STEREO GUIDE review
+ Natural sound, rich bass
+ Power supply included
+ Many useful features and connectivity options
+ Practical, retractable carrying handle
+ Flashy light show
- Not exactly cheap even compared to the larger Sony SRS-XG500
Sound: Tonal Balance / Transparency7.5
Sound: Bass / Dynamics8.3
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.5
Price / Performance9
At first glance, you might think you are looking at a slimmed-down version of the Sony SRS-XG500, which we already had been reviewing. In fact, the new Sony SRS-XG300 is the most compact of the actual XG series of compact ghettoblaster style bluetooth speakers. It is wrapped entirely in woolen fabric, and weighs approx. 3 kilograms.
That´s half the amount of kilograms to carry compared to the XG500. In terms of price, the two boomboxes do not differ much. So what is actually the reason to get the more compact one?
Of course it is more handy, and saving weight is not an easy thing to achieve. With its width of just over 31 centimeters, it just fits into backpacks. Offering an IP67 protection class meaning it is really water resistant, even better than its internal rival. Sony even promises additional salt water resistance and proudly announces that it has also subject to various “crash tests”. And 25 hours of battery runtime is also a bold statement which might convince real party people. However, according to our experience this can hardly be reached in the real world.
Lots of technology and ideas
In order to optimize SPL coming from a rather compact tube, Sony relies on asymmetrical woofers following an almost squared shape (60 x 70 mm). This allows the diaphragm area on the small baffle to be maximized without causing it to wobble around. Two of such “X-Balanced Unit” drivers are located almost centered, while laterally positioned compound drivers are responsible for low bass. However, this makes it impossible to operate the tube in upright position. The front baffle ist also hosting two silk diaphragm tweeters being equipped with additional waveguides. They are slighted tilted vertically.
This arrangement is supposed to provide somewhat of a stereo sound image, even when being placed on the floor. If you have the budget for a pair of Sony SRS-XG300, you might want to use use the Sony Music Center app for proper stereo pairing as well as grouping speakers (“Party Connect”) for more SPL. In either way, partying like this gets pretty expensive.
Very useful features, great flexibility
The XG-300 is not quite as professional as the Sony SRS-XG500. Nevertheless, it offers an analog input, USB-C charging and USB-A for charging your phone. A reasonably powerful power supply is included.
Bluetooth connections are established according to the 5.2 standard. In addition to the standard SBC, and AAC, the latter being rather popular among iPhone users, if offers LDAC codec, which is essentially still limited to Sony devices.
All the standard features can intuitively being controlled by the rather small rubber keys on top. This also applies to answering phone calls using the built-in mic. Sony promises an additional echo suppressing circuitry here.
Two Choice of an app, or two
For more advanced features, you need to install the Sony Music and Fiestable app on your Apple or Android device and connect to the XG300. This is adding designated playlist options, a 3-band graphic EQ and two sound presets. The “Mega Bass” mode, which gets a dedicated on/off button on the speaker, means emphasizing the bass, which might be a good idea especially when being used at open-air parties. Live Sound” is promising a particularly spatial imaging.
In addition, for DJs, effects like “isolator” or “flanger” activated and finely tuned. Which means for non-recording pros: Lots of ways to ruin the sound.
Let there be light
If you are in playful mood, check out the “Motion Control” option in Sony´s Fiestable App: It allows to control the level or skip tracks by performing swiveling gestures. And it really did work!As did the voice control via the smart phone´s assistant, in our case iPhone´s Siri. You might want to use this to conveniently activate or deactivate the light show implemented in the SRS-XG300.
Okay, that one is limited to two colourful illuminated rings on both sides. It´s not a disco, but these are capable of a variety of different effects including strobe. You can use one of the apps to specify the effects or press the designated button on the back. And there is another, very handy one. If you press it, the remaining battery capacity is announced precisly. If you want to save the battery, you will find a practical battery management in the Music Center app.
Really rich sound from acompact tube
In the listening test, the Sony showed a good portion of similarity with its bigger brother SRS-XG500 not only in terms of design. In other words, the medium-sized system offers a pretty natural, expressive voice reproduction. The bass is playing with convincing punch that some bigger rivals can’t outperform. Even when switched to linear mode, the SRS-XG300 is quite bass-heavy but really kicks on the other hand.
By activating the Mega Bass mode, you can even reinforce this. This said there is almost not noticable loss in contour and clarity. So every bass addict might want to leave it permanently activated but might get some pretty unpleasant feedback from his or her neighbours.
Electronic beats like Moloko’s “Sing It Back” are definitely more fun with such “Mega bass”. Interestingly, the effect is particularly positive even for rock classics like Deep Purple’s “Highway Stars” with its live drums (“Made in Japan”). In addition, the well-balanced, finely resolved high-frequency reproduction of the cymbals can are definitely bringing a hint of hi-fi to every party.
Maximum SPL and dynamics are just as convincing as the natural tonal balance and substiantial bass reproduction. So we were pretty impressed how Sony managed to include a powerful and flawless sonic performance into rather compact dimensions.
Alternatives to the Sony SRS-XG300
Okay, the Sony SRS-XG300 is not the cheapest among portable Bluetooth speakers in boombox style. But it is without any doubt the most elegant ghettoblaster. And it just sounds really good with rich, clean bass and natural, clean voices. As a lighter alternative, one might think of optaining the JBL Xtreme 3 instead. In terms of hardware and sound quality, this is a tough choice, but the Japanese are definitely ahead in terms of software. Sony´s music and fiestable apps are simply more fun to use.
- Retail Price: 300 Dollars
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 31.8 x 13.8 x 13.6 cm
- Weight: 3 kg
- Battery life up to 25 hours
- Features: IP67, Mega Bass, Analog AUX input, Party mode with light effect sync, Apps, USB power supply
- More at: www.sony.de
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