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Remember boomboxes? Long before portable Bluetooth speakers, the massive sound machines were commonplace at parties, volleyball courts, pools, and pretty much anywhere you’d want to have music. Now, as part of their new line of speakers, Sony has brought the boombox back to life with the SRS-XG500, which the brand sent over to SPY for review.
Sony SRS-XG500 Bluetooth Speaker: What We Liked
The XG500 is a continuation of Sony’s X-series speaker line, which features a special bit of Sony-developed tech that allows for a fuller, richer, clearer, and more powerful sound thanks to the x-shaped unit inside. The major difference with the XG500 compared to other X-series speakers is, of course, the exterior package. You’ll notice right away the sturdy handle, polished in a striking silver trim.
The unit itself has a bit of weight to it (clocks in around 12 pounds), but not enough to stop you from carrying the XG500 in one hand. Typically a speaker this big and powerful (more on that shortly) might be too massive, but Sony has smartly developed it to be easy to transport, despite how big it looks. Again, that’s where the XG500 evokes feelings of an old-school Sony boombox. However, unlike your old boombox, the speaker boasts a supremely impressive battery life with up to 30 hours on a single charge and three hours back off a 10-minute charge. The latter is especially helpful if you suddenly decide to have friends over and don’t have it fully ready to rock and roll, as a simple plug-in can give you just enough juice to make it through the evening.
Smartly, Sony ensured the XG500 is outdoor-ready, not only with that handle but also in treating that outer casing. The speaker comes with an IP66 rating to provide water resistance and a dustproof design. Additionally, the outer mesh is easy to wipe clean, making it great to have alongside you outdoors without having to worry too much if someone spills a drink. Other handy features include rear USB ports that allow you to charge a device off the XG500’s battery through one of the include two ports. Oh, and you can even plug in a microphone or guitar and use the speaker an included amp for karaoke.
As with many of Sony’s audio products, the sound quality on the XG500 is absolutely worth its weight in gold. Using the speaker inside quickly fills a room with plenty of fantastic audio. The bass-forward approach of Sony’s audio is present here, making the slapping of the bass line of Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know the Better” really sing. Yet the bass never threatens to overpower the quality, yielding an overall balanced tone across all music; the rocking chorus of Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” felt electric to hear pounding out of the unit. Using the including Super Bass function helped the sound fill the expanse of an outdoor setting too, so there’s not much need for concern about it sounding hallow outside of your home. In fact, using the Super Bass meant the unit’s volume didn’t need to crack its upper register to provide a loud, quality output.
Sony SRS-XG500 Bluetooth Speaker: What We Didn’t Like
The XG500 is such an impressive product that our qualms with it will likely fall into the nit-pick territory. The unit’s price makes it less an impulse purchase and means it’s something you’ll have to think about for a bit. Additionally, the XG500 is large enough that you’ll need some space to carry it. Toting it to a party is absolutely doable, but it’ll need to sit in your lap or in on the seat next to you. This might be a turn-off for some, especially those living in cities where space is tight.
The Verdict: The SRS-XG500 Is Big, Bold and Ready for Just About Everything
Whether you need to make sure you’ve got something that can truly fill an outdoor space or just want a loudspeaker to crank up at a house party, the SRS-XG500 will wonderfully satisfy your needs with a loud yet balanced sound. Between its portability, impressive battery life, smart features, and that superior Sony sound, it’s likely the only speaker you’ll ever need.