Tom's Guide Verdict
The Sony SRS-XB100 is a compact and affordable Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t skimp on sound quality. It’s far from the most powerful speaker you can buy, but its portability makes it a winner for sports, showers, and beach and more.
Great bass for its size
Long-lasting battery life
Included charging cable is too short
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Price: $59 / £55
Colors: Black, blue, light grey, orange
Size: 3.43 x 4.41 inches
Weight: 9.7 ounces
Battery life (rated): 16 hours
Playback range: 131 feet
The Sony SRS-XB100 proves that Bluetooth speakers don't need to have a big body and price tag to deliver impressive performance. For less than $60, Sony’s most portable speaker provides a personal, on-the-go listening experience in a grippy can-shaped package.
While there is no shortage of budget Bluetooth speakers, I’d consider very few of them among the best Bluetooth speakers overall. The Sony SRS-XB100 is one that makes up for power with its compact size, durability, and long-lasting battery life. Whether you want music for bopping through a round of golf, kicking back during a beach day or singing along in the shower, the XB100 has the most to offer for the price.
But is it the best choice for you? Read my full Sony SRS-XB100 review below to find out.
Sony SRS-XB100 cheat sheet:
- Weighing a mere 0.6 pounds, the Sony SRS-XB100’s lightweight design makes it easy to carry around. It even features a clip, so you can attach it to your bag, tent or beach chair.
- Despite its small size, the XB100 packs a punch. The cutouts along the hollowed bottom help with bass, allowing more breathing room and preventing the sound from becoming tinny.
- The XB100’s IP67 rating and UV coating means you won’t need to worry about outdoor use. It can stand its own against the sun, sand, rain, and accidental submersion.
- Using USB-C, 4.5 hours worth of charging will give you 16 hours of playback, so it should be able to keep up with whatever you have planned for a given day. I only wish it came with a better charging cable.
Sony SRS-XB100 review: Price and availability
The Sony SRS-XB100 is available now and has a full retail price of $59 / £55 / AUS78. It's available online from Sony stores where it can be found discounted to $49. Similar discounts can be found via retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. It’s the smallest and most affordable speaker in the current-gen Sony speaker lineup, replacing the Sony SRS-XB13.
Sony SRS-XB100 review: Design
Although the Sony SRS-XB100 is a generally simple-looking speaker, the design prioritizes portability in clever ways. It’s shaped like a short soda can and features a color-matched fabric strap, so you shouldn’t struggle to tote it around. The 3.43 x 4.41-inch, 0.6-pound speaker came with me everywhere I went for a few days, fitting in even my smaller bags.
Available in four colors — black, blue, light grey and orange — the XB100’s exterior has subtle ridges that help with grippiness. A special UV coating means the colors shouldn’t fade much in the sun either, while the IP67 protection means the speaker can survive accidental submersion if, say, it’s dropped in the pool.
The power button, Bluetooth pairing toggle, pause/play and volume controls are wrapped horizontally toward the bottom, just above the cut-outs. These cut-outs hollow out part of the speaker, giving the bass a bit more breathing room.
Sony SRS-XB100 review: Performance
The Sony SRS-XB100 is engineered in a way that maximizes performance when the speaker is placed upright on a table. A small driver, passive radiator and sound diffusion processor work together to produce more powerful sound than you might expect.
Listening to "Piano Man," Billy Joel's keys and iconic harmonica diddy sounded infectious, even in the open environment of my backyard. Although the instruments didn’t sound intentional enough to feel concert-quality, I didn’t hear obvious tinniness and enough nuances are preserved.
It doesn’t get as loud as the UE Wonderboom 3 or offer the same sound sophistication as the Sonos Roam, but the XB100 audio quality is truly impressive for its size. What’s more, it battled environmental noises well, still carrying sound throughout my windy beach encampment. If I had two XB100 speakers, I could stereo-pair them to split left and right channels for better performance, too.
Sony SRS-XB100 review: Battery life
In terms of battery life, the Sony SRS-XB100 is rated for 16 hours, which is two hours longer than the Wonderboom 3’s battery life. I found that the speaker lasted at least that long, if not more. With a few hours of use every day, I only needed to recharge the speaker once a week.
But charging is probably my biggest complaint. It takes 4.5 hours to recharge via USB-C, which means there’s not really the option to quickly juice it up before you head out. Plus, the included charging cable is shorter than I’d like. I ended up using my own third-party cable to keep the XB100 charged.
Sony SRS-XB100 review: Verdict
Charging woes aside, the Sony SRS-XB100 is a pretty exceptional speaker considering it costs just $59. You can’t get many great devices for that price these days, without making some major trade-offs. It might not have many bells and whistles — no EQ and voice controls, for example — but the XB100 is everything most people should want from a portable Bluetooth speaker.
Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.