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317mm x 720mm x 375mm
18.5 kg (approx)
The Sony SRS-XV800 is a sizeable portable speaker. It’s aimed at people throwing parties, hosting karaoke nights, or just wanting a battery-powered speaker that really packs a punch. With its large size and several unusual features, it offers a step up from the typical smaller Bluetooth speakers on the market. But is the SRS-XV800 the right choice for your next speaker, or are you better off looking elsewhere?
What you need to know about the Sony SRS-XV800
Sony SRS-XV800: $649.99
The Sony SRS-XV800 is a massive version of a portable Bluetooth speaker like the UE Boom 3, offering a much more substantial sound for parties and gatherings. While it boasts additional features like extra inputs for karaoke and lights that strobe in time with the music, its primary function remains that of a powerful battery-powered speaker. The available inputs include Bluetooth, optical digital audio for use with a television, two quarter-inch jack inputs for microphones or instruments, and a traditional 3.5mm stereo analog jack socket. The SRS-XV800 seems to be positioned as a workhorse jack-of-all-trades product that works well indoors, outdoors, at parties, and even in your home theater.
Priced at $649.99, the Sony SRS-XV800 is undeniably a higher-tier option than smaller portable speakers. However, its larger size and extensive features justify the price. It delivers a more substantial audio experience, getting more than loud enough for large parties, even outdoors. It features three tweeters, two 170mm square woofers, plus two rear tweeters that Sony claims will provide consistent sound in a total 360-degree area around the speaker.
What’s good about the Sony SRS-XV800?
The Sony SRS-XV800 has a substantial though easily luggable design that feels sturdy, making it a reliable choice for outdoor parties and other places you wouldn’t take a typical speaker setup. It’s IPX4 rated (when placed vertically, IPX2 when placed horizontally), meaning that it can handle light water splashes, and cannot be submerged. Although it is on the heavier side, the two small wheels provide convenience when moving it from place to place. The controls on the top of the unit are easy to use, offering quick access to change inputs and adjust the volume and bass levels. The battery life is impressive at 25 hours (according to Sony), although this may be diminished if you’re listening at a high volume or using the included lights. There’s also a USB port on the back to charge your phone when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.
Using Bluetooth to stream your music wirelessly, the SRS-XV800 supports multiple codecs, including SBC, AAC, and LDAC. I was impressed with the audio quality during testing, in terms of sheer volume and how well it represented the music. The “MEGA BASS” button boosts the bass response to fit your listening environment or the genre of music you’re playing. I tested the speaker with a few songs across different genres, including War by IDLES, and Divide and Conquer (Noisia Remix) by What So Not, and I was pretty satisfied, no matter what I was listening to.
What’s not so good about the Sony SRS-XV800?
While the Sony SRS-XV800 performs admirably as a powerful, portable speaker, it’s trying a bit too hard to be a jack-of-all-trades. For use in a home theater, the Sony SRS-XV800 can serve as a temporary solution if you need a huge volume boost. However, dedicated home theater setups with separate speakers will vastly outperform it, and even sticking to your television’s internal speakers can offer superior stereo separation than this single speaker.
Similarly, better products are available if you’re setting up a dedicated karaoke environment. This might fit the bill with features including Echo and Key Control for an impromptu party. For this use case, the absence of an XLR input is worth mentioning. While the SRS-XV800 provides quarter-inch jacks for microphones and instruments, the lack of an XLR input means that you’ll need the appropriate cable or adapter if you want to use industry-standard handheld microphones (microphones are not supplied with the speaker). The SRS-XV800’s features fall short of the requirements for a DIY music event, where a mixer would be needed, and in that case, it’s beaten in price by powered speakers meant for small concerts.
While these additional use cases might appear attractive on the surface, they fell a little short in practical use. It feels like a scaled-up version of a portable Bluetooth speaker, with the same pros and cons as the other devices in this category.
Sony SRS-XV800 specs
Here’s a quick rundown of the most important specifications for the Sony SRS-XV800:
317mm x 720mm x 375mm
IPX4 (placed vertically), IPX2 (placed horizontally)
Wired audio connection
3.5mm TRS aux jack
1/4-inch jack for mic, instruments
Wireless audio connection
Bluetooth; SBC, AAC, LDAC
25 hours (approximately)
Yes, 3 hours of playback for 10 minutes of charge
AC wall outlet
Sony SRS-XV800 review: Should you buy it?
The Sony SRS-XV800 is essentially a big, expensive portable speaker that admirably serves its primary purpose as a portable speaker for parties. Unfortunately, attempts to market the speaker as a jack-of-all-trades fall flat. While the price is reasonable for the features it offers, there might be better choices for you depending on what it is you’re really looking for. If you want a speaker for your TV, you’re better off buying a soundbar. Should you need a speaker for house parties or for chilling with friends outdoors, you might be better served by one of the smaller and cheaper options we recommend. If you want to do karaoke seriously, look for a karaoke machine, or if you want to organize a small music event, you’re better off renting professional gear. The ideal situation for this speaker is an outdoor event where you need to provide some background music. Of course, if you have the money and want a big loud speaker for listening to music with friends, the Sony SRS-XV800 will work too.
Frequently asked questions about the Sony SRS-XV800
Yes, the speaker includes a “MEGA BASS” button that allows you to toggle two different settings for enhanced low-end response. This feature can be useful in adjusting the sound based on your listening environment and the genre of music.
Yes, the speaker offers optical digital audio input, allowing you to connect it to your TV.