Sony XE300 Bluetooth Speaker Evaluate: Good, however Might Be Higher

Score:
7/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Scorching Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Professionals, Tons Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However Not Greatest-In-Class
  • 8 – Incredible, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Value: $148

Sony is a family title in terms of audio merchandise, and I’ve been testing its newest rugged SRS-XE300 X-Sequence Bluetooth speaker because it was introduced earlier this summer season. For $199, I had reasonably excessive expectations. And whereas it’s an honest speaker with booming bass and a rugged design, I’ve combined emotions.

This moveable Bluetooth speaker has all of the makings for a terrific product. It’s rugged, water resistant, has wonderful controls, quick charging over USB-C, and even doubles as a speakerphone. However how does it sound, and do you have to purchase it vs. the competitors? Learn on for our full overview.

And What We Do not

  • Cumbersome design
  • Slim and uneven soundstage
  • Max quantity struggles

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What’s within the Field?

Sony’s rugged new XE300 is available in a small, recyclable and unassuming field, and there isn’t a lot to it. On the within, you’ll discover a common USB to USB-C cable for charging, the person handbook, setup directions, and that’s about it.

Needless to say it doesn’t include a wall charger, simply the cable, so that you’ll need to plug it into one thing else to reap the benefits of the quick charging. Most of us have a wall plug lately, however it’s odd Sony selected to go away that out.

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Construct High quality & Design

The brand new X-Sequence from Sony is available in three completely different sizes and fashions. There’s a small XE200, the XE300 we’re reviewing, and a much bigger costly XG300.

The Sony XE300 has wonderful construct high quality general and feels very stable. The corporate makes use of your typical cloth end for the grill, with each different floor lined in a soft-touch rubberized silicone. In consequence, it’s shockproof, IP67 mud and water resistant, and a sturdy gadget. You’ll be able to take it tenting, exterior throughout a BBQ, and it’ll match proper in by the pool. Sony says it’s water resistant as much as a meter of water for half-hour. It’s even salt water-proof. You’ll additionally discover the USB-C charging port behind an enormous rubber flap, which is good.

Whereas I really like this factor’s sturdiness, the pentagon form is a bit odd. The form makes it fairly onerous to carry with one hand in comparison with most audio system on this dimension and worth vary. It’s additionally fairly huge. At first, I wasn’t certain if I ought to stand it up or lay it horizontally for listening. Nevertheless, it’s designed as a stand-up speaker.

I additionally want the design had extra cloth for sound output somewhat than nearly all the gadget lined in rubber. Nevertheless, Sony says it doesn’t want an enormous grill because of its “Line-Form Diffuser” expertise that claims to ship a large listening space down all the size of the speaker entrance and a full 180 levels, however extra on that in a minute.

Sony says the pentagon design makes it simple to “seize and go,” however it’s roughly twice the dimensions and heavier than many cylinder Bluetooth moveable audio system I’ve used through the years. It’ll take up loads of room in your backpack or seaside bag, that’s for certain.

How Does it Sound?

Maybe a very powerful side of any speaker is the audio high quality. So, how does it sound? Properly, it sounds fairly good, however it might actually be higher.

The Sony SRS-XE300 packs two non-circular “X-Balanced” audio system and twin passive radiators for much less distortion and extra sound stress, which delivers loads of bass and high-quality sound. And whereas the bass doesn’t growth or shake a desk, it’s a great stable bass degree. Sony explains the balanced audio system and its “Line-Form Diffuser” expertise this fashion:

“Impressed by the audio techniques used at skilled live shows, Sony’s distinctive Line-Form Diffuser creates line supply and distributes the sound vitality evenly, throughout a large sound entrance, to raised fill your area with audio.”

The distinctive non-cylindrical design and small speaker grills are by alternative, however I’m undecided I’m bought on that. For me, the speaker has a reasonably slim sound, and you may hear an enormous distinction in sound high quality as you stroll previous the speaker. Actually, it sounds a bit flat, with out a lot soundstage, until you’re standing proper in entrance of the speaker.

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That mentioned, so long as you’re not standing behind it, you’ll nonetheless benefit from the sound expertise. The XE300 delivers wonderful bass for the dimensions, stable mids, and highs, and it has a reasonably balanced sound profile out of the field. Then, you may customise all the things within the app, tone down the treble, alter EQ ranges, or allow the ClearAudio+ characteristic that adjusts the output to its environment.

The speaker sounds greatest so long as you don’t go over about 75-80% quantity. On the excessive finish, issues begin to battle, there’s some audio compression, and the expertise suffers. That wouldn’t be an issue usually, however I discover myself cranking the amount practically to the max each time I exploit it.

Whereas the XE300 will get decently loud for a small room, my ageing Final Ears Megaboom 3 I purchased in 2018 will get louder and sounds higher on the prime, too.

Music Controls, Battery Life, and Charging

My favourite side of the XE300 is the easy-to-use textured buttons on the facet. There are LED indicator lights for all of the essential bits, a button that’ll let you know the remaining battery life, and a microphone mute change. That mentioned, I want the amount up/down buttons had been bigger or on the prime, as I’ve unintentionally hit the mistaken button on a number of events, even when they’re clearly marked.

The third button serves a number of features. You’ll be able to pause/play music, reply a cellphone name, double-tap to skip a track, and even press and maintain to activate the Google Assistant. I actually just like the LED lights that blink when pairing to Bluetooth, the facility button flashes once you attain full quantity, and also you’ll get a blinking mild when the battery is operating low.

I didn’t learn the handbook, naturally, however by chance, I discovered a “stamina mode” when you press and maintain the battery degree button. This may cut back the bass and lengthen battery life. Talking of battery life, Sony guarantees as much as 24 hours from a single cost.

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In fact, battery life will differ relying on listening ranges, and I used it for a number of hours three days in a row throughout an extended weekend and nonetheless had 46% battery remaining. In case you blast it round 75% quantity, crank up the EQ, and add extra bass with the Sony Music Middle app, don’t count on it to final over 20 hours. Nonetheless, that’s higher than many others at this worth level.

Due to USB-C fast charging, you’ll get 70-minutes of playback after 10 minutes on the charger, which is nice for last-minute adventures. I’m simply glad extra audio system are lastly coming with USB-C charging.

Ought to You Purchase One?

The Sony XE300 is little doubt a stable moveable Bluetooth speaker, however it might be higher. For instance, my four-year-old Final Ears Megaboom 3 (pictured above) has the next max quantity, sounds higher at these increased ranges, and may simply fill a room with sound. The Sony does, too, simply not as nicely. My outdated speaker can be smaller, simpler to hold, and has huge quantity controls which might be simple to press.

Nevertheless, the Megaboom 3 doesn’t final fairly as lengthy and has an terrible Micro-USB charging port that’s angled, and most cables don’t match. Regardless of that truth, it’s nonetheless my favourite speaker. Actually, if I had to decide on a speaker for the day, I’ll be grabbing the Growth 3 or my JBL Cost 5 over the XE300.

Bluetooth audio system at this worth level have loads of competitors. There are tons of wonderful choices when you’re seeking to spend upwards of $200 on a conveyable Bluetooth speaker. On the finish of the day, the Sony SRS-XE300 is comparatively small and contains a rugged design that may deal with nearly all the things whereas nonetheless sounding fairly good. It’ll be a terrific choice when you can catch it on sale.

That mentioned, the Sony XE200 delivers the same expertise that’s smaller and extra reasonably priced, so that you may be higher off grabbing it as an alternative.

Right here’s What We Like

  • Strong battery life
  • Sturdy and rugged
  • Stereo and multi-speaker pairing
  • USB-C Quick Charging

And What We Do not

  • Cumbersome design
  • Slim and uneven soundstage
  • Max quantity struggles