packed Bluetooth speaker. So if that's what you want and you have the money, splash out with our blessing. However, if all of that sounds like a lot to you and you just want something cheap and cheerful for the kids to play music for in the yard, you might want to look at the JBL Flip 6 or the Tribit Stormbox Microphone 2. But don't. misunderstand us, this is not to bring down the Sony XG300. No way…

At 3kg or just over 6lbs, it's heavy, but the retractable handle is up to the task if you want to carry it around (Image credit: TechRadar)

  • Sony XG300 at BHPhoto for €348 (opens in a new tab)

Sony SRS-XG300 review: Price and release date

  • €348 / €259 / AU$479
  • Released July 2022

The Sony XG300 launched in July 2022 and is available in black and light grey, both of which will set you back under €350 in the US, or nine pounds more than €250 if you live in the UK. So it's not the frivolous "Yes, add to cart, why not?" purchase you may have come here for.

Offers and discounts? Unlikely. And while we wish there was something we could say or do to sweeten and improve it, what we can tell you is that if you're willing to spend such a large amount of money, Sony's offering is really worth it.

For reference, the recently reviewed five-star Tribit Stormbox Blast is bigger and just $199 (about $163, U$290). But it's not better: it's cheaper and represents excellent value in terms of level, but Sony is superior in terms of sound.

It's tempting to think that what you're really paying for is the familiar name stuck on the rubber top plate (which actually turns into a handle), but that would be wrong. So let's get into the why and the how, okay?

Sony SRS-XG300 on a yellow table

We don't necessarily recommend holding it up on a balcony to check it out, but the SRS-XG300's handle is sturdy enough to feel secure. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony SRS-XG300: design and features

  • Elegant construction and finish.
  • Extensive features - some you'll never need
  • LDAC support for higher quality streaming

The Sony XG300 weighs just over 6lbs or around 3kg, which feels quite heavy compared to other models of a similar size – at this point it's about the length of a wine bottle but more espeso; los cintos circulares que albergan los radiadores de graves pasivos y el espectáculo de luces en cada extremo son casi exactamente del mismo tamaño que los CD. Si, lo comprobamos.

That said, carrying it around with its nifty retractable rubber handle helps make loading a breeze, and underneath you'll find very small, pleasantly tactile buttons on either side for power, pairing, and Mega Bass on the left, and play, volume, and call. . -drive on the right.

On the back of the speaker, a rubber cover protects its electrical ports: a USB-C charging port, a 5V USB-A output you can use to charge other devices, and a 3,5mm input for listening with cable. You also get two buttons here: one to turn off ambient lights (more on that later), and a battery button. This particularly nice addition can be pressed once to get a quick voice announcement about the percentage of battery remaining on your XG300, or long pressed to launch battery care mode.

You know how people always tell you not to leave your phone or desktop plugged in for long periods of time because it damages the battery? Everything is related to this: it stops the speaker charging beyond 90% and thus helps to extend the life of the product. Considering its price, it's good to know that this portable speaker should at least work at full capacity for a long time thanks to features like this.

Sony's XG300 supports Bluetooth 5.2 and Google Quick Pairing, so if you have an Android device, setup is quick and easy. But it's also easy for iPhone owners, we pair easily, and you also get multipoint connectivity, so if you're throwing a party, two of you can listen to tracks from two paired devices simultaneously.

Battery life can reach up to 25 hours on a full charge, which is ideal (although keep in mind that if you regularly turn up the volume on your listening equipment to the max, you'll notice a marked drop in resistance) and one charge fast means a 10-minute charge. The juice will give you 70 minutes of game time. It's also IP67 dust and waterproof, making it suitable for the pool or beach. There's a microphone with echo-canceling technology for speakerphone functions, and in case we haven't mentioned it enough, there are customizable ambient lights on either side of the speaker, which emit these passive bass radiators.

Beneath the premium cloth cover is a two-way system comprising a 20mm tweeter and 61 x 68mm woofer on the left and right channels. Non-circular diaphragms, are you crying? Yes, and that's what Sony calls its X-Balanced speaker unit: a non-circular driver that achieves higher sound pressure for high-quality sound. JBL once called their pilot non-circular techniques "race track-like," and we love it either way.

Sony's Music Center app is probably the most comprehensive offering we've ever seen. For starters, it's true to its name in that it actually displays a list of the streaming apps you've installed on your phone, for much easier access.

Honestly, there are so many useful, weird, and downright weird ways to upgrade or change your speaker here that it puts the other options to shame. There's a short list of equalizer presets to try, or there's a three-band equalizer if you prefer to do it yourself. There's also a selection of words (including "DELIGHTFUL" and "CUTE") to choose from in terms of the light show, but that's far from the end of the story.

Get this speaker and we also encourage you to download the Fiestable app which opens the door to various “DJ Control” options like an isolator and a flanger, which, while fun at first, most of us will soon forget to hear their sound. heavy vocoder-style production once.

What's really useful in the Fiestable app (accessible from Sony's Music Center) is the ability to select the color of lights you want to see and motion control. This allows you to change playback with various movements of your phone. Have your phone "nod" towards you, for example, and you can pause playback. Turn it left or right (like shaking your head) and you can turn the volume up or down, and move it like a car windshield wiper to skip tracks forward or backward.

You can also make your phone a color-matched light source to amp up the party in the Party Light tab, or use the Voice Control section (no Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri needed) to turn off the lights, or even say “ Let's go party!" and Sony will give you its best with everything you play.

Again, you may never use some of these features, but they're all backed by Sony's proprietary LDAC codec. So if you have the files, you can stream higher-resolution audio than CD at up to 32-bit/96kHz over Bluetooth at up to 990kbps.

  • Design and Features Rating: 5/5

Detail of Sony SRS-XG300 on a yellow table

Note the two useful buttons to turn off the lights and the battery life. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony SRS-XG300 review: Sound quality

  • Give a sonic masterclass to cheaper Bluetooth speakers
  • Taught, agile and nimble through the bass.
  • Difficult to blur or distort, even at higher volumes

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