June 13, 2020 – Sony’s punchy new XB23 EXTRA BASS portable Bluetooth (BT) sound tube is a worthy competitor in the jungle of similar products, and at about $100, it is priced right.
Compact and lightweight, default settings provide the EXTRA BASS function. It can operate with simplicity when connected to a BT music source. There is much more to this sound blaster than simple operation for those who wish to go deep.
Unboxing reveals simplicity of design. Other than the XB23 itself, the only other hardware in the box is the USB charging cable, with one end USB-C and the other end standard USB Type A. This arrangement is what my experience suggests is now standard on current Sony products. The charging port is USB-C. Plug the USB-A end into almost any charger, though best charging performance will come from charger output of 1.5 A and above. Charging time at this rate is about four hours.
At about 3” in diameter by about 9” long and weighing in at just under 1.3lbs, it travels well with a battery life up to 12 hours, down to about 10 hours in EXTRA BASS mode. Small, yet powerful. Its small footprint should let it fit into most cupholders. Or, use the included strap to hang the XB23 in a tent or on a tree branch. It’s party time!
Powering on with a press of the power button, then pressing the BATT button XB23 speaks up with its approximate state of charge.
The sound –
Let’s face it, this is why you’d buy one of these or a similar product. Fortunately, the powerful output is as stated above – CRISP and CLEAR. No muddiness or distortion here. XB23 is stereo capable, too, through smartphone settings using the free Sony Music Center app. Twin drivers provide reasonable stereo imaging and L/R channel separation. In stereo mode, position the speaker on its side with the Sony logo on the left. That’s the L channel speaker location.
In the event users have other products in the same Sony line, currently SRS-XB43, SRS-XB33, use the Party Connect feature to BT connect and sync with up to 100 compatible speakers. I cannot even imagine what this might sound like.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have enjoyed putting the XB23 through its paces.
Let’s call it waterproof to the IP67 rating, meaning the unit is waterproof, dustproof, rustproof and shockproof, and can be accidentally dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour without harm. So, let it rain. Let it splash. Let it get accidentally dropped in water. If needed, wash it off with a gentle stream, please. Be sure to keep the rubberized cover in place over the charging port to maintain waterproof integrity.
Take the call –
As if good and strong stereo sound was not enough, another nice touch is the on-board microphone that enables users to seamlessly answer incoming calls from a connected smartphone with a press of the Play/Call button.
As indicated above, users can go deep into features, functions and settings above and beyond the basics. How? Look it all up before purchase through links to Sony’s online Help Guide, also printable through a link on the page. Reference Guide link. Operating Instructions link.
Sony is to be commended for providing consistency with available online product information. Covered by a standard Sony one-year warranty.
Yes, I recommend this Sony XB23. Available in five colors at Amazon! Nicely done, Sony.