Sony XB72 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jun 30, 2021 at 09:29 am
Sony XB72 Picture
7.1
Music
6.3
Videos/Movies
6.1
Podcasts
3.9
Voice Assistant
5.7
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
Yes
Voice Assistant
Yes
Battery Powered
No

The Sony XB72 is a large Bluetooth speaker with customizable RGB lights that can get pretty loud, making it suitable for parties. This speaker can be placed horizontally or vertically and has two built-in handles to help with transporting it, though it may be heavy for some users. It has a built-in telescopic antenna for its radio capabilities, and its Sony Music Center app features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak the speaker's sound to your liking. The app features shortcuts to music service apps like Spotify and the Sony's Fiestable app, which you can use to control the speaker's extra party features. Unfortunately, it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass, and it isn't very portable since it isn't battery-powered.

Our Verdict

7.1 Music

The Sony XB72 is decent for music. With its default settings enabled, it has a balanced mid-range that ensures vocals and lead instruments remain clear and present in the mix. However, the underemphasis in the treble range can make higher-pitched vocals and instruments sound dull and veiled. It also lacks some low bass, so you can't feel the deep thump and rumble typically present in bass-heavy music. That said, there's a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It can also get pretty loud, making it suitable to use at parties. Unfortunately, there's some compression at the max volume that can affect the clarity of your audio during louder listening sessions.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Can be paired to two devices at once.
  • ClearAudio+.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • Lacking low-bass.
  • Terrible portability.
6.3 Videos/Movies

The Sony XB72 is passable for watching videos and movies. It lacks some low bass, making it difficult to feel the thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. However, there's a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking, and its ClearAudio+ feature adjusts the speaker's sound according to your chosen audio. It also has low latency with iOS and Android devices over Bluetooth, though some apps compensate for latency differently, and your real-world experience may vary.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Low latency with iOS and Android devices.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • Lacking low-bass.
6.1 Podcasts

The Sony XB72 is mediocre for podcasts. It has a somewhat balanced mid-range, making it suitable for listening to dialogue-centric content like podcasts and audiobooks, though higher frequencies may sound a bit veiled. However, it isn't very portable, and there are compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound as clear and clean at louder volumes. That said, you can connect it to two devices at once, which can be helpful when you need to switch between audio sources.

Pros
  • Can get loud.
  • Can be paired to two devices at once.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • Terrible portability.
3.9 Voice Assistant

The Sony XB72 is poor for voice assistants. It uses your smartphone's assistant, but during our tests, it struggled to recognize recorded voice commands even without much ambient noise. It did recognize commands from a normal speaking voice, but this isn't part of our testing methodology.

Pros
  • Can get loud.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • Poor voice assistant performance.
5.7 Outdoors

The Sony XB72 isn't suitable for outdoor use due to its wired-only design.

  • 7.1 Music
  • 6.3 Videos/Movies
  • 6.1 Podcasts
  • 3.9 Voice Assistant
  • 5.7 Outdoors
  1. Updated Jun 30, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jun 25, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights Yes

The Sony GTK-XB72 is a large speaker with customizable RGB lights that you can place horizontally or vertically. There's a thin LED light strip that extends along the front sides and a light for each of its two largest drivers. It also has two built-in handles on either side of it to help with transporting it, and there's a strobe light that looks similar to a reflector underneath each handle.

1.9
Design
Portability
Volume
5,295 in³ (86,765 cm³)
Weight
26.4 lbs (12.0 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Sony XB72 has terrible portability. While this large and bulky speaker has built-in carrying handles you can use to carry it with one hand, it may be too heavy for some users. Unlike the Sony XB90, it also isn't battery-powered, so you can't easily transport it with you since it needs to remain connected to a power source for it to work.

6.4
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
No
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

The Sony GTK-XB72's build quality isn't bad. Its body is solid plastic with a matte finish, and there's a metal grille on its front protecting its drivers. It has rubber feet on its bottom and one of its sides, so you can place it vertically or horizontally. It also has two built-in carrying handles on its sides to help with transporting it. Additionally, the GTK-XB72 has a telescopic antenna on its rear for its radio capabilities.

The Sony XB72 isn't rated for water or dust resistance, and we don't test for this. The manufacturer advises against splashing water onto the speaker or placing it in extremely hot, cold, dusty, dirty, or humid environments. They also advise against placing it in an inclined position or under direct sunlight or lighting equipment.

7.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Good
Feedback
Great
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 Sony XB72 has a very good selection of controls. You can use the play/pause button to answer and reject calls. You can also use it to activate your voice assistants, which will cause the LED strip light to turn red. Also, you can use the buttons you would usually use to skip between your tracks to tune its radio. You can use its Function button to switch between input sources, and you can press and hold it to pair your device to the speaker via Bluetooth. When adjusting the speaker's volume, all four indicator lights above the Function button flash to inform you of when you reach the speaker's highest or lowest volume settings. You can use the Add button on its top-right to connect the speaker to other compatible speakers. There are also physical buttons for its 'Live' preset and to add extra bass to your audio.

Design
In The Box

  • Sony XB72 speaker
  • Polarized power cable
  • Reference Guide

Sound
6.7
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-1.35
Std. Err.
4.48 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.7 kHz

 The Sony GTK-XB72's frequency response accuracy is alright. Its well-balanced mid-range ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix. That said, the underemphasis in the treble range can make higher-pitched voices and instruments sound veiled. It's also hard to feel the deep thump and rumble in low-bass, which may disappoint fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop and EDM. Fortunately, there's a 7-band graphic EQ and EQ presets that will customize the speaker's sound to your liking.

Note: Our sound tests were performed with the speaker placed vertically. We used its default 'Excited' EQ preset and turned the 'Extra Bass' on. When choosing the Extra Bass preset, Sony ClearAudio+ is enabled, which is the recommended sound setting for music listening.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.5
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.72 dB
Stereo
Yes

The Sony XB72's soundstage is good. This speaker can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono when you place it horizontally and vertically, and it has a built-in sensor that automatically senses the orientation. It also has fair directivity, so your audio sounds clear from most angles.

7.6
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
98.3 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.20 dB

The Sony GTK-XB72 has good dynamics. This speaker can get pretty loud, making it suitable to use at parties. That said, there are some compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clean at louder volumes. If you're looking for a large party speaker that can get even louder, consider the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3).

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery

The Sony XB72 isn't battery-powered and needs to remain plugged into a power outlet for it to work. That said, there's a power-saving feature that shuts the speaker off following 15 minutes of inactivity. For a party speaker by Sony with an outstanding battery performance, check out the Sony XP700.

1.7
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Siri
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Bad
Ambient Noise Performance
Bad

The Sony XB72 offers bad voice assistant support. This speaker supports Siri and Google Assistant through your smartphone, though it doesn't do a great job of hearing you from far away or in noisy environments. We use recorded voice commands to test the speaker's voice assistant capabilities as part of our methodology. However, the GTK-XB72 couldn't register these commands, even when there wasn't any ambient noise present. While this isn't part of our testing process, it could register commands from a normal speaking voice, much like other Sony speakers we've tested, like the Sony SRS-XB43.

7.9
Active Features
App
App Name
Sony Music Center
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The Sony XB72's Sony Music Center companion app is great. It features a full 7-band graphic EQ, as well as multiple presets you can use to adjust its sound to better suit your preferences. You can also use the app to connect it to a compatible speaker to create a stereo pair or multiple compatible speakers when you want your audio to fill a large room without increasing its volume. If you connect a USB to the speaker, the app has a USB function to select and control the media you want to play. There's also an FM Tuner you can use to tune into your favorite radio stations. Additionally, this app features shortcuts to music service applications like Spotify, in addition to an app called 'Fiestable', which you can use to control extra party features of this speaker.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

While the Sony XB72 doesn't support USB Audio, it supports USB key playback with compatible audio formats such as mp3, WMA, WAV, and ACC. The speaker also features In and Out RCA ports to daisy chain speakers together, as well as a mic input with its very own volume knob.

If you want to daisy chain multiple speakers, you can do so by setting your input to either USB or Bluetooth using the function button and then connecting the speakers using audio cables, though these must be purchased separately. However, it's important to ensure that the first and last speakers of the chain are wired to each other. You can also daisy chain multiple speakers wirelessly by pressing the 'W. PARTY CHAIN' and Function buttons on the speakers you'd like to connect to your host speaker.

8.8
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
77 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
80 ms
Bluetooth Range
234.6 ft (71.5 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The Sony XB72 has excellent Bluetooth connectivity. It can be paired to up to two devices at once, which can come in handy when you need to switch between audio sources quickly. That said, when two phones connect to the speaker at once, the speaker won't receive and answer phone calls.

The manufacturer advertises that the XB72 has NFC technology built-in, so you can tap NFC-compatible devices onto the speaker to quickly connect them to it. Additionally, the Sony GTK-XB72 has low latency with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching movies and videos, though some apps compensate for latency differently, and your real-world experience may differ.

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

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony GTK-XB72 comes in one color variant, 'Black'. You can find the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across other variants of this speaker, let us know in the discussions below, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Sony GTK-XB72 is a large speaker that can get pretty loud, making it suitable to use at parties. It has customizable RGB lights, and its companion app comes with a 7-band graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking, unlike the JBL PartyBox 310. It also comes with a ClearAudio+ feature that automatically adjusts the speaker's sound according to your audio when it's enabled. Unfortunately, it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble that fans of bass-heavy music tend to enjoy. It also isn't very portable due to its weight, size, and the fact that it needs to remain connected to a power source for it to work.

Check out our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers for bass, and the best waterproof speakers.

JBL PartyBox 300

The JBL PartyBox 300 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony XB72, though you may prefer one over the other since they have different strengths. The JBL is battery-powered and is more portable than the Sony. It can also get louder with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. That said, you can adjust the Sony's sound to your liking thanks to the graphic EQ and presets available on its companion app. Its ClearAudio+ feature adjusts the speaker's sound to better suit your chosen audio. Also, it supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't good.

JBL PartyBox 100

 You may prefer either the JBL PartyBox 100 or the Sony XB72 depending on your preferences. The JBL is smaller and much more portable than the Sony. It can also get louder with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. However, the Sony's companion app features a graphic EQ and presets, making it more customizable than the JBL. It also supports voice assistants, though it does so through your smartphone, and its performance isn't impressive.

JBL PartyBox 310

The JBL PartyBox 310 is a better speaker than the Sony XB72 overall. The JBL can get louder and can produce deeper, thumpier bass than the Sony. It's also battery-powered and is more portable thanks to its built-in telescopic handle and wheels. Additionally, it's rated IPX4 for water resistance, though we don't test for this. The Sony is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets available in its companion app. It also has better directivity, resulting in a wider and more open-sounding soundstage.

Sony XB90

The Sony XB72 and the Sony XB90 are similarly-performing speakers with different strengths. Unlike the XB90, the XB72 comes with a built-in antenna for its radio capabilities, so you can use it to listen to your favorite radio channels. That said, the XB90 is more portable since it's battery-powered and doesn't need to plug into a power source to work.

Sony SRS-XB43

The Sony XB72 is a better overall speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43. The XB72 can get louder than the SRS-XB43 and has much better directivity, resulting in a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage. That said, the SRS-XB43 is better built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It's also smaller and more portable than the XB72, so you can easily take it outdoors with you.

JBL Xtreme 3

The Sony XB72 is a better overall speaker than the JBL Xtreme 3, though they have different strengths. The Sony can get louder than the JBL and is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets on its companion app. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good. However, the JBL is better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test this. It's also smaller and battery-powered, making it more portable than the Sony.

Sony XP700

The Sony XP700 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony XB72. The XP700 is battery-powered and is more portable than the XB72 since you don't have to look for a power outlet to connect it to when it's fully charged. It can produce deeper bass, gets slightly louder, and has lower latency with iOS and Android devices. That said, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary. That said, the XB72 offers a wider-sounding soundstage and supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good.

SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3)

The Sony XB72 is a slightly better speaker than the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3), though they have different strengths. The Sony offers a more immersive soundstage and has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good. That said, the SOUNDBOKS can get much louder and is more portable than the Sony. It also has an incredible battery life, though this can depend on your usage. 

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM is a better speaker than the Sony XB72 overall. It has a better-balanced sound profile and can get as loud as the Sony with fewer compression artifacts at max volume, resulting in a cleaner sound at louder volume settings. It's also more portable thanks to its battery life that can last over 23 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage habits. That said, the Sony has a ClearAudio+ feature which automatically adjusts the speakers' sound to your audio when enabled. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't great.

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