Review: Sony’s new X-Series rugged speakers deliver this summer’s best portable sound

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Earlier this summer, Sony launched a new series of portable Bluetooth speakers that arrived in the X-Series lineup. Today, we’re taking a hands-on look at what all three different portable offerings can deliver and just how the waterproof design stacks up with USB-C charging, X-Balanced drivers, and other signature Sony features.

Sony X-Series speaker hands-on look

Sony’s new speaker lineup enters in the form of three different X-Series offerings. Each of them arrives with some hallmark traits of the collection, all notably sharing the same IP67 waterproof rating. You’ll expect to find battery-powered designs across the lineup, though the actual listening time varies based on just which model you’re looking at. And when it does come time to refuel, there are USB-C charging ports across each device.

From there, each of the new speakers also sports some of Sony’s latest tech. All three models in the lineup have internal X-Balanced arrays that deliver higher quality sound, thanks to a noncircular diaphragm. There’s also Sony’s Party Connect integration, for pairing up to 100 of these speakers together, as well as built-in microphones that offer improved echo cancellation for taking calls and the like.

Speakers in the new Sony X-Series lineup

Sitting as the flagship release in the new X-Series lineup, the Sony SRS-XG300 speaker arrives as the largest and most booming of the new releases. This one is centered around an internal battery that can serenade you for 25 hours before it’s time to refuel. The drumlike design borrows the signature features noted above and then also delivers some ambient LED lighting on either side of the fabric-wrapped design. And at the top, there’s an integrated handle that can pop up when it’s time to take the tunes on the road.

Earning its flagship status, the XG300 clocks in with the most expensive price point in the Sony X-Series lineup. It’ll typically retail for $348, though like the rest of the lineup is now on sale right now. You’ll pay $298 right now, which delivers the very first chance to save on the new release so far.

Stepping down to the next tier in the speaker lineup, the Sony SRS XE300 takes on a bit more portable build. This one will fit right in your hand and shifts to a vertical build. It has fabric speaker grills and a rubberized coating. Dropping down to a smaller form factor does have its trade-offs, though the big perk is just how much easier it is to take around on any end-of-summer trips.

Feature-wise, the signifiers for the XE300 include 24-hour battery life and a refreshed internal driver array that Sony backs with its Line-Shape Diffuser. This improves the sound offered by the dual passive radiators and, in practice, allows the speaker to deliver more room-filling sound than you’d expect from the size.

On top of coming in one of three different styles, there is a usual $199 price point. Though thanks to the very first discount, you can score the speaker for $168.

Borrowing from the design of the XE300, Sony also has an even more portable solution in its new X-Series speaker lineup in the form of the XE200. This one packs much of the same Line-Shape Diffuser as its larger counterpart, as well as the external form factor that is supplemented by a built-in strap for tying onto your backpack or hanging just about anywhere else. Its even more handheld design only packs 16-hour battery life but still manages to dish out quite the booming audio for its size.

Sony’s XE200 as you’d expect is the most affordable model in the X-Series speaker lineup and clocks in at $128. Though much like its larger two siblings, the XE200 is now also on sale for $108.

9to5Toys’ Take

Sony sent over its latest X-Series speakers back when they launched in the middle of July, and I’ve been putting them to the test throughout the summer so far. I’m quite impressed with the performance across the different models, though I definitely have some favorites and recommendations from the collection.

The flagship Sony SRS-XG300 X-Series speaker is easily my favorite of the lineup and certainly won’t disappoint if you’re in the market for a booming way to rock out. If you’re looking to wind down the final days of summer with a certified party starter or have a way to blast tunes at tailgates and the like, this is the pick. On the flip side, the XE200 is also another highlight from the collection. I adore how portable it is, and the more rubberized form factor feels great in hand. The size is perfect to put in a backpack’s water bottle slot, and it still manages to dish out some impressive sound for its size.

Price points on either end of the X-Series lineup feel right for the features you get and the sound quality Sony delivers. Though the midtier, XE300 isn’t that much better than its smaller counterpart, at least not unless you’re dead set on the more capable audio array. With the discounts attached today, I would still say to go with the XE200 for the best value. It delivers all of the signature features from the lineup and is frankly my favorite speaker of the year at retail or sale price.

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