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Sony is killing it right now. When I reviewed the XB950N1 Headphones and XB40 wireless speaker I was blown away. I was so impressed, I decided to give the Sony XB20 a try as well. This is a small wireless speaker that goes up against the JBL Flip 4 and the UE WONDERBOOM. So, is the Sony XB20 worth the money? Lets find out! don't forget to like comment and subscribe.
So like most speakers in this category, the Sony XB20 come in a few colors. Black, Blue, Grey, and red. They currently retail for $99 and they go on sale from time to time. If you want to pick this speaker up I’ll have links in the description below and i’ll keep them updated so you can get the best deal possible.
So packaging is pretty standard, you get the speaker and a micro USB cable for charging. but no wall adaptor. The XB20 is basically a smaller, rounder version of theXB40. Theres soft touch material all around the body, the front grill is made out of metal, and there are the same buttons on the top of the device just like the XB40. What makes the XB20 standout in the $100 small speaker category is that it has a light up feature on the front of the device. But unlike the XB40 which can flash in multiple colors, the XB20 can only flash in one color. Personally, I don't mind it, and if you want to turn off the lights and save some battery you just have to press and hold the extra bass button on the top. But the light up feature makes the XB20 look great in your bedroom when you're listening to music. And On the back of the device you'll also find that micro USB port for charging and an AUX jack.
Concerning specs, Sony advertises the XB20 as having a 12 hour battery life. But realistically with the light feature turned on, the music set at 70 percent, and the extra bass feature turned on we’re looking at a battery life of 9 hours. Not the best, but its ok. The Sony XB20 is also using bluetooth 4.2 so it can be paired to three devices at the same time, so switching between your phone and your laptop like I do is super easy. It also has a range of around 40 feet, and I did notice the connection did struggle when there were multiple walls between the speaker and my phone. Theres also an NFC touch point on the top of the device, so if you have an android device pairing is super easy. Theres also an add button so you can pair another sony speaker together and get some stereo sound going. Or you can chain up to 10 sony speakers together and get them all playing music at the same time.
When it comes to sound quality, the XB20 sounds phenomenal for a small speaker. Personally, I think it sounds slightly better than the JBL Flip 4. This speaker shoots the majority of its sound through the front of the device, but there is an opening on the back for the bass. So the XB20 sounds best when its pointed directly towards you and against a wall. Just like the XB40, the sound stage is very wide and theres a lot of depth to the sound. The bass on this speaker is very punchy and the mids are very clear. The highs are also very clear, but if you crank the volume up on this speaker the highs will start to ring. But thats normal for a speaker of this size
Just like other small speakers in this category, the XB20 has no problem getting a little wet. But unlike the JBL Flip 4 or UE WONDERBOOM which are IPX 7 certified… the XB20 is only IPX 5 Certified. This means the XB20 is splash resistant but you might have a problem if you submerge it under water. Perhaps the XB20 isn't fully water proof cause of the light feature on the front.
Sony also has an app to control your speaker called Music center, its gotten a little better over the past few weeks. Here you can do things like switch the source, group with other speakers, Adjust the EQ and select between the different lighting modes. personally, I like to keep on chill cause cause i feel the other modes are just a little too much. On down side about the app is that it doesn't tell you the speakers current battery state on the front page, you have to go digging for that information in the setting menu. Sure the speaker will verbally tell you its battery percentage if you press and hold the phone button, but i would much rather prefer have a gauge on the speaker it self.
Aside from the extra bass feature, the XB20 also has ClearAudio+. It might seem insignificant, but heres the thing, it is very hard to tell when the XB20 is streaming music wirelessly or through the Aux Jack. which means better sound quality over all. And theres also a microphone on board so you can take calls or talk to siri from your XB20. Audio quality is decent at 5 feet, but you're better off taking your phone call directly from your phone.
So whats the verdict on the Sony XB20, I really like it. It sounds great and the light feature is nice if you're into it. Sure we’re looking at a real world battery life of around 9 hours and its only IPX 5 certified, but the XB20 is good if you're looking for something for personal listening and if you're not going to be taking it with you all the time. Its great if its just going to live your room. It has no problem filling a small room, but it does struggle when it out doors, but all small speakers do. I think I like the Sony XB20 more than the JBL Flip 4, but we’re going to see after the versus video.