Sony SRS-XB13 Review: A small and hardy speaker for outdoor use

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In India, the Sony SRS-XB13 was launched on World Music Day. Discovering an audio product with the Sony emblem is as thrilling as ever. All of the necessary directions are literally on the very high flap, exhibiting learn how to use the strap and buckle in several configurations. The field incorporates the speaker in a padded bag, a twelve-inch USB Kind-C charging cable, a pictorial instruction guide, a textual content reference information, and a guaranty card (legitimate for one yr). The speaker itself is in a mushy cloth bag.

Construct and design

The speaker is three and a half inches tall, three inches extensive and weighs about 250 grams. It’s a small and gentle speaker designed for outdoor use. The speaker is gentle sufficient and the shape issue is compact sufficient that it does not really feel like an additional burden when it is packed into your bag for your subsequent journey. In truth, it is small and gentle sufficient to hold out of your hand for brief excursions.

On the high is the primary upward-facing driver, but it surely’s the underside half that makes the design of the system a bit completely different. Beneath the downward-facing system is a passive heatsink, which is a brilliant however apparent place to position it in such a small kind issue. This passive driver is powered by air stress and depends on electrical manipulation of the primary driver to offer further low-end punch. The membrane is now inside a railing that lifts it off the bottom, directing the sound down and then in all instructions. These rails sit half an inch above the bottom, and customers must be a bit cautious to not get an excessive amount of dust and grime between the rails and the passive driver, although it is pretty simple to scrub with the headphones. Sony recommends not putting the audio system immediately on free sand.


There is a handy strap that may be hooked up to the facet of the bag in two configurations: one the place the speaker hangs off the facet, and one other the place it is extra securely hooked up at two factors. There’s an S-clamp, which is a reasonably intelligent design that means that you can rapidly change between the 2 configurations, permitting the speaker to be simply held on every part from bushes to gear hooks in tents. Each the strap and the clip appear robust sufficient and greater than able to withstanding a couple of pulls and jerks with out breaking. The simple-to-clean textured strap will get soiled rapidly because it simply traps dust or sand from the edges of the bushes. Additionally, it’s a lot simpler to modify between configurations when the belt is dry, pulling the clip out and pushing it by way of the slots across the backside is tougher and time consuming when the belt is moist.

The speaker is waterproof and dustproof with an IP67 ranking. We examined it within the rain and encountered no issues. The unit is straightforward to scrub, and throughout a lightweight however fixed rain, when the speaker is pointed straight up, the grille doesn’t retain an excessive amount of water. Turning it the wrong way up for an hour or so is sufficient to do away with any drips. The speaker itself feels stable and is sort of passable as a rugged outdoor speaker when it comes to construct high quality. The speaker end does not appear to scratch simply. When you drop it right into a pool, it would float however sink barely for about fifteen seconds. The speaker appears to shake off small droplets of water simply, and it does not have an effect on the sound high quality if it is moist.


The ability and quantity buttons are positioned on a rubber strip on the base of the system with a canopy that opens to the USB Kind-C port. This valve is positioned proper below the strap, which is, if you consider it, the most effective place for it. This ensures that if the speaker is hanging from someplace and charging on the similar time, the facility cable conveniently stands proud of the port proper below the strap, with out being pressed towards some other floor or hanging awkwardly the place it might get caught on one thing and come undone.


The speaker has solely the mandatory options for its supposed operate, stripping away all pointless bells and whistles. There is no Wi-Fi connectivity or voice assistant help, and the companion app does not work with this specific mannequin. Having the ability to add a speaker to the Sony Music Middle app can be extremely useful for checking battery life and making it simpler to attach two units for stereo sound. The one characteristic we’d have preferred to have within the speaker was help for the Sony Music Middle app, if solely to take a look at the system’s battery capability. Fortuitously, the system makes up for it with an extended battery life and a devoted LED indicator that exhibits it wants charging.

Nonetheless, we expect the strap is a standout characteristic because it’s actually comfy and means that you can creatively place the speaker in other places, making it extremely versatile. In a confined area with restricted ground area, reminiscent of inside tents, the flexibility to hold the speaker is admittedly helpful, however this characteristic is used even in a room the place the speaker may be simply held on a tripod in the midst of the room (permitting the speaker to fill it) or from the handles of the cabinets or hooks near the ceiling (nice for creating environment). So even if you happen to’re heading out and staying in a lodge, it is a handy and versatile journey speaker.


There’s additionally Google Quick Pair know-how, which permits super-fast pairing with Android units utilizing Bluetooth Low Power. This really works like magic on some supported Android units the place you get a notification in your system if the speaker is on someplace close by. Click on on it as soon as and it connects.

Not like the SRS-XB12, the SRS-XB13 does not have an audio jack enter, which we do not miss in any respect, but it surely does make the unit rating decrease within the options division. Having a line-in jack is a giant plus for an exterior speaker, as trackers are inclined to use devoted music gamers to preserve their smartphone batteries.


The one different characteristic the speaker gives is a microphone that means that you can reply calls. The microphone is positioned under the management buttons, and at a distance it doesn’t work very properly. You may use it at arm’s size with out elevating your voice, however you may end up grabbing it and talking into the mic to make it clearer, so it is not one thing you may use, but it surely’s a purposeful different in case your cellphone is charging in one other place The advantage of utilizing audio system this manner is how loud you can also make the incoming voice and it additionally permits a gaggle of individuals to collect across the system to speak.


One of many issues that you must take note of is the position of the speaker. For instance, in a tent it’s a lot better to position it down in direction of you, and if hanging on an umbrella (that is doable!), it’s higher to position it inside. Particularly at low volumes, there’s a noticeable distinction in terms of which path the audio system are going through. Nonetheless, the strap, which lets you rapidly and simply change between configurations, makes this half simple to handle. The strap additionally offers some area across the speaker, which makes it sound higher when it hangs slowly. Given the speaker’s small measurement, it is easy to push it into corners and partitions the place it may’t sound pretty much as good.


Battery life is admittedly good. We performed it at about fifty % quantity and it lasted over a day of steady playback, properly above the 16 hours on the field that we estimate at increased volumes. It is the type of battery life you want while you’re touring, however because it will not be operating on a regular basis, it is secure to say that this speaker will simply final a weekend without having to be recharged. Whereas we suspect battery life will inevitably degrade over time, it appears to final without end out of the field, which is precisely what customers anticipate from outdoor gear. There are low battery indicators on the facet of the system.


The Bluetooth connection sometimes drops, the audio performs intermittently or is distorted. When this occurs, turning the system off and on is normally sufficient to repair the issue, which is uncommon anyway. Turning the system off and on and connecting is a snap, the facility button is about to show off while you let go, so even very brief presses are superb (do not press whereas it is turning off, it will not work). Pairing is tremendous quick on each Home windows and iPhone, and even quicker on Android units.

Whenever you maintain the speaker throughout playback, you may really feel the facility of the primary driver. The case below the passive radiator additionally faucets in time, as does the whole circumference of the speaker. This exhibits that the primary speaker is admittedly highly effective, however there may be nonetheless quite a lot of misdirected power. Highs and mids are crisp and clear. The bass is a bit problematic, though the audio system are forward-facing, they do not pack a punch. It is usually troublesome to reconcile the customer’s expectations with actuality within the assessment. The underside line right here is that the bass sounds a lot better when the speaker is hanging as it’s supposed for use, bouncing off varied surfaces reminiscent of tent tops, tree tops and umbrella tops. Severely, the leaves resonate with the bass. When it’s held on the bottom or ground, it isn’t as spectacular. In truth, in principle, that is the way you’d suppose all audio system had been meant for use after listening to this factor suspended and in the midst of an infinite aircraft. For many who desire a well-rounded sound with differentiated bass, that is the suitable speaker, for those that anticipate an additional punch within the decrease frequencies, it could not impress. Simply do not anticipate an excessive amount of banging that makes the chicks fall out of their nests. The passive radiator actually helps to tell apart the decrease frequencies, that are clearly heard from the bottom of the speaker. At increased volumes, the bass does get extra punchy, however at decrease volumes the beats are muffled (suppose Bjork’s Hunter), in comparison with bluetooth audio system or tabletop audio system twice the scale, which is about common for each of those units. In abstract, the mids and highs sound nice, and the bass is nearly proper, however not overwhelming. At excessive volumes, a single speaker can simply fill a cave, so there is no downside in that part both. It may be surprisingly loud for its measurement.


One of the vital widespread questions we get from our listeners is the mythic soundstage. Since these are mono audio system, they don’t have a particular soundstage, however all devices are expressive and clear. Though monophonic sound has its personal allure, a pair of those audio system may be linked to kind a stereo pair. Because the mannequin isn’t supported by Sony Music Middle, we expect this connection shall be a bit extra difficult, however the person guide has clear directions on learn how to do it. We predict a pair of those work nice as desktop speaker replacements and present nice stereo sound for going out. For our assessments, we used just one speaker.

We examined the audio system whereas enjoying various kinds of music, in addition to enjoying video games, films, and TV exhibits from a number of sources. The audio system can deal with quite a lot of genres fairly properly, however the high quality of the system actually stands out while you’re listening to mushy dialogue and a low-key orchestral rating that is crystal clear even at low volumes. When you usually need to drive to a useless finish, pitch a tent, prepare dinner popcorn and watch a film, then these audio system are good.



The system is obtainable on e-commerce websites with an MRP of 3990, making it a lovely proposition. Given the standard of the system, it feels prefer it’s priced proper, however we want Sony would sweeten the deal for these seeking to choose up a pair. The audio system can be found in six colours, and those that like camo will love darkish grey. The Sony SRS-XB13 is a small, gentle, but sturdy outdoor speaker. With surprisingly loud sound in a small kind issue, further low-end increase from the passive radiator, and exceptionally lengthy battery life, this speaker is good for its supposed use, however does not have too many extras. .

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