Sony has been stepping up its audio game as of late: aside from the well-regarded WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones and the equally-good (but more compact) WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds, Sony’s line of portable Bluetooth speakers deserve some attention too.
Two of its new models —the XtraBass XB22 and XtraBass XB32—are capsule-shaped speakers that sport funky lighting options that go with the music, along with drivers that deliver that trademark Sony XtraBass sound.
Both speakers connect using Sony’s App and come with an IP67 rating. They have the same build as well: rubberized coating on the case and a fabric grille protecting the drivers.
Being water-resistant, both Bluetooth speakers sport a flap at the back. Underneath the flap are buttons for wireless party chain and battery status, a MicroUSB port, and a 3.5mm jack. The bigger XB32 has a USB-A port that lets you top up your device in case it runs out of juice in the middle of a party sesh.
Both the XB22 and XB32 come with Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC for hassle-free pairing with your devices. They also support LDAC, which is a plus for audiophiles who intend to play high bitrate music.
As for battery like, the XB22 is rated for 12 hours while the XB32 can go for as long as 24 hours. On real life use, with the LED lights and XtraBass/Live Sound on, the XB32 lasted for around 15 hours, while the XB22 endured for around 8 hours. Both don’t have fast charging, which can be a chore for the XB32: topping up the battery can take around five hours.
While the XB22 is smaller than the XB32, it is hard to differentiate the sound quality between the two. Both sport dual drivers and a passive bass radiator, though the XB32 has punchier audio due to its larger 48mm drivers compared to the XB22’s 42mm drivers.
Aside from Sony’s trademark XtraBass feature, both the XB22 and XB32 come with Live Sound, which tweaks the EQ to deliver a 3-dimensional sound that replicates the feeling of being in the middle of a music festival.
Aside from size, the main difference between the XB22 and XB32 are its LED lights. The XB22 is limited to two white LED lights, while the XB32 sports an RGB LED light strip that can be programmed via Sony’s Fiestable app.
While both speakers are shock-resistant, you should be careful with the strip holding the LEDs as they can crack upon impact.
A quirky feature of both Bluetooth speakers is Party Booster, where you can program certain parts of the speaker to produce rhythmic beat effects. Weird flex, but if it makes the party better, why not right?
If one speaker is not enough, both the XB22 and XB32 support Wireless Party Chain, which lets you pair up to 100 XB series speakers for a bigger and fuller sound experience.