If any of our regular readers have spotted the relative abundance of Sony products up for review here on the Tech Blog of late, it is surely a sign that the Japanese technology giant has fully woken from its late ‘noughties’ slump…
Under the stewardship of CEO Kazuo Hirai – the former head of Sony Computer Entertainment and the Playstation brand – Sony have returned not only to posting solid operating profits, but more importantly to making products that carry an allure and sense of desirability that they’ve traditionally been associated with. Whilst we’ll definitely be checking out the drop-dead gorgeous new ‘A1’ OLED television at some point, desirability doesn’t just start at the products with big price tags. Today’s review subject, the SRSXB10 Bluetooth speaker (shortened to ‘B10 from here on out) shows that when it comes to “neat and effective”, price doesn’t necessarily have to factor into the equation.
“Neat” is definitely one way of describing the ‘B10, “tiny” would be another! Whilst the majority of Bluetooth speakers seem to focus on portability, the ‘B10 definitely sets out its stall on this selling point. At only 75mm in width and height, as well as just 91mm in depth, it’s a truly portable device, particularly when taking into account its battery life – up to an impressive 16 hours from a single charge.
Despite this compact form, Sony have fitted a 46mm ‘full range’ drive unit, covering a wide range of frequencies and helping to keep the form factor so petite. Coupled with this driver is an Auxiliary Bass Radiator, or ABR. This passive bass unit helps to give the Sony’s sound a bit of bottom end – always handy in any speaker, but particularly in a smaller one. Taking a technical cue from other manufacturers, Sony have ensured that two B10’s can actually be paired together, allowing them to work in a stereo configuration that makes them ideal for boosting volume and sound quality simply by doubling up the speakers. Being a portable device, it’s definitely welcomed that Sony have made the ‘B10 splash-proof. Likewise, the built-in microphone is a nice addition, which allows the user to take handsfree calls from devices connected to the ‘B10 via Bluetooth.
Bluetooth is certainly the primary method of connection here, but a 3.5mm socket is fitted to the rear (just next to the MicroUSB socket used for charging), so those with older products that don’t support Bluetooth are catered for as well. Even NFC (near field communication) makes an appearance, making for an even easier way to connect compatible Bluetooth devices.
With all of that info out of the way, we can crack on with the listening, and it’s here that the ‘B10 really impresses. Compactness for compactness’ sake can be a hindrance when it comes to audio products, but the ‘B10 shines as brightly as anything at this size or price point. Kicking things off with Radiohead’s “Burn The Witch”, the speaker gave an assured performance, not letting the density of the track overwhelm its single drive unit. Clarity was excellent, and the level of volume that we managed to get out of it before the sound started to harden was truly impressive.
The aforementioned bass radiator definitely helped give the impression that the speaker was larger than it actually is, giving a nicely rounded bass performance on tracks that required it. “Saturnz Barz”, from the latest Gorillaz album Humanz, is a synth and bass-heavy number that takes in reggae, trap and dancehall, featuring dancehall artist Popcaan on vocals. While the seismic bass drops at the track’s opening hit predictably hard on a full size hi-fi system, the little ‘B10 had a decent crack at reproducing them. Obviously it wasn’t shaking down the walls of our demonstration room, but it was still a solid effort for a speaker of its size.
If it feels like we’ve laboured the size point quite a bit throughout the review, it’s not without good reason. As the (hopefully!) warmer months gradually come upon us, the SRSXB10’s ability to kick out the party tunes whilst taking up minimal space in your hand luggage is going to be greatly appreciated. If space is truly at a premium, but you’d prefer sound quality not to be, then Sony have definitely got you covered. Come in to your nearest Richer Sounds today and try out this fantastic little unit for yourself.
Author: Chris, Liverpool store