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Now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting (at least in part) around the country, many people are looking forward to getting together with their friends and family — and in the summer, there's few better ways to do it than with a good old fashioned pool party or beach day.
If you've been relying on a less-than-ideal speaker system, it's a great time to upgrade — and one of Sony's newest models is one of the most talked-about devices of the season. We put the new Sony XG500 Splashproof Bluetooth Portable Party Speaker to the test to see how it stacks up for all things summer fun. Check out our review below.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $600
What is it?
The XG500 is Sony's new portable speaker system, and it feels like an attempt to bring the boomboxes of the 1980s and 1990s into the era of Bluetooth connections and streaming audio. With its large size and carrying handle across the top, the similarities are obvious, but thanks to its sleek, minimalist look, the XG500 is clearly a modern machine.
Initial thoughts and setup
Out of the box, the XG500 is an impressive and sturdy piece of hardware. Sony lists the XG500's weight at 12.34 lbs; certainly light enough to be comfortably carried by its handle, but heavy enough that it feels solid and stable wherever you want to use it.
Setup is simple. An included AC power cord and adapter charge the XG500, which claims an impressive 30 hours of battery life, and connecting a device via Bluetooth is a breeze.
Sony has packed a lot of thoughtful features into this streamlined, go-anywhere speaker. Dustproofing and water resistance make it ready for the beach or a pool party; microphone and guitar inputs allow it to transform into an amp on the fly; dynamic lighting adds visual flair; Party Connect allows you to link the XG500 with up to 100 other devices for large parties and events. The USB ports on the speaker's back panel are another nice bonus, allowing you to charge smartphones using the XG500's big battery - great whenever someone at the party inevitably needs a boost.
Of course, these features alone don't make a good speaker - you need the audio quality to back it up. Thankfully, the XG500 has a big sound to match its imposing presence. Boasting a technology Sony calls the X-Balanced Speaker Unit, the XG500 creates a rich audio environment, with thumping bass and crisp, clear high notes. If you really want to shake a room, the Mega Bass function makes the beat hit even harder. At a time when we're mostly getting together outside, the XG500 has enough power and volume to be the life of the party - whether in the backyard, at the park, at the beach or sitting by the dock.
At $600, the XG500 is a step up in price from the more compact Bluetooth speakers many shoppers might be accustomed to. It's a speaker designed for more than just apartment dinner parties, so keep that in mind when deciding what kind of device you're looking for.
The XG500 is an immediately impressive 21st-century boombox that's ideal for anyone who loves to host a get-together. With excellent sound, long battery life and an array of smart features, it's a versatile speaker that's small enough to accompany you on road trips and powerful enough to bring the beat to your next pool party.
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