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Sony XG500 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jul 15, 2021 at 09:23 am
Sony XG500 Picture
6.8
Music
6.2
Videos/Movies
7.4
Podcasts
2.7
Voice Assistant
7.8
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The Sony XG500 is a well-built portable speaker with an IP66 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It can get quite loud, making it suitable to use at parties, and even has a few party features, including a mic/guitar input and customizable RGB lights around its passive radiators. With its ClearAudio+ and 'MEGA BASS' features enabled, it offers a somewhat boomy sound, though it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass that fans of bass-heavy music tend to enjoy. Thankfully, its companion app features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to customize its sound to your liking. Unfortunately, there's some compression at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound as clear at louder volumes.

Our Verdict

6.8 Music

The Sony XG500 is alright for music. With its 'MEGA BASS' preset enabled and its ClearAudio+ feature turned on, it has a somewhat boomy sound profile. Unfortunately, it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass that's typically present in bass-heavy music, and its underemphasized treble range can make higher-pitched voices and lead instruments sound dull and veiled. Fortunately, its companion app features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Can get loud.
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Middling directivity.
6.2 Videos/Movies

The Sony XG500 is passable for videos and movies. With its ClearAudio+ and 'MEGA BASS' features enabled, it has a somewhat boomy sound profile. However, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you can't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. Also, while it can get pretty loud, there's some compression at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound as clean during louder listening sessions. That said, it has low latency with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching videos and movies, though some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary.

Pros
  • Can get loud.
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Middling directivity.
7.4 Podcasts

The Sony XG500 is decent for podcasts. With its 'MEGA BASS' preset enabled and its ClearAudio+ feature turned on, it has a relatively balanced mid-range, so voices and dialogue are clearly and accurately reproduced. That said, the underemphasized treble range can make higher-pitched voices sound dull and veiled. It also has disappointing directivity, so your audio may not sound as clear from all angles. However, you can pair the XG500 to two devices at once, which is handy if you need to switch between audio sources.

Pros
  • Can get loud.
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Middling directivity.
2.7 Voice Assistant

The Sony XG500 doesn't support voice assistants.

7.8 Outdoors

The Sony XG500 is very good for outdoor use. This well-built portable Bluetooth speaker is rated IP66 for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. It can last over 25 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage habits, and your experience may vary. Additionally, it can get pretty loud, making it suitable to use at large parties. Unfortunately, there's some compression at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clean at louder volumes.

Pros
  • Can get loud.
  • IP66 rating for dust and water resistance.
  • Mic/guitar input.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • 6.8 Music
  • 6.2 Videos/Movies
  • 7.4 Podcasts
  • 2.7 Voice Assistant
  • 7.8 Outdoors
  1. Updated Jul 15, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 12, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights Yes

The Sony SRS-XG500 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that looks somewhat similar to the JBL Boombox 2. Its physical controls are on the top right, and the speaker is meant to sit horizontally. It has a large built-in carrying handle to help with transporting it and has customizable RGB lights on its sides, surrounding its passive radiators.

8.2
Design
Portability
Volume
1,509 inยณ (24,725 cmยณ)
Weight
12.1 lbs (5.5 kg)
Power Source
AC & Battery
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Sony XG500 is very portable. While it's a little bit large, it has a built-in handle you can use to carry it around with you with one hand. It's also battery-powered, so you can take it outdoors with you without needing to plug it into a power outlet.

7.9
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Waterproof (IPx6)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The Sony SRS-XG500 has very good build quality and feels pretty solid, though it doesn't feel as premium as it looks. Its plastic body is mostly wrapped by a tight-fitting fabric. Its built-in carrying handle is made of plastic that feels hollow on the inside, and there are RGB lights around its passive radiators. There's also a flap protecting the ports on its rear, and the speaker is rated IP66 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this.

7.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The Sony XG500 has a decent selection of physical, texturized controls that are pretty easy to use. On top, you can find controls for the speaker's basic functions like its power, Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, and volume buttons. The indicator light under the power button lights up when the speaker is charging and flashes slowly when its battery is running low. You can double press the play/pause button to skip to your next track and triple press it to backtrack. Also, you can press and hold its 'MEGA BASS' preset button to enable the speaker's 'Stamina' mode when you want to conserve its battery. This will cause its indicator light to flash orange.

On the rear of the speaker, you can find the Party Connect button, which you can use to connect to multiple other compatible speakers. Its battery button informs you of its battery level, and you can press the 'Light' button when you want to turn its side RGB lights on. There's also a mic/guitar input with its very own volume knob, and there's a 'Guitar' Mode button you can enable when connecting your speaker to an external guitar.

Design
In The Box

  • Sony XG500
  • Power cable
  • Power adapter
  • Reference Guide

Sound
6.6
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-1.66
Std. Err.
4.13 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
49.7 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
8.2 kHz

The Sony SRS-XG500 has a fair frequency response accuracy. It has a somewhat boomy sound profile, though it struggles to reproduce low-bass, which may disappoint fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop and EDM. That said, it has a somewhat balanced mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix. However, the underemphasis in the treble range can make higher-pitched voices and instruments sound dark and veiled. Fortunately, its companion app features a graphic EQ and EQ presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking.

Note: Our sound tests were performed with the speaker placed horizontally, its 'MEGA BASS' preset enabled, and its ClearAudio+ feature turned on.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.8
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
6.04 dB
Stereo
Yes

The Sony XG500's soundstage is alright. Unfortunately, this stereo speaker has middling directivity, so its soundstage can be perceived as narrow and directional. The overemphasis in the treble range can also make it sound uneven.

7.5
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
97.6 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.29 dB

The Sony SRS-XG500's dynamics performance is good. It can get pretty loud, making it suitable to use outdoors or at parties. Unfortunately, there's some compression at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clean at louder volume settings.

Active Features
9.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
25.8 hrs
Charge Time
2.6 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
AC

The Sony SRS-XG500 has an outstanding battery performance and can last just under 26 hours from a single charge. That said, battery life can vary depending on your usage habits and chosen settings, so your real-world experience may differ. It also has a handy power-saving feature that shuts the speaker off following 15 minutes of inactivity. You can enable and disable it in its companion app.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone
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 SRS-XG500's Sony Music Center app is very good. It comes with a graphic EQ and EQ presets you can use to adjust the speaker's sound to better suit your preferences. There's also a 'Live Sound' feature advertised to make your audio sound like you're listening at a live event, though we didn't test this. You can use the app to pair the speaker to another compatible speaker to create a stereo pair or to multiple other speakers when you want your audio to fill a large room without increasing the volume. The SRS-XG500 is also compatible with the Fiestable app, which you can use to control the speaker's extra party features. You can control the XG500's RGB lights using both apps.

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

The Sony XG500 has a couple of wired inputs aside from its power port. There's an AUX port you can use to wire your devices directly to the speaker. It has two USB ports you can use to charge your devices. That said, you can use one of them as a USB key playback port that supports mp3, WMA, and WAV formats. However, it doesn't support USB Audio. Finally, you can connect an external mic or guitar to the speaker thanks to its dedicated mic/guitar input, with its very own volume knob.

9.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
Unspecified
Bluetooth iOS Latency
54 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
83 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The Sony SRS-XG500 has excellent Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair the speaker to up to two devices at once, which is handy when you need to quickly and frequently switch between audio sources. It also has low latency with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching videos and movies over this connection. That said, some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary.

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 XG500 only 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, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Sony XG500 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that can get pretty loud, making it suitable for parties. It has a couple of party features like a mic/guitar input and customizable RGB lights. It also has a built-in carrying handle similar to that of the JBL Boombox 2. Much like many Sony speakers we've tested, it comes with a ClearAudio+ feature that adjusts the speaker's sound according to your chosen audio. You can even use its USB ports to charge your devices or to play your music from a USB key. Unfortunately, there's quite a bit of compression at max volume, which may affect the clarity of your audio during louder listening sessions.

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

JBL Boombox 2

You may prefer either the JBL Boombox 2 or the Sony XG500, depending on your preferences. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile and has slightly fewer compression artifacts present at max volume. It also has somewhat better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage. That said, the Sony is more customizable with a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It also comes with customizable RGB lights and features a mic/guitar input.

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM is a better speaker than the Sony XG500 overall. With its Adaptive EQ feature turned on, the Ultimate Ears has a better-balanced sound profile, a wider-sounding soundstage, and can get slightly louder than the Sony with significantly less compression at max volume. That said, the Sony features customizable RGB lights and a mic/guitar input.

Sony SRS-XB43

The Sony XG500 is a better overall speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43. The XG500 can get louder than the XB43 and has a somewhat wider-sounding soundstage. It also has a much longer battery life, lasting over 25 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage. That said, the XB43 is smaller, more portable than the XG500, and supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't great.

JBL PartyBox 310

The JBL PartyBox 310 is a better speaker than the Sony XG500, though this can depend on your listening habits. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box that can produce a deeper low-bass than that of the Sony. It can also get louder, with less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. However, the Sony is smaller and more portable than the JBL. It's better built with an IP66 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. It's also more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured on its companion app.

JBL Charge 5

The Sony XG500 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5. The Sony can produce deeper bass than that of the JBL and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It can get louder and is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets available on its companion app. That said, the JBL is smaller and more portable than the Sony. It's also better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this.

JBL PartyBox 100

The JBL PartyBox 100 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony XG500. The JBL can get louder with less compression at max volume, resulting in a cleaner sound. It also has a wider-sounding soundstage and a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. That said, the Sony is better built with an IP66 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. It's also smaller and more portable than the JBL and comes with a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. 

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