Sony's just launched a new contender for the best waterproof speakers crown. The new Sony SRS-XB100 Bluetooth speakers are compact, water- and dust proof and promise to deliver surprisingly big sound despite their diminutive dimensions.
The specifications are pretty impressive for the money. There's up to 16 hours of battery life, IP67 rating for dust and water protection and a UV coating to prevent the fun colours – in addition to black and grey the UK gets a greenish blue and a vibrant orange option – from fading when exposed to bright sunshine.
It's very small – just under three inches tall and slightly wider – and very lightweight, making it a very good portable speaker. And it also sounds better than you might expect.
What's so great about the Sony SRS-XB100?
The big downside to most small speakers is their lack of low end thump. But this small can-sized speaker is an exception because it's been designed with bass in mind. It looks rather like a seriously scaled down Amazon Echo Studio, and like that large speaker it's got gaps in the bottom that work as bass radiators. Sit it on a suitably resonant base and you'll get surprisingly big bass, and the driver on top is designed to deliver 360-degree audio. You're not going to confuse this for a Dolby Atmos speaker but it's really rather good for such a small device.
There's Google Fast Pair for Android users (the speaker also works with iPhones), USB-C for charging behind a rubberised protective flap and built-in speakerphone capability with echo cancelling to reduce ambient noise. And like many speakers in this sector you can pair up two Sonys for stereo sound, although that's not backwards compatible with older Sonys.
Last but not least there's a solid strap that you can use to hang your speaker off your bag, your bike or anything else you can use for tads-free listening.
If you're looking for a wireless speaker for small rooms or just want something that's really portable without sounding small, this is definitely one to consider. The SRS-XB100 speakers have an RRP of £55 and are on sale now.