The XB100 also does well with plenty of other instruments, depending on the recording, pulling out brassy guitar strings, sweet and smooth horns, and even covering techno grooves and effects well. Trent Reznor’s Copy of A is particularly clean and clear, revealing dynamic expression and instrumental definition within the speaker’s 360-degree sound field.
The sound is at its best in smaller rooms, losing a fair bit of punch outdoors if you’re not close by, meaning it’s not going to be your go-to choice for large outdoor barbecues or pool parties. But as a personal soundtrack in the hotel for your weekend getaway, it’s a masterful upgrade over your paltry phone pushed up against a bowl or Solo cup.
The XB100’s power and musicality will depend greatly on which platform the speaker is set on. Setting it on my glass coffee table, for instance, softens bass and creates added echo, while my wooden kitchen or side tables offer more balance and groove. When the sound ramps up, you’ll feel the bass booming through the surface, and even through the floor in some instances.
That helps resolve one of my biggest issues with the original XB13, which could get tinny quickly. The XB100 still gets tinny, especially when reproducing light recordings or extra splashy cymbals, but it’s rare. On the other hand, the extra bass sometimes gets overcooked, especially in rock tunes like Blind Melon’s Verdie, where the bass guitar takes centerstage and masks some of the other instruments.
If you’re expecting deep details or expansive stereo imaging you’ll need to go bigger, and likely spend more. But the XB100 can do some impressive sonic acrobatics, especially in the right setting, easily exceeding its size. It’s the one I reach for when I need something to spice up an overnight trip, when hopping on a plane, or anywhere I want to add some music without hassle. It easily goes where I go.
If you already own the XB13, it’s not a massive upgrade. But if you don’t have a smaller model like that, you may want to pick up an XB100, even if you’ve got your fair share of larger Bluetooth speakers. It’s a great addition to Sony’s well-rounded lineup, offering an affordable and portable model that lets you conveniently rock out anywhere.