Sony brings the nightclub atmosphere to your home with the GTK-XB60 EXTRA BASS Bluetooth speaker.
At IFA earlier this year, Sony unveiled a slew of new audio products, including a successor to the very popular MDR-1000X headphones, which we've already reviewed. But the company also unveiled a couple of new EXTRA BASS Bluetooth speakers in the GTK-XB60 and XB90. These speakers are said to pack a punch, and after using the XB60 for a few weeks now, it's clear that it does. But the real question is whether the XB60 is worth the extra cash or not?
The XB60 does really pack a punch, and that's thanks to the two woofers and two tweeters that are inside. The woofers are 5.12-inches, while the tweeters are 1.97-inches. Together these output some incredible sound. The XB60 does also include Sony's ClearAudio+ technology, which allows the speaker to play music at higher volumes without distorting the sound coming out of the speaker. Sony does have multiple outputs available on the XB60, including an Audio-In port (its an RCA port), a microphone port and a USB port. Sony does also allow you to connect multiple XB60's together, and really get the room bouncing with some music. One of the more exciting features of the XB60 is indeed the LED lights all around this speaker. There are also strobe lights, which dance to the music that's playing. So it really gives you that club-like atmosphere.
In the Box
Sony doesn't include a whole lot inside the box here, with the XB60. It is a rather large box, and that's because this is a large speaker (it weighs around 17 pounds). But inside, you'll get the XB60, along with a power cable and then some paperwork, to help you get started. And that's about it.
The XB60 is stunning. Our review unit here is in blue, but Sony also offers it in black. Now the one thing that surprised me was the fact that the speaker is actually plastic, though the grille on the front is indeed metal. The plastic build really isn't a big deal here, and Sony likely went with it because it's lighter than aluminum, since the company does tout this as a portable speaker - though many people likely won't move it to much.
Sony keeps all of the controls on the top of the XB60, so it's easy to find them and use them, without needing to move the speaker. So on the top, you have a power button which will turn green when it is on. Next to that is a play/pause button, which is also used for answering and hanging up from calls - there is a microphone built in, so you can theoretically take calls on this. On the right side, you'll find volume buttons as well as the EXTRA BASS button. You can toggle the EXTRA BASS on or off, this button also activates the demo for the LED lights. Further back, there are a few more buttons. Including STAMINA, which is to help the battery last longer, a feature that is also found in Sony's smartphones. There's also the function button, so you can toggle between Bluetooth, USB and Audio In, and there are also indicator lights next to it. On the opposite side there are Add and Party Chain buttons, which is this is to either add another speaker, or toggle on Party Chain and have multiple speakers playing the same thing.
There's no getting around it, this is not your typical Bluetooth speaker from Sony, or really any company. This is a speaker that you'll want to put in a corner or even in your entertainment center (and since it has Audio In and Out, that is actually possible!), and not move around too much. But if you do want to move it around, Sony touts that there is about 14 hours of battery life out of this speaker, which given the fact that there are two woofers and two tweeters in here, it's impressive that you can get 14 hours of battery life out of this.
Sound quality is incredible here. Though that is no surprise. Sony makes great audio products, and there's a reason for that. Sony also has a record label, and it wants its music to sound good on its own products, and it sure does. The Sony XB60 is one of the best speakers that we have reviewed this year, when it comes to sound quality. The XB60 gets plenty loud, in fact, I haven't even turned it up more than half way, as that still fills my entire apartment with sound. So if you're at a party and perhaps the DJ, this is a great speaker to pick up and use.
Now when it comes to the lows, they are pretty bassy. Again, that's no surprise given the fact that this is an EXTRA BASS speaker, so it basically touts the lows as a feature. Even when toggling EXTRA BASS off on the Sony XB60, you still get some great bass out of this speaker. The mids and highs are still really good thanks to those dual tweeters that are included here. You'll get crystal clear mids and highs. You'll really appreciate the way this speaker sounds if you play some bass-heavy music on it.
Now to really take advantage of the Sony XB60, you're going to want to download the Sony Music Center app. While it's not actually needed, as this is a Bluetooth speaker, so you could just connect over Bluetooth and stream your music, the Sony Music Center app is still a good download. It'll walk you through connecting to the speaker (which if you have already connected to it, you'll need to forget the connection and re-pair through the app). Once you are into the app, you will see a few different options. Including My Library, which will show the music that is downloaded on that device, for you to play. There's also Fiestable, which is another app for the XB60 that you'll want to check out if you are into some DJ effects, we'll talk more about Fiestable in a bit. You can switch between inputs, as well as jump into different music apps on your device. Finally, you'll see settings at the bottom. This is where you can control the illumination of the lights on the XB60, but also the equalizer. For most people, the sound you get out of the box will be fine, but some may want to adjust the EQ for the XB60, which you can do so here.
The Fiestable app really allows you to get started as a DJ with the XB60. The app's design is a bit questionable, but it works and works well. So you can choose DJ Control or Illumination. Under DJ Control, you'll get a slew of different DJ options like drums, scratch, audience, voice, the reggaehorn and a few others. You can also change how the music sounds with Flanger, Isolator, WAV and a few other options. So you could really become the DJ at your next party. With the Illumination settings, you can adjust the flashing, as well as the color of the LED's. There's not a ton of options here, but it is nice to have them available.
Battery Life & Connectivity
Sony says that the XB60 can last you around 14 hours of continuous playback on a charge. Now to be honest, I kept it plugged in during most of my time with this speaker. And that was because I kept it in the corner most of the time, so there was no reason to unplug it. But it does appear to last around 14 hours or a bit more depending on how you're using it (volume, utilizing EXTRA BASS, etc). Which is still pretty mindblowing considering what is inside this speaker, and the fact that it is still able to last that long on a charge. That's definitely long enough for a night of partying.
The bluetooth connection here was pretty solid, didn't really run into any issues with it disconnecting at all. Range appears to be about average, so around 60 feet. Although we didn't measure it, we were able to walk away with the device that was connected (typically a Pixel 2 XL or Honor 7X), and it didn't disconnect. So that's good to see as well. Now Sony does typically add NFC to their speakers and headphones, making it dead easy to connect them to your smartphone (as long as you don't have an iPhone). And that is also available on the XB60. There's a NFC logo on the top near the back of the speaker, tap your phone to that and you'll be asked if you want to pair your phone with the XB60 and you're good to go. Definitely a great feature to have, and the XB60 can be connected to multiple devices at the same time - not just remember different devices, but simultaneous connections.
The Sony XB60 may not be the speaker for everyone. But those that are wanting something that can pack a ton of sound, and still output some great audio, then this is a great option. The XB60 doesn't do high-resolution audio officially, but it does convert audio into really good sounding audio thanks to its internals. The XB60 is a great speaker to pick up to play music in your home, or even to take to a party and bring the part up a notch. At a retail price of $350 (although it is typically priced at $249 or even less around the holidays), it is not going to be the best selling Bluetooth speaker out there, but it really should be. As mentioned already, the Sony GTK-XB60 is available in both blue and black colors. You can find buy links down below.