Sony - Sony SRS-XB30


Sony SRS-XB30: a powerful and bright portable speaker

Aprox. 123€

See specifications

Marketed a year ago at 170 €, the SRS-XB30 from Sony has finally arrived in our labs. It is part of the first generation of bright portable speakers from the manufacturer, and fits between the XB40 (larger) and the XB20 (more compact). This model brings together all the essential ingredients of mobile listening (increased water resistance, solid autonomy, multipoint Bluetooth connection, recharging of mobile devices ...), but also particularly complete lighting. Does it live up to its promises and reputation?

Positive points

Beautiful homogeneity of the sound rendering after equalization.

Good power, low distortion.

Robust, careful construction.

Many possibilities of control; easy to use.

Multipoint Bluetooth connection to 3 devices.

Good autonomy.

Bad points

Compact, dynamic sound scene a little too overwhelmed.

A bit short in the bass given its size.

Mandatory recharging via the proprietary adapter.

Pairing time and responsiveness of controls.

Our review


The SRS-XB30 just falls into the portable speaker category. Even with a larger size compared to other models in this category, it is easy to handle with one hand thanks to its lightness (less than 1 kg). The manufacturing and finishes are neat, there are no apparent defects or unsightly assembly marks. The shell which protects the enclosure is dense and robust, the metal grids located on the front and rear face show no sign of weakness, it is a good job, in short.

For a more pleasant handling of the enclosure, the manufacturer has chosen a soft-touch mat coating pleasant to the touch. The SRS-XB30 is resistant to splashing water (IPX5 certification), but not to immersion. Very classic in appearance at first contact, the speaker reveals its true nature when it is powered up. The front grille is surrounded by a light strip and supported by two strobes located at each left / right end which react according to the music.

The SRS-XB30 combines all the functionality and connectivity that we are used to seeing on modern portable speakers, with a few more welcome touches. First of all, it can connect via Bluetooth 4.2 (SBC, AAC and LDAC codecs) to three devices simultaneously. Even if it can sometimes be a little long, the pairing is done simply. For more speed with compatible devices, an NFC chip is present. As we can see on some models (notably those of JBL, for example), it is possible to couple several speakers (up to ten, according to the manufacturer) or two in stereo.

At the back, hidden by a cover, there is an analog input with a 3.5 mm mini-jack, the power connector to charge the speaker and a USB A port used to charge an external device. We therefore lack nothing. On rare occasions (especially when several devices are connected), we have been able to observe micro audio interruptions via Bluetooth (at the rate of one or two per hour), but nothing that spoils the pleasure of use. If you plan to pair your speaker with several devices, the slightest new incoming signal takes priority over playback: for example, your music played by device 1 may be cut off unexpectedly by a ringing tone from device 2 and / or 3 at receiving an email or SMS. To avoid this, it is better to switch to silent mode on these sources.

The orders made available are very complete. There are two buttons on the upper side of the speaker for volume control, another for music management and navigation between tracks (two successive presses to go to the next song, three to go back to the previous song), a fourth for call management and to quickly know the battery level, a fifth to activate the Extra Bass mode or turn on / off the front lighting, a sixth to easily add another speaker and finally another to turn on / off the speaker or start pairing. The buttons are nice to use, but we would still have appreciated a little more responsiveness. Voice and audible indications are there to guide the user. Too bad they are not clearer and in French.

The Sony Music Center app (Android and iOS), formerly SongPal, offers a few customization options and advanced settings. There is among other things a menu to choose our favorite light game, help to pair several speakers with each other, a 3-band EQ, the choice of the Bluetooth codec as well as the deactivation or not of the automatic standby. The battery level is unfortunately not directly displayed on the main page, which would have been more practical. To find out, go to the Power Options, in the settings.

The SRS-XB30 promises a full day of autonomy (24 hours). In practice, this is indeed the case, if however the front lighting is permanently deactivated. If it is kept on, the duration of use goes down to around 17-18h. It is possible to go further (a few additional hours in both cases), but the speaker automatically limits the output level when the battery level becomes low. We then end up with a very low listening volume, which it is not possible to increase.

Let's finish with the integrated microphone, which does an honorable job here. The intelligibility of the voice is ensured when standing near the speaker (up to 2 meters max indoors). When you go too far away, it is the syllables with the sound “s” that are very attenuated, as if chewed, which makes it more difficult to understand certain sentences. Apart from this point in particular, there is not much to complain about.


The SRS-XB30 offers a very correct sound rendering for a portable speaker of this size. We appreciate its extended frequency response and good power handling, even at a high listening level.

Without any option activated and without correction via the EQ, this speaker favors mid-range between 500 and 1.5 kHz approximately. The bass and treble are therefore set aside and there is a nasal side, especially on the voices, but also on other sources. We immediately advise you to take a tour of the EQ side of the application to operate a rebalancing (raising the bass by a few notches, significantly lowering the midrange and increasing the treble a little will do). That done, the sound reproduction is more homogeneous, the timbres are much better respected and the sound is richer, more pleasant to listen to. We can also take better advantage of the good precision which the enclosure exhibits over a large part of the spectrum. However, there is nothing we can do to reduce the compactness of the soundstage and the way the speaker slightly overwrites the dynamics.

Even with this rebalancing, don't expect extremely deep bass. We still feel a minimum of seat and impact, but the action of passive radiators is much more discreet below 180 Hz. The Extra Bass mode can compensate for this lack if we temper its heat with the EQ. It's up to you to find the right balance according to your tastes, where the speaker is located (inside near a wall or outside, for example) and the content you listen to.

The SRS-XB30 has a nice power reserve given its size. It is thus possible to properly soundproof a living room for an evening or an outing outside (in the garden, at the beach), even if you should not expect the walls to shake. The distortion is still very calm. On some songs rich in sources, with a very compressed dynamic and at high volume, we note nevertheless the appearance of pumping effects.

With 175 ms of latency in Bluetooth communication, the SRS-XB30 is in the middle high acceptable on products of this type. In practice, it is possible to follow a film or a series correctly without undergoing too great a discrepancy between sound and image, especially during dialogues.


The SRS-XB30 offers all the functionality one would expect from this type of speaker: a robust design with increased water resistance, numerous control possibilities, a multi-point wireless connection and solid autonomy. Add to that a very correct listening experience (which needs to be refined beforehand via the EQ of the application) and you get a very sympathetic nomad listening companion.