Sony XB12 Review

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This year at CES 2019, Sony announced their new Sony XB32 and XB22 speakers… But weirdly enough, they haven’t announced a new Sony XB42… instead they announced their new Sony XB12. Its a small single transducer speaker that has a new built in strap that’s small enough to take with you anywhere. But for 60 bucks… I think its a hard sell. 

I wanna say the XB12 is basically half the size of the Sony XB22. And just like Sony's newer speakers, the XB12 has a mostly soft touch rubber body. Even though build quality wise this speaker feels and looks great... I'm worried it's soft touch rubber body is going to be a scratch magnet. But technically speaking, the XB12 has an IP67 rating making it both dust and water proof, just like the rest of Sony's speaker line up. Now this speaker has an advertised battery life of 16 hours... But that's with the volume set to 50% which I feel is boarder line unusable. So realistically with the volume set at 80% we're looking at a battery life of 7 hours. Which honestly isn't that bad for this little guy. 

But just like Sony’s other speakers… as soon as the XB12 gets down to 20% battery, the XB12 is going to stop your music, say please charge every few minutes and its not going to let you raise its volume past 50% until you charge it back up again. Personally, this is one of my biggest pet peeves about sony speakers in general. 

But to charge this speaker up theres a micro usb port on the back alongside an audio jack just in case you wanna use a wired connection. 

Now when it comes to this speakers Bluetooth connectivity. Just like all of sonys others speakers, the XB12 is using Bluetooth 4.2. But unlike sonys other speakers, the XB12 doesnt have NFC pairing or LDAC support. Now that is not a problem what so ever... But I did want to point that out. 

But when it comes to actual performance, even though Sony claims the XB12 has a 30 foot range, in my testing I got a range of about 90 feet. But more importantly the wireless connection on this speaker has no problem going through multiple walls which is what really matters. 

Now if you use the XB12 with an Android device you're going to get zero latency across the board when ever you're watching videos on your phone. Where as if you use the XB12 with an Apple device you're going to get a lot of latency whenever watching YouTube videos and a slight latency whenever you're watching Netflix. 

Now when it comes to speaker set ups, the XB12 has a single upward firing 46 millimeter diameter transducer and there's a single downward firing passive radiator. Now we're about to jump into a sound test, since I'm trying to simulate what's it like listening to this speaker sitting a few feet away from it, the mic isn't going to be directly over head. Also the XB12 is going to be playing at Max volume where as the other speakers here are playing at around 75% volume. If not a little less. 

So obviously... Yeah since the XB12 is an upward firing speaker you're not going to be getting the full effect as you would with a full sized speaker that's actually aimed at you. But sound quality wise, I did notice the XB12 has a slightly brighter sound signature than Sonys newer EXTRA BASS speakers. So even though the XB12 has a decent amount of Bass for its size I feel it's putting an emphasis on the vocals. Now when it comes to Max volume, I feel the XB12 is only worth using if you're using it at 80% volume and up. But I feel the XB12 is a great little indoor speaker cause over all it does sound pretty good. It sounds full and distortion isn’t a problem at higher volumes. And I also noticed the XB12 manages to get slightly louder than the JBL clip 3 which has been my go to Podcast machine for the last year or so. 

But unlike the CLIP 3, the XB12 can be paired up with another XB12 speaker so you can get left and right stereo sound going. But don't get confused, the XB12 can not be paired up with Sony's other speakers like the xb22, XB32, or XB41. It would have been awesome if the XB12 could pair up with Sony's larger speakers... But it can't. And also, unlike Sony’s other speakers, the XB12 can’t connect to Sony’s music center app which means you can’t directly change its EQ. If you wanna change its EQ you’re going to need to use a third party app. 

So over all, for its size… the XB12 sounds rather impressive. And if you’re looking for a little tiny speaker to use in the shower, or clip on you while you’re out on a hike it think the XB12 is pretty decent. Especially since it does get fairly loud and its real world battery life of 7 hours is pretty impressive. But personally I wouldn’t pick this speaker up for the full $60, I highly recommend you only pick this speaker up only if its on sale or just pay 15 dollars more and get yourself the Sony XB21.