HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

Per­haps the small­est speaker in Sony’s lineup, the SRS-XB10 is part of the Ul­tra Bass fam­ily, and fea­tures a se­lec­tion of fun col­ors. They’re IPX5 wa­ter-re­sis­tant, and fea­ture but­tons and ports hid­den be­hind a rub­ber­ized sur­face.

That’s a good idea in the­ory, but don’t quite work as well in prac­tice, as the con­tact area for each con­trol seems small rel­a­tive to what you find on the Muvo 2C, mak­ing them less easy to ac­ti­vate. Also, the rub­ber­ized sur­face doesn’t give a pre­mium feel to the speaker, es­pe­cially when com­pared with the other speak­ers.

One thing that def­i­nitely stands out is bat­tery life. The speaker has the long­est bat­tery life of any speaker in this shootout at 16 hours; most im­pres­sive given the small size. In terms of au­dio, we were pleas­antly sur­prised to find that the speaker gen­er­ally doesn’t overdo the bass, with good at­ten­tion to the mids.

For ex­am­ple, on a record­ing of ‘Live and Let Die’ by Guns N’ Roses, the track is de­liv­ered with the en­ergy be­fit­ting of a rock song. The piece falls pri­mar­ily in the mids and lows, sug­gest­ing that’s the sweet spot for these speak­ers. It was fur­ther con­firmed with ‘Keith Don’t Go’ by Nils Lof­gren, as the speaker served up a mea­sured per­for­mance with good de­tails in the lower mids.

No sur­prise then that the speaker did best on ‘Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia’ by The Ea­gles dur­ing our for­mal testing. The speaker pro­vides just enough weight for the lead gui­tar to stand out from the rest, and just about gives Don Hen­ley’s vo­cals the nec­es­sary sep­a­ra­tion to carry the track.

It feels like there’s some­times just a bit too much bass for ac­cu­racy, and we could have done with more clar­ity on the al­limpor­tant solo for this piece, but the SRSXB10 cer­tainly put in a lively per­for­mance be­fit­ting the ‘Ex­tra Bass’ moniker.

The con­trol but­tons on this speaker need a larger sur­face.

The SRS-XB10’s ports are hid­den be­hind a rub­ber flap.

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