According to its official marketing, the Sony SRS-XB33 ($150) will let you “party anywhere, anytime.” If this statement should not be taken literally – no one wants to listen to Paradise City in the middle of a funeral – it is clear that the Japanese manufacturer focused on portability when manufacturing this speaker. With its compact size, generous battery life and outdoor durability, this speaker meets the needs of music lovers on the go.
And that’s before we even get to luxury features like Extra Bass, Live Sound and a multi-color light show. In this Sony SRS-XB33 review, we’re going to take a closer look at the above specs, give our thoughts on the sound of the speaker, and finally tell you if the Sony SRS-XB33 deserves a place in your home, garden. or wherever you want to get off.
The Sony SRS-XB33 looks exactly like what you imagine a rugged waterproof speaker. That means it’s not exactly stylish, but it’s practical. Weighing just over 1kg, it’s easy enough to hold in one hand while carrying it between rooms or when travelling. It won’t distract from your decor either. Quite robust for its price, the Sony SRS-XB33 is waterproof (IP67), rustproof, dustproof, saltwater resistant and shockproof up to 1.2 meters.
This means there is no chance of damaging it. Saltwater resistance is an especially welcome touch considering that sooner or later you’ll want to take this portable speaker to the beach. Using the Sony SRS-XB33 is quite simple. The buttons on the side of the speaker feature slightly recessed plastic symbols that are easy to touch, but not quite clear to see in low light conditions. They indicate power, volume, Bluetooth pairing, live audio mode, play and pause. Everything is very simple.
The XB33 pulls out all the stops for bass. That makes sense, since the speaker was marketed as party-friendly, and deep sound certainly goes with that image (and the LED light show). Sony’s EXTRA BASS series of loudspeakers are designed to produce the most powerful low frequencies possible for their size, and the XB33 succeeded.
The woofers on either side are productive and give the speaker a slight mini-boombox look. In some songs, the bass might overpower the treble, but chances are you don’t want to hear the treble while you’re dancing in your living room. A “live sound” mode is also available, which amplifies the sound to give a party feeling.
A surprisingly robust speaker for its compact size, the Sony SRS-XB33 is capable of meeting many needs. It floats in water and is durable enough to take on a trip. The built-in microphone allows for hands-free calling, while LED lighting is included in case you want to take your party with you wherever you go.
Sony’s powerful and shock-resistant speaker system promises to deliver a great audio experience wherever you go. Included is a Music Center app for Apple and Android that lets you control the LED light show, turn off the lights, access various EQ settings, and more. The app also lets you experiment with Bluetooth connections.
In terms of connectivity, it’s hard to complain too much with the Sony SRS-XB33. As you’d expect from an industry-leading Sony speaker, Bluetooth 5.0 is included as standard, along with support for AAC and SBC codecs. If you have an NFC-enabled phone, the speaker can connect to it with just a touch, making it even easier to access music. On the other hand, AptX is not included for zero-latency listening sessions.
On the plus side, the sensational synchronization functions of this Sony speaker allow you to connect up to 100 speakers in the same zone. That means you can control dozens of speakers with the same music and lights, if you’re lucky enough to have that many. Party mode makes it easy and quick to connect multiple speakers.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the SRS-XB33 delivers remarkable bass boost for a speaker of this size. At moderate volumes the speaker really seems to pump out deep bass, while at higher volumes the bass depth is thinned out slightly by DSP (digital signal processing), but not to an extreme. At maximum volumes there is no distortion and bass depth is still very good.
Sony claims that the Sony SRS-XB33 can last up to 24 hours on a charged battery. We are not convinced. In our use, we found that this estimate drops if you play with the lights a lot or turn up the volume. So this is an estimate of battery life depending on the situation, but that’s normal for any wireless device.
At a party we recommend making sure the speaker is fully charged or ideally plugged in, but you should still be fine if you decide to take it hiking for a few days as you hope not to scare the wildlife with high volume. The strength of the Sony SRS-XB33 is its app support. By downloading the Sony Music Center, you can get music playback options and the ability to upgrade the speaker.
We hope you enjoy this Sony SRS-XB33 review article. The Sony SRS-XB33 is a tutoring product, but it makes no sense to criticize Sony too much for it. There are speakers at this price, like the Audio Pro Addon C3, that combine expert rhythm and responsive dynamics with incredible richness and clarity, but they’re designed purely to be portable, which means they don’t need to be plugged in all the time.