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Check These Other Speakers Out
If you’re in the market for a large portable speaker you’ll might be looking into popular options like the Sony XB41 or the JBL Xtreme 2… or you could be looking into the LG PK7 which essentially is a mash up between the XB41 and the Xtreme 2. You get a light feature and a speaker set up similar to the Xtreme 2. So lets see which of these speakers is worth your money.
All three of these speakers are new for 2018. Both the Sony XB41 and the LG PK7 retails for $250 and the JBL Xtreme 2 does carry a premium cause it retails for $300. If you want to pick either of these speakers up I’ll have links in the description below, and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. I suggest you check them out cause both Sony’s and LG’s speakers routinely go on sale, so you’ll might get lucky. And if you want to learn more about either of these speakers then watch their full reviews. And check out the new merch shelf down below.
Both the JBL Xtreme 2 and Sony XB41 are rocking fabric outer shells which I personally really like, they’re able to stand up to bumps and scrapes without any problems. Where as the LG PK7 has a plastic body that does get scratched easily if you plan on taking this speaker on the go with you. The PK7 is also the biggest and heaviest speaker here weighing in at 6.3 pounds. Even though the PK7 does have a built in carrying handle, this speaker wouldn’t be my first choice for taking it on the go with me. If you’re looking for a speaker to routinely take on the go with you I highly recommend the JBL Xtreme 2. Even though it weighs in at 5.3 pounds, the detachable shoulder strap makes carrying this speaker around super easy. Theres even a built in bottle opener that does come in clutch. And finally theres the XB41 which is the smallest and lightest speaker here weighing in at 3.3 pounds. Traveling with this speaker also isn’t that bad cause you can throw it into your back pack and its not going to take up too much space.
The XB41 is also the most rugged speaker here since it has an IP67 certification. So you can submerge it in water and you don’t have to worry about dirt getting inside. Where as the Xtreme 2 has an IPX7 certification, so water isn’t going to be a problem for this speaker but you should avoid getting dirt or sand in the exposed passive radiators. And finally theres the PK7, even though it looks like its the toughest speaker here cause it looks like it fell off a tank, its actually the most fragile speaker here cause it only has an IPX5 certification… so a splash of water isn’t going to be a problem, but you shouldn’t submerge it. And over all im not a fan of the looks of the PK7, its big and bulky. Where as the Xtreme 2 and XB41 are much more minimal, so when you’re not using them they just blend in into their environment.
Now lets talk about ports, all three of these speakers have an audio jack for wired listening and all three of the speakers charge via a DC input. But you can also charge the Sony XB41 via a micro USB port as long as you have a 5 watt power adaptor. And I really like this cause if you take the XB41 to a friends house and if it runs out of juice you can just barrow one of your friend’s chargers, so you don’t have to worry about walking around with a charging cable all the time. And finally, both the XB41 and Xtreme 2 have a USB out which you can use to charge your own devices where as the LG PK7 doesn’t have a USB out.
When it comes to battery life, sony advertises a battery life of 24 hours on the XB41… but with real world use with the light feature turned on and with the music set at 80% volume the XB41 is good for about 12 hours of playback time. LG advertises a battery life of 22 hours on their PK7 but under the same circumstances this speaker is good for about 8 hours of playback time. And finally theres the Xtreme 2 with a real world battery life of 9 hours of playback time.
Now lets talk about speaker sets ups cause all three of these speakers sound very different. The Sony XB41 has the least amount of hardware going for it. It has dual frontward firing transducers and dual passive radiators in the center that shoot out the front and out the back of the speaker. Where as both the JBL Xtreme 2 and LG PK7 also have frontward firing transducers and they also have dual passive radiators… but their passive radiators shoot off to the side. But both the Xtreme 2 and PK7 also have dual tweeters which is something the XB41 is sorely laking. We’re about to jump into a sound test where we’re going to hear the XB41 and PK7 in their various listening modes and the Xtreme 2 is running the 1.6 firmware update.
First off, im just going to plainly say it… I hate live sound mode on the XB41, I never use it. I either listen to the XB41 in Extra bass mode or I’ll use my own EQ setting. But when it comes to over all sound quality the win easily goes to the JBL Xtreme 2. The Xtreme 2 has a neutral sound signature with the right amount of bass and treble. But what makes the Xtreme 2 stand out here is its clarity, wide sound stage, and instrument separation. Both the XB41 and PK7 sound a little muffled compared to the Xtreme 2, but I feel the XB41 still sounds better than the PK7. The vocals on the PK7 are much more pushed back than on the XB41, and the sound stage a little narrower. And when it comes to the bass, the XB41 still beats the PK7. But sound quality aside the PK7 is also the quietist speaker. When all three of these speakers are playing at max volume and playing the same section of the same song… the PK7 struggles to get over the 100 DB mark. And this means this speaker isn’t good for the outdoors. At my labor day cookout people kept asking if we could raise the volume on the PK7. Where as the XB41 is the loudest speaker here but there is a good amount of distortion. So the happy medium here is the Xtreme 2, it gets almost as loud as the XB41 but its sound quality stays together at higher volumes. And keep in mind if you were to use the Xtreme 2 with a wired connection its going to get a little louder as well. Which is good.
Now when it comes to pairing these speakers up to other speakers, the LG is the most limited here… you can only pair it up to one other speaker. Where as with both the Sony and JBL you can pair up to 100 speakers together. But like I’ve said in the past. You don’t need that but if you plan on pairing multiple speakers on a regular basis I highly advise you invest into JBLs eco system. You just press one button on each speaker and it just works.
And finally lets address the light features on the PK7 and XB41. Hands down the light feature on the XB41 looks much better than the light feature on the PK7. The light feature on the PK7 just isn’t as bight as the XB41’s, its not as capable and it doesn’t perform as well in brightly lit environments. The lighting modes on the PK7 is also very limited compared to the XB41. With the XB41 you can choose from a few different lighting modes that will better fit your mood. Personally I like using chill the most. But with the XB41 you can also use the fiestable app to customize the light feature. And even though though Sony’s apps always aren’t the best you can also go in and tweak the EQ settings on the XB41 so you can get better performance out of it.
So in conclusion, like I said in the full review I cant recommend the LG PK7. I feel LG saw the success of the Sony XB40 and JBL Xtreme and decided to combine them and made the PK7. And they somehow managed to fall short in every category. I feel the Sony XB41 is a good option if you just want a single speaker. And if its on sale I would absolutely jump on it. But if you want the better audio fidelity then the JBL Xtreme 2 is the way to go. And like I said, if you plan on pairing multiple speakers together then JBL Connect Plus is a huge added benefit.