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Sony SRS-XB100 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jul 05, 2023 at 11:56 am
Latest change: Writing modified Sep 12, 2023 at 11:25 am
Sony SRS-XB100 Picture
6.2
Music
5.7
Videos/Movies
7.2
Podcasts
4.9
Voice Assistant
6.9
Outdoors

The Sony SRS-XB100 is one of the manufacturer's smallest offerings in the speaker space. This portable Bluetooth speaker is designed to take your favorite tunes with you on the go, with a built-in strap that attaches easily to your bag or backpack. It's available in a few different colors, each with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance to protect it from the elements. You can even pair it with a second unit for stereo sound.

Our Verdict

6.2 Music

The Sony XB100 is acceptable for music. This small speaker can't bring a deep and rumbling bass to shake the floor with bass-heavy music, but it's a fair choice for more casual listening. Voices and lead instruments are clearly reproduced, so it's suitable for many different genres. You won't find any sound customization features, though.

Pros
  • Clear reproduction of voices.
  • Stereo pair available with second unit.
Cons
  • No sound customization tools.
  • Lacks low-bass.
5.7 Videos/Movies

The Sony XB100 isn't designed for watching movies. Still, if you want to check out a video on a paired smartphone, it can get the job done. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, which is great. You may notice some lip-synching issues with dialogue-heavy videos, though, since there's a bit of latency. Some apps compensate for this differently, though.

Pros
  • Clear reproduction of voices.
  • Stereo pair available with second unit.
Cons
  • Not loud enough to fill larger spaces with sound.
  • Lacks low-bass.
7.2 Podcasts

The Sony XB100 is decent for podcasts. Since dialogue is reproduced accurately, it's easy to follow along with the conversation in your favorite shows. This portable device is also great for listening on the go, so you can move around while listening to longer episodes. It gets loud enough for average-sized rooms, though it can't fill up larger spaces, given its small size.

Pros
  • Small and lightweight design.
  • Clear reproduction of voices.
Cons
  • Not loud enough to fill larger spaces with sound.
  • No sound customization tools.
4.9 Voice Assistant

The Sony XB100 doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. However, you can pair it to a smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant capabilities to use these features through these third-party devices. It struggles to pick up on your commands from further away, but as long as you're close to the speaker, it can make out your voice.

Pros
  • Clear reproduction of voices.
Cons
  • No built-in voice assistant.
  • Struggles to hear you from further away.
6.9 Outdoors

The Sony XB100 is fair for outdoor use. This speaker is great for those who want a really small and lightweight device that'll fit right in the palm of your hand. The built-in carrying strap lets you attach the speaker to a bag or backpack; you can even remove this if you like. Plus, the speaker is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance and floats in water, so you don't have to be too nervous around the elements. That said, since it isn't very big, it doesn't get loud enough to fill up your backyard with sound like some other speakers, and it's missing a bit of low-bass in the mix.

Pros
  • IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
  • Small and lightweight design.
Cons
  • Not loud enough to fill larger spaces with sound.
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • 6.2 Music
  • 5.7 Videos/Movies
  • 7.2 Podcasts
  • 4.9 Voice Assistant
  • 6.9 Outdoors
  1. Updated Sep 12, 2023: Added market comparison for the Bushnell Wingman Mini in the App box.
  2. Updated Jul 05, 2023: Review published.
  3. Updated Jun 29, 2023: Early access published.
  4. Updated Jun 27, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  5. Updated Jun 01, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  6. Updated May 17, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony SRS-XB100 is available in many colors, including Black, Blue, Light Gray, and Orange. We tested the Black variant but expect the other colors to perform similarly. You can even see the label for our model here.

If you come across another version of this speaker, let us know in the forums so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Sony XB100 is the next generation of the Sony SRS-XB13. Like its predecessor, it's a small, compact speaker designed for on-the-go use. It offers an improved battery performance and a companion app to control some of its features from your smartphone. You won't find more premium sound enhancement features; its sound quality is limited due to its small design.

You can also check out our recommendations for the best small Bluetooth speakers, the best portable Bluetooth speakers, and the best outdoor speakers.

JBL GO 3

The Sony SRS-XB100 is better than the JBL GO 3. They're both small portable Bluetooth speakers, but the Sony performs better. Its low-frequency extension is better, so you get more bass in the mix. Its battery life is better, too, and its companion app makes it easier to control through your paired smartphone. Plus, with a 360-degree design, the Sony has a better soundstage than the JBL.

Anker Soundcore 3

The Anker Soundcore 3 and the Sony SRS-XB100 are portable Bluetooth speakers that address slightly different needs. The Sony is designed with portability in mind, so it's smaller and more lightweight. It has a built-in strap, too, so it's easier to bring along with you. Plus, its battery life lasts longer. However, the Anker offers more sound customization tools, including a graphic EQ in its companion app. It offers stereo sound, too.

Sony SRS-XB12

The Sony SRS-XB100 is the next generation of the Sony SRS-XB12. It offers an improved performance, with a longer battery life and a better low-frequency extension for bass reproduction. With a companion app available, the SRS-XB100 is also easier to control through your smartphone.

Sony SRS-XB23

The Sony SRS-XB23 is a more premium speaker that's better than the Sony SRS-XB100. The SRS-XB23 is a little bigger but offers a better sound overall. It can playback stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and its companion app brings more customization tools to the table, like a graphic EQ. You may prefer the SRS-XB100 if you want a smaller, more portable speaker, especially since it has better battery performance.

Bushnell Wingman Mini

The Sony SRS-XB100 is better for music than the Bushnell Wingman Mini. They're both small and portable Bluetooth speakers, but the Sony's sound quality is better, and it offers a better low-frequency extension for more rumble in the low-bass. Plus, its 360-degree design offers a better soundstage. Its battery life lasts longer, and the speaker supports voice assistants through a paired smartphone. However, the Bushnell speaker's golf-centric companion app may be more suitable for those who want to listen to music while they golf.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Sony XB100 is a small, lightweight speaker with a similar design to the Sony SRS-XB12. It's meant to sit vertically, with the driver situated on top, and you can hang it in this position from your bag using the built-in strap. The strap is detachable, too.

9.5
Design
Portability
Volume
32 inยณ (523 cmยณ)
Weight
0.4 lbs (0.2 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This speaker is small enough to fit in your hand. It's lightweight, too, so it's portable. Since it's battery-powered, you don't have to worry about plugging it into a power outlet to listen to your music.

8.1
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Yes

The Sony XB100 has great build quality. It has a sturdy feel and a smooth finish, and the metal grille on top helps protect the drivers inside. Since it's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, you can submerse it in water, too. The tight seal on the AUX and micro-USB ports helps to protect them from the elements. This speaker even floats, though it tends to tilt onto its side in the water. You'll find it if you drop it into the lake on accident, for example, but it probably isn't the best choice for listening to music at a pool party.

7.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Physical)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The controls are on the side of the speaker. They're painted white, so they're easy to identify. They're easy to use, too, and there's some feedback to help you keep track of the speaker's settings. For example, you hear an audio chime when you power the device on and off. Small lights show when it's turned on and connected to a Bluetooth device, stereo paired to another speaker, and charging its battery.

  • Power button Press to power on/off.
  • Bluetooth button Press to enter pairing mode or hold to stereo pair to another unit.
  • Play/pause Press once to play/pause your audio or to answer/end a call. Press twice to skip a track or three times to return to the previous track.
  • Volume buttons Press to adjust the volume.

Design
In The Box

  • Manuals
  • Sony SRS-XB100
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable

Sound
6.2
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.77
Std. Err.
4.02 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
76.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.2 kHz

This speaker's frequency response accuracy is acceptable. It's a small device, limiting its ability to bring a deep and rumbling low-bass. Still, it does a good job with most music genres, as its balanced mids ensure that voices and other instruments are clear and accurate in the mix. The extra emphasis in the mid-to-high bass also adds a boomy quality to the mix. Its sound isn't customizable, though, which is disappointing.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.4
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
1.05 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

The soundstage is decent. This speaker has to downmix stereo content into mono to play it, so you don't notice a separation between the left and right channels in stereo music. That said, thanks to its 360-degree design, its soundstage has great directivity, so you can place the device in the center of the table and get clear sound all around.

5.7
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
80.5 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.81 dB

This speaker's loud enough for use in an average-sized room. There's some compression when you push it to max volume, though, so its sound reproduction isn't as accurate. It won't fill up larger, more open spaces like a backyard, though this is expected from such a small device.

Active Features
8.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
20.7 hrs
Charge Time
3.0 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C
Battery Powered
Yes

The speaker's battery performance is excellent. The manufacturer advertises it to last around sixteen hours, and in our tests, it did even better than that, with a total battery life of over 20 hours. The speaker shuts down after fifteen minutes without an audio signal, too, which is handy if you want to save its power. You can also disable this feature by holding the play/pause and volume down buttons simultaneously for five seconds.

3.1
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Speakerphone
Yes
Siri
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Voice Assistant
Yes
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Poor
Ambient Noise Performance
Mediocre

You won't find a built-in voice assistant with this speaker. That said, if you pair it to a smartphone with Google Assistant or Siri capabilities, it can use the technology through your phone. It's not great at hearing you from far away or in a noisy environment, but it can still pick up on your commands with the microphone positioned toward you.

3.4
Active Features
App
App Name
Sony Music Center
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
No
Multi-Room
No

Unlike the Sony SRS-XB12, this speaker is compatible with the Sony Music Center app, making it easy to manage the device from your smartphone. You won't find more premium sound customization tools, but still, the app lets you perform some basic functions like turning the device on and off, checking the battery level, and adding apps like Spotify and Netflix. You can see a video of the app here. You'll notice that the app doesn't let you stereo pair with another unit, but you can still access this feature using the Bluetooth button on the speaker itself. If you like to golf and want a small speaker designed with this use in mind, check out the Bushnell Wingman Mini. Its app offers golf-focused features.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No
7.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
5.3
Bluetooth iOS Latency
135 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
109 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

This portable Bluetooth speaker pairs with only one device at a time. It'll stay connected, though, even if your device moves further away. There's a bit of latency, and while some apps compensate for this differently, you'll notice a delay with dialogue-heavy videos on platforms like YouTube.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
No
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A