Even though voice-powered smart speakers might be the go-to choice at home, portable Bluetooth speakers still serve a purpose. After all, you can’t (easily) drag a HomePod or Echo Studio with you to the park or the pool. Today, Sony revealed a trio of redesigned options in its Extra Bass line with updates to sound quality and design. The three models — SRS-XB23, SRS-XB33 and SRS-XB43 — are priced at $100, $150 and $250 respectively, so there should be something that fits your budget. So long as the features meet your needs, of course.
In order to enhance the Extra Bass tone the moniker implies, Sony relocated the the passive radiators to the sides of the speakers (or top and bottom of the XB23). The company says it achieved punchier bass by switching to “non-circular” diaphragms for increased sound pressure and reduced distortion. On the XB23 and XB33, these components are oval shaped, while on the XB43 they’re more rectangular. The pricey XB43 also features a 2-way speaker setup that combines a woofer and tweeter for fuller sound. And like previous models, Sony brought back its Live Sound mode that simulates 3D audio as if you were hearing an artist in person. You can also place all three speakers vertically, not just the cylindrical XB23.
To protect your investment when you venture outside, all three of these new speakers are IP67 rated dustproof, water resistant and rustproof. What’s more, the XB23 and XB33 are also shockproof, so they should be able to withstand “knocks, bumps and scrapes” that are unavoidable when you’re spending time outdoors. Similar to previous Extra Bass models, the XB33 and XB43 feature built-in lights for Sony’s Fiestable and Music Center apps. You can use that software to sync the lighting to the beat, change the color or turn it off completely. Sony also redesigned the lighting overall. Instead of a multi-color frame that wraps the entire face of the speakers, now there are two light bars on the sides of the front to compliment the illuminated speakers inside. And yes, the Party Connect feature is back, which allows you to connect up to 100 compatible speakers (which is limited to these three models) as you see fit.
In terms of battery life, Sony says the XB33 and XB43 will last up to 24 hours on a charge. The compact XB23 has up to 12 hours of battery life. The larger XB33 and XB43 can also be used to charge your phone or other devices, and they both offer NFC pairing if that’s something you prefer to use.