One of the things Sony is known for in the audio landscape is their wireless speaker ecosystem called “wireless party chain”, a system where a select set of their speakers can be paired with each other with just the press of a button.
Members of that ecosystem are the SRS-XB31 and XB21 Bluetooth rugged speakers. We were able to play with them a little bit today, so here are our initial thoughts.
The SRS-XB31 and XB21 look a lot different from their predecessors, the XB20 and XB30. While the previous two looked like capsules with see-through speaker grilles, the XB31 and 21 look more modern and rugged. Both speakers still have an overall capsule shape, but are boxier and now covered in dust and water-resistant mesh.
The two speakers share the same button layout on top that consists of the power/pairing button, volume up and down, and pause and play. Opposite the buttons, we have the NFC detection area.
At the back, there are additional buttons and ports protected by a rubber flap.
Here you’ll find the micro USB charging input, aux-in, and reset button. The SRS-XB31 steps this up a little with an additional USB Type-A port that you can use to charge another device, meaning it doubles as a power bank!
There are also additional buttons for checking the battery life (batt), wireless party chain (wpc), and adding in a secondary speaker for left and right channel functions (add).
Audio-wise, they’re impressive, especially the SRS-XB31. Mids and highs on both speakers are spot-on and they can get really loud, enough to fill a medium-sized room, individually. They’re even louder when paired together via wireless party chain.
Lows are also present on both units, but more prominent on the XB31, especially at high volumes.
A Sony party speaker is never complete without lighting. As such, the SRS-XB31 and XB21 have light strips surrounding their body. Only the XB31 completely lights up during operation, however.
The RGB LED strips on the XB31 act as a kind of equalizer and syncs with the music being played. There are also additional side lights inside the front panel. The XB21, on the other hand, only has red LED lights at the center,, but they also sync with the music being played.
The SRS-XB31 and XB21 are certainly premium-looking speakers with sturdy bodies and party lighting to boot. They’re also not too shabby at providing a good listening experience thanks to their amazing audio quality.