Sony SRS-XB13 vs Sony SRS-XB12: Should You Upgrade

Namrata Gogoi

The Sony SRS-XB12 is one of the popular Bluetooth speakers, and it's easy to see why. This speaker, which is a little bigger than a soda can, is designed to belt out bass-heavy music at affordable pricing. And the good news is that the vocals appear clear and crisp for the price. This year, Sony has a successor to the popular SRS-XB12 speaker, and unsurprisingly, it goes by the name of Sony SRS-XB13.

Sony SRS XB13 vs Sony SRS XB12 Should You Upgrade

Like the one above, it has a small and compact build and is designed for bass enthusiasts. The portable form factor means you can easily take it out to the beach or pool.

But, which speaker will you pick? Will you still pick the older Sony SRS-XB12 over the SRS-XB13?

Well, that's what we are going to find in this post today as we pit both the Sony SRS-XB12 and the SRS-XB13 against each other to see which speaker you should pick.

Let's get started. But first,

Specs That Matter

PropertySony SRS-XB13Sony SRS-XB12
PropertySony SRS-XB13Sony SRS-XB12
Diameter76 ×95 mm74 ×92 mm
Speaker Size46mm (Mono speaker)46mm (Mono speaker)
Weight8.92 ounces8.6 ounces
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2Bluetooth 4.2
SpeakerphoneYesYes
WaterproofYes, IP67Yes, IP67
USB-CYesNo

Design and Build

One of the distinguishing design characteristics of the Sony SRS series is its small soda can-like shape and the new SRS-XB13 is no different. Like its predecessor, the new speaker is small and compact.

Sony SRS XB13 vs Sony SRS XB12 4

The upside of this design is that you can easily fit it into the coffee holder of your car. Another distinguishing feature of the SRS-XB13 is the passive radiator at the bottom. The combination of all these factors translates into a speaker which is both lightweight and portable. And the IP67 rating is the cherry on top.

Sony SRS XB13 vs Sony SRS XB12 2

One of the modern touches to this speaker is the addition of a USB-C port for charging. Since you can power most smartphones, laptops, and monitors via USB-C, it was high time that Sony's SRS series made the swap.

As you may have guessed, there's not much difference from the design point of view in the Sony SRS-XB12. The form factor is the same, and so are the physical appearances. It's a little rounder around the edges. Plus, you'll find a similar strap on this one as well. However, the one on the newer speaker seems a little more versatile and durable.

Sony SRS XB13 vs Sony SRS XB12 1

The Sony SRS-XB12 has similar specs regarding water and dust resistance, meaning you can take it out to hikes as well as parties near water bodies. Naturally, being an older device, the SRS-XB12 comes with a micro-USB port.

That aside, there's a neat Add button that lets you add and pair other compatible Sony speakers to amplify the sound and add a stereo effect. Cool, right?

Battery and Connectivity

When it comes to the battery life, Sony has managed to keep things the same way. You will get a battery life of around 16 hours on a single charge. One of the minor differences is that the new speaker comes with the battery indicator (on the phone) and will let you know when the speaker is about to run out of charge.

Sony SRS XB13 vs Sony SRS XB12 Should You Upgrade 3

Sony SRS-XB12

Another new feature is Google's Fast Pair technology. With this, you will be able to pair the speaker to your smartphone is fast and quick. And naturally, this enhances the overall experience since it removes the hassles of searching for Bluetooth and entering PINs.

Audio Performance

It might not come as a surprise to you now if we say that the Sony SRS-XB12 has a bass-forward audio delivery. The audio is loud, and if you have an indoor party, a couple of these are enough to get it roaring.

But it might not have the same effect if you have an open area. Despite a bass-heavy sound signature, the vocals are clear and are not overshadowed. This is partially due to the DSP (Digital Signal Processor), responsible for thinning out the lows when the volume is cranked up.

Sony SRS XB13 vs Sony SRS XB12 Should You Upgrade 6

It's not perfect. The treble range is a little uneven, and the mono audio fails to give off an immersive vibe.

With the SRS-XB13, Sony has played with the audio delivery better. The audio is much more balanced, which is a huge plus. At the same time, the vocals are loud and clear and have the right amount of bass.

Another new feature is the 360-degree audio. As suggestive of its name, this is designed to give full audio in all directions. However, as per the folks at Tech Radar, this feature doesn't do so well in real-world scenarios. You can feel the immersive audio if you were in a small room or get-together, but the audio doesn't have the same effect when you move to an open area. Again, you have to consider that this portable speaker costs less than $100.

Verdict

So, should you upgrade from the Sony SRS-XB12 to the new SRS-XB13? Well, we say you should. Looks-wise, you might not see many differences. But have a closer look, and you will notice that this time around, the new speaker has packed a few punches.

You get your hands on an instant pairing method, and this will help your case if you have an Android phone. Besides that, the audio is much more balanced. More importantly, it doesn't empty your bank account and is a great companion for indoor and outdoor usage.


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Namrata loves writing about products and gadgets. She has been working for Guiding Tech since 2017 and has around three years of experience writing features, how-tos, buying guides, and explainers. Previously she worked as an IT Analyst at TCS, but she found her calling elsewhere.