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Sony - SRS-XB31 Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Black-Front_Standard

Customer rating

Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars with 1113 reviews

95%
would recommend to a friend

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Love the bass on this thing. Very recommended!

    Posted
    blah
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    Great, small, portable Bluetooth, and wired speaker. I was shocked at not only how loud this small speaker sounds, but how much bass it puts out. I wish it had shipped with it’s own charger, it does not come with one, it only comes with the speaker itself, and a micro-USB to full size USB cable (and a short one at that). You are expected to use your own phone’s charger. I have an old Samsung Galaxy Note 4 adpative fast charger (it puts out 2amps) it was a QuickCharge 2.0 charger. It took about 3 hours to charge the speaker up. There is a small amber light that goes on to tell you the speakers battery is charging, but no way to tell how much it is charged. I would have appreciated even a three bar status to tell you roughly how much of a charge you have. Ok, after I charged it up to full, the amber light goes off, I paired it to my phone via bluetooth. I have an android moto x pure, and setup was really easy. Turn on the speaker, then hold the power button down on it for a few seconds, go to your phone (or any other bluetooth device capable of outputting sound), and select the speaker from the list and it will connect and pair. Any audio you would normally hear from your phone will now come out of the speaker. YouTube, music apps, just about anything. You can control the volume from your phone itself as you normally would, or on the speaker itself. I listen tried playing music and wow, was really shocked how loud a small speaker like this could get, and how much bass it put out. Maybe even too much bass for some, but I like it alot personally. I listen to alot of audio books, and this worked great with that too. You can also make and receive phone calls with the speaker acting as a speaker to hear the other person, and also has a microphone on the speaker to pick up your voice too. I didn’t realize this speaker had this functionality. Another feature it has, NFC. If you have a NFC enabled phone, after setup, you literally tap your phone to the speaker “N” logo on top, and it will, A) - Turn on your speaker, and B)- Automatically turn on and select the speaker in your bluetooth devices. I always turn on and off the speaker when I am done, but this was a pretty cool feature. I had my wife also pair her phone, another android device, OnePlus 3T, and she had no issues with it at all. The speaker will take multiple bluetooth setups from various devices. However, this is where I found an issue for me. Once more than one device has received a Bluetooth pairing, and more than one bluetooth device is actively on, one person can basically, “take charge” of the speaker. So if I am playing music thru the speaker, and my wife’s phone then plays any kind of audio, it takes over the speaker. Ok, that was fine enough, but I noticed that once I would be playing audio on my device, music, audiobook, anything, if she was on twitter on her phone, and it happened to be scrolling thru, and an advertisement would should up in her twitter feed, the audio would get paused from my phone. It took me a while to figure out what was happening. I would be listening randomly to music, and it would just randomly pause. I wasn’t sure if it was loosing it’s bluetooth connection, as the phone was very close to the speaker, by the way, the distance from my phone to the speaker can go is at least 40 feet that I have noticed so far during my use. This kept happening I noticed whenever my wife was using her phone. Weird. Had her turn off bluetooth on her phone all together and the pausing of audio on mine just stopped, and all was good. She turned bluetooth back on her phone, this time left it on but not using it, no problem, my audio was not paused anymore randomly. She then went back to her phone, got on twitter, and she realized when she would scroll past a video advertisement, even though it was silent on her phone (the audio doesn’t play automatically), once the video started to load, it would pause whatever audio I had going to the speaker. It would not switch over to the audio from the silenced ad on her phone’s twitter feed, it just paused mine, and never unpaused my audio either. This was not really a big deal for me once I knew what was happening, but Sony is marketing this phone as a phone where multiple people would send their playlists or direct music thru, pool side, at the beach, etc.. So I figured I would just put this out there, incase people discovered this issue too. I primarily am going to use the phone for use in my home. Listening to audiobooks and music mostly while I am in my kitchen, but also take the speaker with me when I go into the bathroom to take a shower, etc.. I have yet to try taking it to a beach but the phone is waterproof, made of a washable fabric, and also dustproof, so long as you keep the charging panel closed. The speaker also has flashing lights on it while using it, and can even go with the beat of the audio, but for my more subtle use, luckily Sony has made a button to turn the lights off in the charging area of the speaker. The battery lasts approx 24 hours, and so far I am on my first full charge, using the phone probably 6 hours so far with no issues. I do wish it had a battery level indicator as previously mentioned. There is also the ability to charge your own phone via a separate USB port on the speaker, which is a great feature, especially if you are out on the beach away from an outlet. However, it does not output alot of power from that USB port, and would not charge my phone at full speed. You can also plug in your phone via a 3.5mm audio jack if your phone still has one, and save on battery power on both your phone, and the speaker itself. Overall, for my use, I do really like this speaker. It has some features I probably would not use often, but the bass is killer!! Love the bass on this thing. Very recommended with a few caveats.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Sony Brings the Sound and the Lights to the Party!

    Posted
    lambda100
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    The Sony SRS-XB31brings life to the party. It gets loud and is bass heavy. It wants to be part of the action. This speaker has attitude with its flashing strobe and mesmerizing light display. Turn up the volume and it can easily fill a medium size room. The speaker has excellent build quality and finish. Weighing in one ounce shy of two pounds, the speaker is wrapped in a high quality fabric mesh with protective rubber to seal off moisture and dust to give it an IP67 rating. Despite it's heft, it can easily be handled with one hand and carried in a backpack. Along the top of the speaker are the power/bluetooth pairing button, volume +/-, and a single play/pause/speakerphone button that also doubles as a skip forward and skip reverse button depend on the number of successive presses of the button. Housed at the rear of the speaker behind a rubber cover is the mico usb connection for charging, a usb port for charging a smartphone at 1 amp, battery indicator button that also turns on and off the speaker's light pattern, a button to wirelessly party chain up to a hundred SRS-XB41, XB31 and XB21 speakers, another button to add a speaker for left and right stereo separation, a recessed reset button, and finally a 3.5 mm audio jack. The 3.5 mm audio jack is a welcome feature as we all know it is close to extinction, but I am glad that Sony decided to include it for older audio devices without bluetooth and for greater audio fidelity. Let's get right to the point...The primary reason to consider the Sony SRS-XB31 is the extra bass feature, and boy does it pack a punch! Right out of the box, the extra bass is the default mode from the factory and the bass is powerful, punchy, in your face, bombastic, and unapologetic. This is heaven for bassheads. It's great for rap, hip-hop, and dance music with deep lows and low mids, but will make a mess out of any other music genres as the extra bass feature will pull down the upper mids and trebles in the sound spectrum, losing out on that crispness and sparkle that make some speakers stand out over others. If you're going to be listening to deep bassy music all of the time, then the extra bass is great. However, most people including myself have a broad audio taste. Sometimes we want the extra bass, sometimes we don't. Although the speaker is marketed as extra bass, the speaker is capable of delivering exceptionally crisp, clear audio allowing for a more tame and respectable balanced approach to the audio experience; But to get it, you'll need to install the Sony Music Center app which features controls for adjustments to the audio among other things. The app allows you to select from one of three audio modes: Standard, Extra Bass, and Live Sound. The Standard mode represents the most balanced and flat listening experience. In the Standard mode, bass is still well represented, but more controlled, and mids and trebles flow evenly. The second mode is Extra Bass mode and it is what comes pre-set from the factory and it offers amazing bass as I covered above. Finally, the Live Sound mode replicates the audio experience as if you were hearing it from a live venue. The best way I can describe Live Sound mode is that the audio from the speaker appears more enveloping and louder, with a wider sound stage offering greater separation between vocals the the music, and thereby creating a more three dimensional effect of the music. I thought the Live Sound mode works pretty good. It fooled my ears thinking that the audio was coming from different directions. To fine tune the audio even futher, the Sony Music Center app also offers a three band equalizer for bass, mids, and treble. Turning up the treble in the equalizer in Standard mode allowed me to get the crispness and sparkle that I was looking for while still delivering a strong bass response. Other things the Sony app will do is allow you to change the light pattern or turn the lights off altogether, check the speaker's battery level, and turn on and off the Party Booster feature. Party Booster is a unique feature where you can tap different parts of the speaker to make different sounds such as a snare, kick drum, cow bell, and cymbal. I didn't have any particular use for this feature and just left it off. I couldn't imagine forcefully tapping on an expensive speaker such as this one for fear of damaging it or causing an internal piece to come loose. The light and strobe feature is great for a party and the app allows you to select different patterns and colors, but it easily becomes distracting. Additionally, it will consume your battery faster. Better turn off the light display if you're not showing it off. Speaking of battery, the battery will take up to 5 hours to recharge from the fully discharged state and will last up to a phenomenal 24 hours on a full charge. The speakerphone function on the speaker works well. People on the other end of the phone said that my voice came through clearly. Would I recommend the Sony SRS-XB31? Yes, I would. It is packed full of features for the price, and it is a versatile speaker that gives you excellent low end bass, but can be adjusted and tuned to offer respectable crispness and sparkle.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    One of my favorite small speakers

    Posted
    TheTechNugget
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    I think that finding a perfect Bluetooth speaker is a bit of a white whale. And, even if I found my white whale, it may be entirely different from anyone else’s—and that makes reviewing these things both difficult and sometimes frustrating. For instance, last June I got my hands on a speaker that from a company, little known in the audio world, that I thought was going to blow my mind—and it was, in large, a total dud. It’s no secret here that I get a good amount of stuff that I don’t have to pay for, so for me, reviewing them doesn’t carry any inherent risks; from my point of view, my reviews might help you decide whether or not you want to try something out, which is really, really awesome. That said, I also think that I am (just like anyone else) invariably influenced by the speakers that I use most, and I use them most because they are the best of what I need them to be. Nary a room in my house isn’t, or hasn’t, been adorned with some kind of speaker technology that I use on a pretty regular basis; my love for technology aside, I LOVE listening to music. And for me, the best all around speaker I have used is the Bose SoundLink Mini II, which I bought a couple years ago. The SoundLink has become my measuring stick for all other speakers; I put it up against similarly sized and priced speakers from the same market, and it dominated in every matchup; I even compared it to speakers in a completely different market, namely a $400 Samsung Soundbar and the latest Apple HomePod. And, while it certainly is not a better sounding speaker than either of those, this little guy has held its own well. At this point, I’ve set up two big things that you might be thinking I’m headed towards: first, the wireless speaker white whale, and second, the speaker that can unseat the current undefeated champion. Spoiler alert—I will make neither of those claims in this review, at least not in that way. Sony is no stranger to the audio market, and I really like their stuff; my first “nice” on-ear headphones were a pair of $20 Sonys that I had for many, many years (wasn’t it nice when prices for good audio gear weren’t so inflated??). A year after I got my SoundLink, Sony released an obviously competing product that had a good sale going, so I picked it up. Sad to say, I was massively disappointed and had to return the product which couldn’t hold its own against the SoundLink. But the audio market has changed a bit since then, and for Sony and their line of Extra Bass headphones and speakers, another product has emerged which I was curious enough to try out. The product is the SRS-XB31, an incredibly Sony-esque identifier. This speaker sits in their Extra Bass line as a competitor (at least in size) to my aging Bose SoundLink Mini II. It has all the minimum bells and whistles—long battery life, the ability to connect multiple devices (up to 100 of them, which seems to be something that no one would ever use), USB power out for charging your devices if necessary, auxiliary input jack, and it’s IP67 certified for water resistance. If the thing looks good and sounds good, we might have a winner. First, the design—Sony jumped on the all-mesh body bandwagon with this one, and it looks great (I have a feeling that many other manufacturers are going to copy this design language). The model I have is all black, but it also comes in blue and white. The black is a classic look to me, very clean. It has a rounded back and a flat front, and there is no question about which direction this thing is supposed to face—so keep in mind this is not a 360-degree speaker. The bottom of the speaker has 4 small rubber feet to keep it stationary while in use, but I would have liked to see an option to set this thing on its side for a more vertical placement as well (since its directional, this should have very little impact on the sound). And if that’s all there was to this speaker, I’d give it a solid thumbs up on design. But, sadly, it’s not everything. This speaker is intended as a party speaker—its goal to apparently liven up the group of rebelling teens who took their Sony SRS-XB31’s down to the beach, to dance around a campfire. No, but seriously, that’s the image they portray in their video. And what rebellious teenage beach party is complete without a strip of LED lights across the top and bottom of the speaker, which animates to the beat of your music? No, I’m not sure either. The light strips are a huge gimmick to me, so distractingly awful that I had to turn them off—which, thankfully, you can do with a button on the back…so you don’t need to navigate through the frustratingly-menu-based app that Sony puts out there for you. Honestly, I was trying to listen to the audio quality and couldn’t stop watching the blinking lights…it was annoying, to say the least. But, for what it’s worth, using the app you can change the light strips to be more or less annoying, even solid colors if you want—so that’s kind of nice, I guess. I’ll get to the app more later. But on to the important stuff: the sound. If you’ve ever used any of Sony’s XB gear, this device will not surprise you at all. Yes, it is a bass-heavy device but that functionality can be turned off to completely flatten the sound profile. But straight out of the box, it’s a device that seems to compete well in the space, as there were definitely songs that I think the XB31 handled better than my tried-and-true Bose speaker. But to be clear, you’re not going to pick this up because you love listening to vocal tracks or orchestral music (although the software-enabled “Live Sound” feature did a good job accenting some of the mids and highs that a typically bass-heavy speaker will leave as garbled mush. For hip-hop, pop, and even some classic rock and roll, this thing is a great little speaker. What makes it better is the Music app from Sony, although I have my complaints about it as well. The user interface is not great. There is a portion of the app that basically impersonates your existing music app, which makes no sense at all unless you really hate the native music player on your device. The menu system is overly complicated, and the mixer (possibly the most important part of the app) is hidden a few menus deep. All that said, functionality like adjusting the lighting, creating quick-launch links to apps like the default music player, Netflix and Youtube, and other small tweaks are all there to help enhance your experience. It’s not a great app, but it gives you access to a mixer, which is always nice to see. Back to gimmicks, I have to mention one portion of the app which is probably worse than the LED light strips—the “Party Booster,” which enables you to turn the speaker into a mini drum kit, adding your own percussion to already professionally-produced songs. Because why not. It really helps that beach party atmosphere. Otherwise, it’s a Bluetooth speaker. There are controls on the device, allowing you to play, pause, adjust volume. It is NFC-enabled, but it doesn’t have the latest Bluetooth 5.0 and doesn’t have USB Type-C charging. It retails at $150, which is really, really accessible for this good of a speaker, and even though it has some tremendously gimmicky features, it does the other stuff well enough to be worth the price…and maybe, MAYBE just a little bit better than my trusty Bose.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Sony With Extra Bass is Your Ticket to the Party!

    Posted
    gadgetguy11
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    Sony SRS- XB31 is a technological marvel disguised as a powerhouse portable speaker! This jewel FAR EXCEEDS my expectations! LIKES: 1- "Live Sound Mode" selectable by free Sony Music Center App, produces an ultra wide spread sound that puts you in the middle of the band. I kid you not, instruments sound as though they are across the room & you are in the middle! Extra Bass is integrated into this mode, so you not only get a room full of sound, you get strong bass, too. 2- "Extra Bass" is also selectable by free Sony Music Center App. It is on by default, and is absolutely fantastic! I prefer "Live Sound Mode", which includes "Extra Bass". 3- Rechargeable Battery features up to 24 Hour Battery Life - Party all Day & Night! 4- Fully Waterproof with IP67 rating to 3.3 feet. 5- "Wireless Party Chain" is another amazing feature: 100 of these speakers can be wirelessly connected together. 6- "Party Booster" feature turns this speaker into a portable drum kit, percussion kit or customized sound. Tap on 5 sides of this speaker & it rocks out with drums, percussion, cowbell, etc. The sounds are amazing; imagine a party full of revelers, each beating their own drum kit on one of these speakers! 7- Dynamic LED & strobe party lights flash to the beat (if you select them to) - they even flash the beat of Party Booster! The lights even wrap around both sides of the speaker! 8- I selected the blue speaker; it is available in Red, White, Blue & Black. I was delighted to see the beautiful lustrous electric blue. So many speakers offer dull colors. Not this one! 9- External 3.5mm input jack for connecting to any so equipped source (i.e. Echo Dot & just about any imaginable music source). 10- Features Sony LDAC (also called High-resolution audio). LDAC is a Sony audio coding technology that enables clear, High-Resolution Audio, even over Bluetooth. It supports SBC / AAC / LDAC codecs, so you enjoy premium sound from a variety of devices from virtually any source. 11- Bluetooth Wireless Range is 98 feet. 12- Lightweight: 2 pounds. 13- Easy size to carry dimensions: 9.1" W X 3.4"H X 3.4"D. 14- Charges using any standard 5 Volt / USB adaptor with included USB to Micro USB cable. No special adaptor to carry. 15- Microphone built-in; this speaker serves as a speakerphone. 16- NFC technology for one-touch pairing with equipped devices. 17- Full onboard controls on top of the speaker control everything without fiddling with the sound source. No interruptions to the party! 18- Graphic Equalizer is built in the aforementioned free Sony Music Center App. Tweak the bass punch & high frequency clarity precisely to your satisfaction. 19- Standard USB 5.0 Volt output jack is built in to power or charge devices, such as your phone, from this powerhouse speaker. 20- Very attractive curved shape. DISLIKES: NONE! CONCLUSION: Sony SRS- XB31 FAR EXCEEDS my expectations & earns my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great sound and some improvements over last year

    Posted
    TechnicallyWell
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    Sound Quality You're likely most interested in the sound quality of the Sony SRS-XB31.  If you love bass, it definitely does not disappoint. Highs and mids come through clear and bass has some kick to it (more on that in a second). Streaming music from Apple Music and Pandora both sounded great, but the speaker does tend to over emphasize low frequencies and can sound "muddy" at time, expecially with the bass enhancement feature on. Using Sony's Music Center app, you can also access the "Live Sound" feature that Sony states will provide a more 3D sound experience with "festival vibes."  Well, I'm not sure about the festival vibes, but what I found is that it does is maintain the bass of the "Extra Bass" mode while increasing the volume and enhancing some of the mids.  It definitely sounds good and I actually prefer it over the "Extra Bass" feature. Bass Performance Sony's Bluetooth speakers tend to be bass heavy and that's definitely the case with the SRS-XB31.  Unlike last year's model, there's no dedicated "EXTRA BASS" button.  You can turn the Extra Bass feature on and off using the Sony Music Center app, or by holding down the Volume Down and Play buttons for 3 seconds, until the power indicator changes colors. Features - Lights: This is one of my favorite features of the speakers, although some people may find it gimmicky.  There is the outer ring that surrounds the speaker on the front and the sides that changes different colors.  There are also two white LED "strobe" lights on either side. You can set the lights to dance with the music, set a more calming lighting effect or turn off the lights completely by using the Sony Music Center app. The lights really do add a bit of a party atmosphere and helps this speaker stand out from other brands. If you don't like the lights, you can hold down the BATT/LIGHT button inside the cap on the rear side of the speaker for about 3 seconds. - Party Booster: You can add some sound effects to the music that you're playing on the speaker by tapping it in different places.  Depending where you smack it, you can add a snare scratch, kick drum or cowbell.  The harder you hit it, the louder the sound.  You can turn this feature on/off by holding the the volume + and - buttons for 3 seconds. - Rustproof, Waterproof, Dustproof: The IP67 rating means you can take it to the beach and not worry about salt water ruining the speaker.  So you take the party virtually anywhere. - Wireless Party Chain: You can sync this speaker with other compatible models to play the same music simultaneously. Works with SRS-XB21, SRS-XB31, SRS-XB41, SRS-XB20, SRS-XB30, SRS-XB40, GTK-XB60, GTK-XB90. - Micro USB charging input: My biggest complaint of last year's SRS-XB30 was that it used a proprietary charging cable.  This year's SRS-XB31 solves that issue with a standard Micro USB input (although, USB-C would have maybe future-proofed this speaker a little more). - USB charging port: If your phone runs low on power, you can grab your phone's charging cable and plug it into the full-sized USB port on this speaker.  The speaker then serves as a power bank for your phone (but reduces the runtime of the speaker). - Phone and Siri support: I found this feature handy on last year's model while the speaker was poolside and my phone was tucked away in my bag.  You can answer a call on the speaker by tapping the Play button.  You can also access Siri or Google Assistant by holding down the Play button for about 3 seconds and you hear the activation sound. You then use the speaker's built-in mic to talk to the caller or Siri. Battery Life The SRS-XB31 gives you up to 24 hours with the lights off and with the sound mode set to "Standard".  However, with the lights on and the Extra Bass feature enabled, you can expect more like 4 to 6 hours of battery life.  So definitely keep that in mind if you're trying to plan an all-nighter.  You can check the battery status in the Sony Music Center app on by tapping the Battery button under the flap. Overall, Sony's new SRS-XB31 speaker features great sound, a multi-color LED light ring and easy pairing for NFC-equipped phones. The optional "Extra Bass" setting does a great job of kicking it up a notch if you're all about the bass.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    One of the best speakers for music!

    Posted
    Namdnas
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    We have had a ton of different Bluetooth speakers in the past. We use all Apple devices and my wife and I currently have the iPhone X and I have the iPad Pro 10.5". So, I got this speaker and tested it on those devices. I'm by far impressed with how these sound for music. I've been a huge fan of the Ultimate Ears brand of speakers and I have finally found an equivalent to that in a different brand, at least for listening to music. For anything that is voiced, such as watching Twitch.TV streams (which I do daily) or podcasts, I still prefer my Ultimate Ears or some headphones. But, these Sony speakers are clearly aimed for the party/rave crowd and music, so, that's what this review will be based on. The packaging is a pretty basic, no frills cardboard box. Inside, the speaker is nestled in white Styrofoam and includes a (rather short) charging cable and a quick start guide, along with some other printed material. Seriously, this thing is short - around a foot or less. It's kind of a pain, but not a deal breaker. It's a pretty standard connection and you may already have longer ones laying around to use instead. As for the speaker itself, this thing is absolutely awesome to look at and the build quality is superb! It's got some heft to it and you really feel like you get your money's worth with it. It looks almost like a home theater/surround sound speaker, with the Sony emblem at the very bottom, center of it. The corners are nice and rounded with speaker cover material all the way around. I'm guessing this is what gives it the IP67 waterproofing and spill protection. Up top, you have a small rubberized panel that has your Play/Pause button, Bluetooth connection LED (blue), volume down, volume up and power buttons. Around back is a removable rubber panel that seals quite nicely. It pulls out to reveal the USB port, battery indicator check light, "add speaker" button, charging port, 3.5mm Audio In port and a reset and WPC button. At the bottom, you have 4 round, stubby knobs that the speaker rests on to give it added support wherever you sit it. I have ZERO complaints about the build quality on this thing! The sound is also amazing. As someone who has a minor hearing issues (I've got about 15% hearing in my right ear), I have NO issues with the sound nor the sound quality of the speaker. This is hands down up to par for music as my beloved Ultimate Ears cylindrical speaker. It's not as great for voice content, but that is clearly not what this speaker is aimed for. So, I'm not going to knock a star for that. For music, this gets 5 stars all the way. There's also the Sony Music Center app that can be used with this speaker. This allows you to to adjust the BASS/MID/TRE, change the pre-set sound mode, Illumination options, power settings and Party Booster. It's pretty basic, but does what is needed for it. Hint - change the "Sound Mode" from Extra Bass to Live Sound. It really pumps up the volume! Also, I'm pretty sure these settings are follow the speaker, so if you pull up the app on a different device, the settings carry over to it. Nice! We also LOVE the RGB lighting around the speaker that pulses and dances to the music and beat. To put it in a nutshell, I pretty much lost this speaker to my wife. She's been wanting an RGB speaker for a while now, but never got around to getting one because it really wasn't a necessity. For this speaker, it was just an added bonus. So now, I will be ordering the bigger, SRS-XB41 model for myself and I can't wait! This speaker is probably one of the BEST Bluetooth speakers for music that I have ever had and heard. The battery life is great and really is around the advertised 24 hours. Depending on how loud you keep it, you will probably be able to squeeze out about 20-22 hours. We will be keeping this for the poolside in the Summer and to listen to music around the house. And when I get MY speaker, maybe we can pair them up and see how well that works. I wouldn't be able to do this myself, but I'd love to see how 5 or so of these, chained together and placed in each room of the house would sound - for whole-home audio. Get this. You won't regret it. 5 stars. Way to go, Sony!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Lot of Great Features

    Posted
    ITJim
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    Review Sony - SRS-XB31 Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Blue Pros: - Attractive - Unique Lighting is fun - Bluetooth easy connectivity - Multiple light modes - Ultra-portable - Rear cover hides controls and external audio input - Cool fabric like texture and a great presentation - Washable - Water and dirt resistance - Great for outdoors and portable party time Cons: - Needs a tweeter - Muddy mid-range and constrained highes - The Party boost mode can inject too much base - The microphone is not sensitive enough for a quality speaker phone - Not for an audiophile Starting with the positives. The speaker is very small, has a great visual presentation, the lighting effects are very well executed, and the volume can get loud enough to drown out a small room of party goers. The speaker does allow multiple ways to connect: physical stereo mini-jack, Bluetooth, and NFC. The physical connections are hidden behind a water resistant, rubberized door. In addition to the stereo mini-jack, there is a USB out that is labeled DC only (charge your phone from battery), a USB-C type connection for DC in (charging), and buttons to check battery level, WPC, and to add the speaker to a network of other Sony speakers for a stereo setup or multi-room audio experience. There is also a recessed reset button. The speaker is water resistant and dirt/dust resistant. Sony states that you can run the speaker under an open faucet to wash the dirt off. However, the user’s guide states that the warranty is void if you use this in a shower. The unit does have the texture of an exfoliating sponge which should encourage me to shower with it. But, whatever… The speaker I picked up is the blue version. It is more like a dark teal than actual blue. Setup of the unit was super easy. I did find that I could still use the Sony App with this speaker while I had another device, such as my laptop, connected to the speaker via stereo cable. The light shows are slick; especially if the room is dark. The top and bottom of the unit have a transparent strip that runs the length of the unit. They can be bright but not blinding. There are also two white lights that flash and/or strobe. I haven’t figured out if there is any real pattern to these lights. They sometimes seem to time to the beat and sometimes not. Over-all, the different lighting patterns do allow flexibility for the kind of ambiance you wish to set with your music. There is also an option to turn off the lights. Finally, I have not taken the opportunity to hold this unit under the faucet. I haven’t gotten it dirty since I bought it. So, you will need to seek out other reviewers for their experience washing this unit. The user’s manual does state I can do this without voiding the warranty. And yet, no shower… I do like that I can set the unit to tell me the battery charge percentage. Nice feature to have since there is no other indicator on the unit of how much power is remaining. There are several things that I think Sony can improve upon. I was able to play my music very loud. I can see the allure to using a device like this for a dorm room party. Anything with base will really shine with this compact unit. However, you will be disappointed if you expect an accurate reproduction of your music. I found that CD quality or higher music got very muddy. For example, “Go All the Way” by The Raspberries (found on the Guardians of the Galaxy CD) has a lot of base and guitar feedback. Driving this song through this speaker sounded like I was trying to play the song underwater. I did play a whole range of music such as, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Meghan Trainor, Lady Gaga, Idina Menzel, Loreena McKennit, Enya, Mozart’s Requiem. I played both CD Quality music and low quality, compressed music from Spotify. In most instances, the music sounded compressed and muddy. I did find that a hard-wired connection to my audio source slightly improved the speaker’s performance. Enya sounded pretty good for some odd reason. She was the rare exception. There is a party mode, beat the snot out of your speaker, mode. I simply don’t get this. If I turn it on, then when I hit the speaker, hard, in certain places, the speaker will make a noise. Why am I being incentivized to beat the snot out of my speaker? What got my attention is how hard I needed to hit the speaker. If someone at my party is wailing on my speaker, then I’m probably escorting them out of my party. Plus, it adds zero value to owning this speaker. Making music loud with a light show I get. And the speaker does this very well. Just don’t beat on my speaker, please. Or, if you are a speaker masochist then a Geek Squad replacement plan should be part of your purchase. This speaker does have a microphone. The microphone is not sensitive enough to capture my voice from a foot away. Unless Sony adds a more sensitive microphone, or the ability to adjust the microphone’s sensitivity, then this is a useless feature. Overall, I think the speaker does meet its use case of an ultraportable sound system that will travel to a party and play music loud. The lighting effects are cool and will add fun to any social gathering. The beast part is that you do not need to play the music loud to get the cool lighting. You will need to look elsewhere If you are looking for a music system that will reproduce your music with fidelity. I believe if Sony added a tweeter to the unit then the music reproduction would be better. This way the mid-range wouldn’t have to play double duty playing mids and highs. I do like that you can wash the dirt off this unit. That way, if you get sand, sawdust, or other particulate matter on the unit, then you can simply wash it off. Would I recommend this product to a friend? That depends what they were looking for. If they wanted a party style, outdoor speaker that can play compressed audio from a cell phone, then, yes. I would even recommend this for a collage dorm room, kids bedroom, or a workshop. But, if you work and live by your music, then no, you need to look elsewhere.

    I would recommend this to a friend