Sony XB22 Review

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Just like the new Sony XB32, the new sony XB22 has gone through a design refresh for summer 2019. But unfortunately, just like the sony XB32… not much has really changed on the Sony XB22 that would want to make you upgrade from the previous XB21. Now personally I do think the XB22 looks better than the XB21… but other than that, Sony we wish you would have done more. 

The Sony XB22 is Sony’s latests small sized portable bluetooth speaker that retails for $100 and is going up against the likes of the JBL Flip 4 and the soon to be released JBL Flip 5. But now since the XB22 is out, the Sony XB21 is now typically on sale for $75. So if you want to pick any of the speakers up mentioned in this video they will be linked down below. 

So like I mentioned earlier… I personally like how the new Sony XB22 looks. Like I’ve mentioned in the past to me the XB21 looks like a stretched out baseball. And also, quick note the LEDS on the XB22 are much brighter than the XB21’s. But like I mentioned in my Sony XB32 video, I think Sony going back to a mostly soft touch body is a mistake cause the XB22 just isn’t going to be as rugged as the XB21 which has an all fabric covered body. Now even though the XB22 has the same IP67 rating as the XB21, which means it's both water and dust proof… due to its soft touch plastic body its going to get scratched very easily and there’s also going to be some water marks that just don’t come out. Now I know some people might not care about wear and tear but I think over all durability is something you should take into consideration when looking into a portable bluetooth speaker. 

But besides looks, almost everything under the hood of the XB22 is basically the same as the XB21. Just like the XB21, the XB22 has an advertised battery life of 12 hours. But realistically, with the light feature and Extra Bass mode turned on and with the volume set at 80% we’re looking at a real world battery life of 6 hours. But just like all other Sony speakers, the XB22 does this thing were if its battery gets down to 20% its going to abruptly stop your music, say please charge, and then won’t let you raise the volume past 50% until you put it back on the charger. 

Personally I find this to be incredibly annoying and to my knowledge there’s no way to turn it off. But to charge the XB22, just like the XB21 it charges via a Micro USB port. Personally I wish this speaker had been upgraded to USB C cause if you were an android user you’d be able to charge phone and speaker with the same cable. But for now, we’re stuck with Micro USB. 

But when it comes to bluetooth connectivity, there are some very important things I think you’ll might want know about the Xb22. Just like the XB21, the XB22 is using bluetooth 4.2 and so is the XB32. Now all of their wireless connections are stable and have no problems going through multiple walls, but when it comes range all of these speakers have an advertised wireless range of 30 feet. And in my testing I found the XB32 was a hard stop at 30 feet. But the XB21 and XB22 on the other hand were both able to go as far as 100 feet, if not more. 

Now I know wireless range might not be a big deal for some people, but I do think its another thing you should take into consideration if you’re looking into getting a portable bluetooth speaker that you’ll might want to use at the basketball court or in your back yard. 

Also, if you’re an android user you’re going to get extra benefits from the XB22 like NFC pairing and LDAC support, but more importantly you’re going to get almost Zero latency across the board when ever watching videos on your phone. Where as if you’re an iPhone users you’re going to notice there’s a lot of latency when ever watching youtube videos and a slight latency when ever you’re watching Netflix. So in short, Sony’s speakers perform a little better when ever used with an android device. 

And when it comes to speaker sets just like the XB21, the XB22 has dual frontward firing 42 millimeter diameter transducers and dual passive radiators that shoot out the front and out the back of the speaker. And for comparison, the JBL Flip 4 has dual 40 millimeter diameter frontward firing transducers and dual passive radiators that shoot out its sides. Now we’re about to jump into a sound test. All of these speakers are playing at the loudness and both the XB22 and XB21 are playing with Extra bass mode turned on, which is Sony’s default EQ setting for these speakers.

Now I will give credit where credit is do, Sony has clearly taken steps to improve how their new Extra Bass speakers sound with Extra Bass mode turned on. In the past many people have complained that Sony’s XB21, XB31, and XB41 speakers tended to sound muffled specifically the vocals. But extra bass modes on the XB22 and XB32 sound clearer this around. And after getting to spend some time with the XB22 I actually prefer how it sounds compared to the JBL Flip 4… I think the XB22 sounds a little fuller. But the thing about Sony’s speakers is that through their app you can easily go in and change their EQ, so if you were to manually raise the mids and highs on the XB21then you’re going to get the same sound out of it as the XB22. But when it comes to max volume I gotta say all three of these speakers are evenly matched. 

But finally, we gotta talk about wireless party chain on these speakers. Sony allows you to pair up to 100 sony speakers together so they can all play in sync. And the Sony XB22 can pair up to larger speakers like the Sony XB41 and older speakers like the Sony XB20… but from my experience Sony’s wireless party chain isn’t the easiest to use speaker pairing protocol out there. First you gotta press the WPC button on all of your speakers, then you gotta go into your phone, open up the music center app, and press the wireless party chain tab. Most of the time the speakers will pair up, but sometimes you’ll get an error message saying that there was a connection failure, sometimes not all of the speakers you intended to pair up actually paired, or sometimes the wireless party chain tab doesn’t show up. And in some cases, speakers will fall out of sync when they’re all playing music causing an echo effect which you can only get rid of by turning off all of the speakers and paring them back up again. Personally, Sony’s WPC falls very low on my list cause in comparison, with JBL speakers all you gotta do is press one button each speaker and they’ll figure out the rest by themselves. You don’t have to open up any other apps and the speakers never fall out of sync. And for those wondering, No even though the XB22 and XB21 are basically the same speakers… they can’t be paired up to play in left and right stereo mode. 

So over all with all that being said, I would only recommend picking up a sony speaker if you only want one speaker. But instead of picking up the Sony XB22… if you have a hundred dollar budget then I recommend you get yourself the Sony XB31 cause you’ll get more bang for your buck, or get yourself the Sony XB21 and save yourself some money. But if you plan on getting more speakers in the future and pairing them together on a regular basis than I highly advise you invest into JBL’s eco system.