Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, reviewSummer is the perfect time to source out a new Bluetooth speaker. And ahead of nearly every summer season, Sony releases new versions of it’s uber-popular Extra Bass lineup of wireless speakers. This year I had the opportunity to get hands-on with the newest iterations: the Sony SRS-XB23, Sony SRS-XB33 and Sony SRS-XB43. I’ll tell you all about them, what they can do, how they sound and whether you might want to pick one up not just for summer but to bring the party with you all year.

Review of the Sony SRS-XB23, Sony SRS-XB33 & Sony SRS-XB43

There are three speakers in this series; each a bit different from the other. Naturally, as they step up in size and power, they also step up in price too.
These are often billed as ‘party speakers’ thanks to their power, portability and—on the larger two—built in LED lighting effects.

Similar but different 

The three speakers in this line are similar but different. The two larger ones, the Sony SRS-XB33 and Sony SRS-XB43 can be used standing on their ends or lying on their sides. They have a flat front and flat base. The Sony SRS-XB23 is a cylinder. Each has a rubber door protecting other buttons and connectors in the back.

Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, reviewSpeaker Power

Not surprisingly these speakers step up in wattage and volume as they get bigger. Sony doesn’t make finding sound specs easy for the 23 or 33—I couldn’t find anything but the SRS-XB43 sound specs which are: 2 x 16 watts, 2 x 0.79” woofers, 20mm tweeters.

Waterproof/Dustproof IP rating

The Sony SRS-XB23, the SRS-XB33 and the full sized SRS-XB44 are all rated against water and dirt penetration. They have the rating IP67, which means each is fully protected from dirt and dust and can withstand water and even salt water.

Lighting effects of the Sony SRS-XB23, Sony SRS-XB33 & Sony SRS-XB43

The larger two speakers have built in lighting effects that will flash and pulse to the beat of what’s playing. The SRS-XB33 has two behind-the grill lights and LED colour-changing banding around the edges. The SRS-XB43 has four lights under the grill and the same LED colour changing banding. The XB22 has no lighting options (unlike the original XB21).

Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, reviewSony Music Centre and Sony Fiestable apps

Why there’s two, I don’t know. To get the most out of these speakers, you’ll need not one but two apps: the Sony Music Centre app allows you to adjust some settings and check detailed battery levels, etc. But if you want control over the lighting on the XB 33 and 43, you’ll also need the Sony Fiestable app. There’s a bunch of different colour options, flashing effects and more which you can set or play with live. This is definitely fun and will be even more so for younger users.

Oddly, it seems to me these features all used to be available in the Music Centre app, and why Sony is splitting this function up is beyond me.

Sound quality of the Sony SRS-XB23, Sony SRS-XB33 & Sony SRS-XB43

Let’s get down to sound: these speakers sound excellent. Not surprisingly the power and overall audio quality steps up as you go up the line, with the XB43 the biggest, baddest and most powerful of all.

Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, reviewEven so, each of them, even the wallet-friendlier and more compact XB23 sounds good. My preference was definitely for the XB43. I thought it sounded bigger, louder, more resonant, deeper and more detailed, with substantially more bass. The XB33 by comparison sounded a bit thinner. No, you probably wouldn’t notice this unless you had them both side by side switching between them. But if audio quality is paramount, you’ll want to go big here.

There’s obviously a lot of bass and you can feel it in a table or surface. I had the XB43 camping with me and used it extensively outside and it was easily able to fill our area with sound.

Vocals sound clear on each of the speakers, and the overall sound is well balanced. Only high fives here when it comes to audio quality of these speakers.

Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, reviewCommon features in the SRS-XB lineup

Though there are some differences between each speaker, they do each have some common features.

Sony Extra Bass

Sony’s Extra Bass technology is the key feature of these speakers; it’s what they’re named for, and what the “XB” in the name stands for.

EXTRA BASS technology essentially lets you get more bass out of your music. The Sony EXTRA BASS headphones and speakers use what’s called an Electro Bass Booster to make the lower tones of bass lines more prominent. This battery-powered enhancer digitally improves lower end frequencies in the music and that in turn boosts bass. The feature can be turned on or off to suit your music or mood.

Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, review

Live Sound

Live Sound is another feature of the XB-33 and 43 portable speakers. Activating this function is done with the touch of a button on the top of the speakers. Live Mode is apparently supposed to give you a more live and in person sound. I wouldn’t say it enhanced the sound, but it did change it, making the music less bass-heavy and leaned it more towards the high end. For me personally this setting did nothing for me.

In case you’re keeping score, a previous option that allowed you to smack the speakers and get crazy sound effects, Party Booster, appears to no longer be available on these speakers.

Party Connect/Party Chain

These speakers have a feature called Party Connect (formerly Party Chain), which essentially lets you connect and group multiple speakers to the same source. With compatible Sony devices, you can connect up to 100 (100!!) speakers in the chain. Not only will the music play across devices but the lights match up too.

I’ve got full instructions here, but the gist of it is you turn on one speaker, (this will become your main speaker) press the ‘Party’ button, then turn on the next speaker, press the button and so on down the chain. I tried this out and am happy to report it was easy.

To de-connect them, push and hold the party button on any of the speakers that’s not the main one.

Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, reviewStereo Pairing 

You can also pair two speakers to create a stereo pair. The full instructions are here, but I couldn’t get this to work after about half a dozen attempts. The steps are rather finicky and after each try, my phone would become disconnected and wouldn’t reconnect while the stereo pairing lights were on. I tried using the app to make the stereo pairing connection and just got constant error messages. During my testing period I was unable to make stereo pairing work correctly. Hopefully Sony will have this patched in a future app or firmware update.

USB charging/power bank

There’s built in USB charging on all three models so you can keep your phone juiced up.

Battery life of the Sony SRS-XB23, Sony SRS-XB33 & Sony SRS-XB43

The battery life in these speakers is decent, but hasn’t improved at all since I first reviewed this lineup about 2-3 years ago.

SRS-XB23: 12 hours battery life
SRS-XB33: 24 hours battery life
SRS-XB43: 24 hours battery life

Setting up the Sony XB speakers

Setting the speakers up is super simple. Power on by pushing and holding the power button. That will put it into pairing mode for your first use, which will be confirmed with a verbal prompt. And flashing blue LED light. Go to your phone or device’s Bluetooth menu, select the speaker and tap to connect. I went through this numerous times with several speakers and it worked perfectly every time. If you need to re-enable pairing, just push the Bluetooth button.

Sony srs-xb, 23, 33, 43, reviewOverall review of the Sony SRS-XB23, Sony SRS-XB33 & Sony SRS-XB43

Overall, these are great speakers. They sound great, they’re a breeze to set up and use too (and even getting the party chin feature going was easy). If there are any downsides, it’s with little things like the need for two apps to control both settings and lighting effects.

545 COMMENTS

  1. I love the reliability of Sony products — they never let me down. I would love to get the Sony XB43 EXTRA BASS™ Portable Bluetooth Speaker — perfect for the patio.

  2. The sound quality is of the utmost importance to me with speakers and I’ve never been disappointed with Sony. Love their products!!!!!

  3. My first Sony product was the Sony Walkman, then CD player (Discman). Looking forward to upgrade to the PS5 this holiday season.

  4. I grew up in with SONY as a household name in 1990s in Philippines. I am elated that SONY is still out there being a leader in the market. It is tested for Quality and superior audio performance.
    One of my Christmas 2020 wishlist is the Sony XB12 EXTRA BASS Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker to my home.
    Feeling lucky for this giveaway! I would love to win one of the SONY Extra Bass lineup of wireless speakers!

  5. Would love to add this Sony 85″ 4K UHD HDR LED Android Smart TV (XBR85X950H) to my home! These speakers would be great for the kids by the pool, being able to withstand salt water.

  6. I love the high quality of Sony products and right now I am coveting a smart tv. Something like the Sony 85″ 4K UHD HDR LED Android Smart TV

  7. Sony has always made great quality products. I have a pair of mdr-xb950n1 headphones which are great. I have had Sony headphones in the past. I would really like to get a pair of the new WH-1000XM4/B. noise canceling headphones. The reviews on those have been amazing. A pair of the new Sony SRS-XB43’s would be a great addition to my backyard setup!

  8. i LOVE THE BATTERY LIFE OF THE SRS-XB33: 24 hours battery life! I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THIS ONE FOR MYSELF

  9. I love the dependability of Sony and would love to add a Sony 65″ 4K UHD HDR LED Android Smart TV to my home.

  10. I have always loved the PlayStation and Sony’s headphones with their extra bass. I wish I have the WH-1000XM4/B.

  11. Sony products enjoy great sound quality and reliability. would like to add the Sony SRS-XB43 EXTRA BASS Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker new tech to my home for backyard playability.

  12. Sony has always done a great job of blending great quality for an affordable price. I can’t wait to get my hands on the playstation 5

  13. Sony products are great quality and prices are low. My husband and I are hoping we can add the PS5 to our home entertainment!

  14. I would love to add the new sony PS5 entertainment system to my house!

    Sony still making great electronics to this day.

  15. Sony just makes great stuff. I am really looking forward to getting the new PS5 when it comes out next month.

  16. I also count myself as an early Sony owner and my family and I always enjoyed the quality of their products. I would love to purchase the Sony’s WF-XB700 truly wireless headphones. They look amazing.

  17. I really love that Sony has reliable and high quality products! I would love to add Sony noise cancelling headphones to my home office.

  18. I like Sony because everything they make looks really modern and the Sony tech I would like to add to my house the most would be the Sony SRS-XB43 EXTRA BASS Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker. Thanks to Bestbuy for this amazing contest!

  19. I love the fact that Sony has always made quality products; I would like to add the Sony BRAVIA 55″ 4K UHD HDR OLED Android Smart TV to my home.

  20. I have never owned any speakers, tv’s or headphones that weren’t the Sony brand. The sound quality, price, features and looks are all prime features. I also have the sony alpha i saved up a long long long time for and i am in love with it. There is no other camera i would trust to bring along for all journeys or capture my precious moments.

  21. What do I love about the Sony brand?

    I greatly adore the absolute quality that goes into each and every Sony product. The technology and careful craftsmanship that goes into making every Sony product is truly second to none. Each Sony product I’ve had the fortune of owning has been extremely reliable and long-lasting. They rarely, if ever, break down and just keep on running and running. Over the years, I have come to equate the traits of quality and longevity with the Sony brand, as that is what they stand for above all else.

    As for which new Sony tech would I like to add to my home?

    I would just love so much to add either one of the Sony Extra Bass portable speakers, SRS-XB33 or SRS-XB43 models, to my home. They’re both just so sophisticated and sleek-looking. Not only that, they pack quite an incredible punch for a portable speaker with their vast array of features. Their size is also just perfect. Would fit great anywhere around the house, as they are not too small to be barely noticeable, but not so big that they dominate the environment around them.

    I for one would just love more than anything to win one of these absolute beauties. I would not only be ever excited plus most delighted, but completely over-the-moon as well. Thank you so very much Best Buy Blog for continually putting forward awesome giveaways like this one that offer us all the opportunity to win something so very useful and just plain cool to have around the house.

  22. I really like Sony products, they have high quality. I would like the Sony SRS-XB33 EXTRA BASS Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker – Black.

  23. Sony is a company of quality products. Love this speakers for the amazing sound and long lasting battery. Small but mighty.

  24. Superior quality that translates into longevity and reliability over time. That is what I love most about Sony. For me, it is my go-to electronics brand as I have come to greatly admire and trust this amazing brand over the years. Thus, I would just love to add the Sony SRS-XB43 portable speaker to my house. Best portable speaker out there in the market today in my opinion. Thanks again Best Buy!

  25. What do I love about the Sony brand?

    I greatly adore the absolute quality that goes into each and every Sony product. The technology and careful craftsmanship that goes into making every Sony product is truly second to none. Each Sony product I’ve had the fortune of owning has been extremely reliable and long-lasting. They rarely, if ever, break down and just keep on running and running. Over the years, I have come to equate the traits of quality and longevity with the Sony brand, as that is what they stand for above all else.

    As for which new Sony tech would I like to add to my home?

    I would just love so much to add either one of the Sony Extra Bass portable speakers, SRS-XB33 or SRS-XB43 models, to my home. They’re both just so sophisticated and sleek-looking. Not only that, they pack quite an incredible punch for a portable speaker with their vast array of features. Their size is also just perfect. Would fit great anywhere around the house, as they are not too small to be barely noticeable, but not so big that they dominate the environment around them.

    I for one would just love more than anything to win one of these absolute beauties. I would not only be ever excited plus most delighted, but completely over-the-moon as well. Thank you so very much Best Buy Blog for continually putting forward awesome giveaways like this one that offer us all the opportunity to win something so very useful and just plain cool to have around the house.

  26. I like the superior quality of Sony and would love to get the Sony WH-1000XM4 noise cancelling headphones.

  27. I love that Sony is a pioneer and innovator in so many tech categories. I would like to add a Sony sound bar to my setup.

  28. I love how Sony brings out innovative features through out their product lines.

    Would love to add the Sony 65″ 4K UHD HDR LED Android Smart TV (XBR65X900H) in my home.

  29. I love Sony for its longstanding reputation and it would be great to get the new Sony PlayStation 5 Console

  30. What I love most about Sony is their quality; I’ve never owned a bad Sony product. Adding the Sony BRAVIA 55″ 4K UHD HDR OLED Android Smart TV to my home would be amazing!

  31. i love Sony’s design aesthetic. i would like to add the Sony 55″ 4K UHD HDR LED Android Smart TV to our home.

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