Smartphones don't have the best speakers out there, although we are seeing improvements year by year due top high competition among smartphone manufacturers and hence, having a bluetooth speaker to imporve the music experience is a great deal. You may be wondering, what's the best speaker to buy if I am on a budget? I've got your answer.
The Sony SRS-XB12 proved to be a great "stand out" deal from its competitors. With more than 26 thousand reviewers and overall 4.5 stars, I decided to get one of those. I ended up making the right choise. What's so special about the under-40$ speaker and what makes it stand out from its competitors? I share with you my thoughts!
- Size: 74mm Diameter, 92mm Height (2.91 inches Diameter, 3.62 inches Height)
- Weight: 243g (0.54 lbs)
- Bluetooth Version: 4.2
- Claimed Range: 10 metres (32.8 feet)
- IP rating: IP67
- Colours: Red, Green, Blue, Violet, Grey, Black
- Ports: Micro USB (Charging), Stereo Mini Jack (Input)
- Battery Life: Up to 16 hours
- Charging Time: 4.5 hours
- NFC: No
- KDAC: No
- Controls: Volume Up/Down, Play/Pause, Bluetooth Pairing mode, Stereo Pair mode
- Price: £38.00 on Amazon UK and $38.00 on Amazon US.
What's in the box?
- 1x Sony SRS-XB12 Speaker
- 1x Carrying Strap
- 1x Micro-USB Charging Cable 0.5 metres (1.64 feet)
- 1x User Guide and General Documentation
While everything is packed in size which can be perfectly fit in your palm, carrying it around to your favorite destination should be a no-brainer task. It will fit perfectly in your bag and even in your pocket.
The SRS-XB12 built quality is stellar. The body feels premium and solid; there are no signs of cheap plastics or creaking. It's coated in a matte, soft-touch plastic texture which feels smooth to touch and is surprisingly scratch and dent resistant. A rather understated feature, is the inclusion of a carrying strap. I never thought I would need it, but it is extremely practical and useful for hanging it on shower rails or bicycle handles.
The SRS-XB12 is not a smart speaker, unlike the Amazon Echo Dot 3 which is priced the same. This could be viewed in two ways. I own both the Echo Dot 3 and Google Nest Mini speaker. They both offer intelligent assistants, which for the most part are useful. However, as you may know, both speakers always have their microphones on and use the microphone data to improve their voice-recognition services. If you are fine with that and are looking for a futureproof speaker, the SRS-XB12 may not be the best choice for you, simply because it has no intelligent assistance. However, if you are like me and a little sceptical of having a device residing at your home, listening to all your conversations, the lack of an intelligent assistance becomes a feature.
With this speaker, I can place it anywhere at my home without fearing about intrusion of privacy. Personally, this peace-of-mind is far more valuable than having an intelligent assistant.
The SRS-XB12 is IP67 water and dust resistant. This is achieved by a rubber flap covering the charging and AUX input ports with an air-tight seal. Even if you may never plan to use it underwater, it is a good feature to have regardless.
When it comes to battery, the speaker can last for up to 16 hours of playtime. One thing to keep in mind is that once the battery reaches to at most 20%, the speaker won't allow you to play music past 50% of its volume unless you plug in the charger. Of course, not a bit deal as long as you have a portable charger with you. Of course, unlike some other speakers, the water resistant speaker doesn't interrupt the music by saying "please charge" periodically.
A novel feature if you own two SRS-XB12 is the ability to create a stereo pair between them. I was not able to test this, but it enhances the sound significantly emjoying a richer experience. Keep in mind that this feature does not work on speakers other than the SRS-XB12.
Having used it heavily for a week, I never ran into any technical issues. The speaker continues playing flawlessly past the claimed 10m wireless range, and I was able to get great battery life. But most importantly, they sound amazing. The sound is rich and carries the signature heavy bass of all the speakers in Sony XB (Extra-Bass) line-up. Even at high volumes, you cannot hear any sign of distortion.
I was happy with the speaker overal. Having used it for a week, I didn't have any difficulties with using and connecting it to my phone. The process was convenient and the sound was pretty good for its size. In the end, I found the Sony SRS-XB12 to be a great choice for a speaker under 40$/40£ (price at the time writing of this article). Definitely a must-add to your consideration list.
What we liked?
Bass-heavy sound, Small Build-Quality, Water & Dust Resistant.
What we disliked?
No Stereo compatibility with other Sony speakers. No connection with Sony Music. No Intelligent Assistant.
The cheap-sounding start-up sound does not do justice to the quality of the speaker.
While I used the Sony SRS-XB12 Speaker for 1 week, I was able to get a good impression of it. In the end, if you reached to this point, I would like to know what made you enthusiastic about this speaker. Do you already own this speaker and if yes, what is your favorite feature? Please, let me know down in the comments section.
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