The world of Bluetooth audio is massive. From small portable speakers like the Beats Pill and the UE Wonderboom (you could win one by clicking here!) to Apple’s Bluetooth earphones AirPods which are dominating the Bluetooth market, Bluetooth has become such a fundamental part of audio equipment that any speaker or audio system that lacks it, soon becomes obsolete.

One company to bring the best of both the audio worlds, Sony, has brought together what they call a high-quality home sound system and mixed it with Bluetooth portability, dubbing it an “EDM Festival Experience” with a “club atmosphere”. Cue Sony XB60.

It has been marketed as the perfect speaker for a house party or, as my Australian cousins call it, “a fire as gatho”. Sony did not disappoint. Equipped with a wave of LEDs all over the speaker, the lights change and bop to the music, just as you are, creating a fantastic party atmosphere. The lights are even controllable from an app you can download on iPhone and Android where you can control the brightness, speed and colour of the LEDs.
As mentioned above, Sony has done everything it can to make this speaker appeal to everyone of every age with a speaker for every purpose. Part of this was making the XB60 portable. Sony has absolutely nailed it. The fourteen-hour battery built into the speaker seems to last just as Sony says, without compromising on the quality of the speaker when its plugged in. Sure, the volume is a little bit quieter running on battery, but overall, Sony has managed to chuck a pretty good battery into a pretty good party speaker.

But unfortunately, the cool lights and the handy battery is where it ends.

The most important aspect of a speaker, without dispute, is sound quality. Quite frankly, the quality on the XB60 is extremely poor. The sound is very mushy and clarity is basically non-existent, the EXTRA BASS technology built into the speaker is unnoticeable (compared to the same EXTRA BASS tech in Sony’s headphones), and the maximum volume is relatively lower than that of competition speakers. For a hefty price tag of $549.95, you are probably going to want to buy a speaker with half decent audio quality, at least. Unfortunately, the XB60 doesn’t even provide that.

From the outside, the XB60 looks like an awesome, outgoing, perfect party speaker. A month later after rocking to tunes on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and a few cheeky parties, the speaker has no pun intended, shown its true colours. Sony has focused on lights, size, battery and portability and in turn, lacks in arguably the most important feature of all, audio quality. If you have a spare $550 to blow on an audio system, I’d have a good look around before blowing it on a few LEDs, low-quality speakers and a portable battery.

ETHAN GRIFFITHS is a 16-year-old Taranaki lad who loves writing, rugby and cricket. Don’t bring up politics if you are not super bored and don’t want to chat for hours on end. Check out more of his work:

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