Sony SRS-X5 bluetooth speaker review

Buying out of the Sony ecosystem might be a better idea

Sony SRS-X5
  • Sony SRS-X5
  • Sony SRS-X5
  • Sony SRS-X5
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • nice design
  • Small form factor
  • NFC and Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • Cluttered sound-stage

Bottom Line

Letting the speaker down is a lack of waterproofing. Yamaha’s and Braven’s speakers are cheaper, are well equipped and are tough enough to handle most outdoor environments. Sony’s speaker can go outside, but only when it is sunny and there’s a nice, clean table it can rest on. It’s such a shame, especially when you realise Sony smartphones have a thing for water.

Would you buy this?

Simple music, that’s what Sony’s SRS-X5 is about. The speaker uses Bluetooth technology for the wireless playback of music, while NFC technology enables pairing with the tap of a smartphone or tablet.

The SRS-X5 isn’t the only speaker that approaches pairing this way — Yamaha’s NX-P100, UE’s Mini Boom and Braven’s 710 do as well — but the widespread adoption inspires confidence in the methodology. It works.

Controls are found on a top panel reminiscent of Sony’s Xperia Z range of smartphones. Glass coats a deep black, delivers a flushed finish and adds a touch of prestige to the portable form factor. Chamfered edges make holding the rectangular speaker system more comfortable. The design isn’t exactly fresh from Sony, but the company leans on its experience to produce a well thought out product.

A grey grille strikes a two-tone contrast with the black body and protects the 20-watt system inside. The portable speaker deceivingly houses two 5-watt tweeters and a 10-watt sub-woofer in a 2.1 arrangement.

The SRS-X5 delivers handles bass with more tact than rivalling Bluetooth speakers.
The SRS-X5 delivers handles bass with more tact than rivalling Bluetooth speakers.

Sound is surprisingly loud considering the small footprint of the SRS-X5. The open outdoors will be enlivened by its voluminous melodies. Trance tracks are particularly ripe for a speaker of its calibre, with tunes such as ATB’s When it ends it starts again sounding great.

Read more: Sony Xperia Z2 review

Fall Out Boy’s The Phoenix struggled at times due to the SRS-X5’s limited dimension. Creating the illusion of a 2.1 system from a single speaker is a tough trick, and signs of strain were evidenced during complex parts. Sound was cluttered rather than sounding layered.

Rock seems to be a genre the Sony speaker struggled with as The Killers’ When you were young came off as congested. Discerning the drums from the symbols was a challenging task.

Pop and R&B were better suited as the SRS-X5 striked a healthy balance between the bass and higher frequencies. Tracks with a slower melody are better serviced by the SRS-X5 as the soundstage isn’t as cluttered, but as the tempo lifts, the quality of this speaker drops.

Read more: Unbearable wearables: The problem with smartwatches

The SRS-X5 can charge devices through a USB out. An auxiliary input allows music to be played from non-Bluetooth devices
The SRS-X5 can charge devices through a USB out. An auxiliary input allows music to be played from non-Bluetooth devices

The Sony speaker is said to have competitive battery life at eight hours.

Letting the speaker down is a lack of waterproofing. Yamaha’s and Braven’s speakers are cheaper, are well equipped and are tough enough to handle most outdoor environments. Sony’s speaker can go outside, but only when it is sunny and there’s a nice, clean table it can rest on. It’s such a shame, especially when you realise Sony smartphones have a thing for water.

• Already have a good stereo system but want to listen to music through your phone or tablet? Try these easy-to-use Bluetooth streamers.

Read more: Braven releases bluetooth speaker forged from aircraft grade aluminium

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Read more on these topics: sony, USB, bluetooth, speaker, yamaha, NFC, Braven, SRS-X5
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