Sony X33 Review

The Sony X33 is a black, brick-shaped Bluetooth speaker from Sony that really shines for its price.

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Sony just announced an entire update to their Bluetooth speaker lineup.  I had just reviewed their mid-tier model, the SRS-X55, but today, I’m reviewing their cheaper alternative, the SRS-X33.  It’s a smaller, much more portable unit, and we’ll look into its build and as important sound quality as well.  I personally paid $129 at the time of this video, making this comparable with other models.  As always, visit my website for reviews on Bluetooth speakers and other consumer products.

PHYSICAL DESIGN
Starting with the physical overview, this is very much portable, measuring 7.3” wide, 2.3” tall and 2.4 inches deep.  Weight wise, it’s not heavy, but it does have a feeling of being a solid build coming in at 1.9 ounces (1lb 8.7oz. // 730grams)

Overall physical build consists of a very solid grill on both the front and the back with absolutely no flexing and bending when I applied very firm pressure, and on the top and sides features this very grippy yet smooth silicone texture.  This does accumulate dust and brushing it off with your hands don’t do the trick, but a microfiber towel has this looking new once again.

On the top features all of your traditional buttons like power and volume, additional features include a speakerphone option to use for incoming and outgoing phone calls.  During my testing, the other party did hear me clearly at close distances. but at 6feet and beyond, they did notice I was further away.  When they spoke, they can hear static and their own voice feedback.  If I lowered the volume of my speaker here, they heard their own voice with less static, but it somewhat lowers the speakerphone too low on my end for it to be really beneficial to speak across the room.  Further to the left ClearAudio+ makes a return, which switches the audio characteristics to enhance bass and clarity… but I’ll demonstrate that in sound test later.  NFC is also available on the far left, helping you connect your Android NFC enabled phone with just a tap, instead of going through the Bluetooth menu every time.

Rotating to the rear is pretty straightforward with a micro-USB port for charging your device and a 3.5mm jack for physically connecting your devices instead of using the wireless Bluetooth connection.  Sony does provide a wall adapter, but a USB cable directly to your computer (let’s say a laptop) charges the speaker… while using a 3.5mm audio cable at the same time provides much better sound than what comes stock on your PC.

BATTERY LIFE
Regarding battery life, Sony claims up to 12 hours of use.  For my standard test leaving this on with 50% volume for an even standard base, I was able to achieve 7hrs and 30 minutes.  A bit odd and I did confirm this three times, this would die around that 7 and a half hour mark at 50% volume.

But regarding technology you cannot see, normally with Bluetooth connections, audio files are compressed for wireless transmission, you do lose a little bit of audio quality.  However, with today’s Bluetooth, there’s enhanced Codecs like AAC, or APT-X that ensures the wireless transmission retains its quality either equivalent or better than MP3, or equal to CD quality respectively.  However, we haven’t seen a Codec for the High-Resolution audio files.  Think FLAC files that are lossless audio.  Sony provides LDAC, which is Sony’s developed technology to ensure high-resolution audio is transmitted via Bluetooth.  So that’s a feature we see even on this model, the X33.  But to be honest for the average consumer, if you’re NOT purposely using high-bit-rate, lossless audio, or you’re normally just streaming music from Pandora, iHeartRadio or watching Youtube, those files are nowhere close to the High-Resolution audio standard, so the LDAC really becomes a marketing term rather than what an average consumer may use.  So, just a tip.

AUDIO TEST
As a disclaimer in every audio test, audio recorded on my end and then played through your speakers are not the best depiction of audio quality, hence my review.  Starting with Bass, for a small Bluetooth speaker, it’s actually good for most genres.  Voices have depth, beats in EDM and Pop music are pronounced and not recessed or too muffled.  Genre’s not dominated in synthesized bass like Rock and Classical does well for a small speaker.  Bass demanding genres and artists like Nicki Minaj, does ok, it doesn’t hit sub-bass deep, but that’s typical of most small Bluetooth speakers unless you go with the Beats Pill for example, but I felt if you’re listening to rap, its more for casual listening than really getting deep into its music.  Again, for a small Bluetooth speaker, it does very well, only at maximum volume, you do get some minor distortion.

Regarding voices, they stand out and are slightly forward.  I like this as it does offer clear vocals, sharper notes, and when listening to radio or movies, it does make those genres stand out pretty well.  The sound field surprisingly isn’t too monotone or centered either.  There’s not much audio separation like most Bluetooth speakers, but from front to back, I can hear the bass in the back, and it sounds like mid-tones are pushed forward. It’s not a bright sound, but enough to take notice and appreciate.  Regarding high-tones, no ear ringing, not tinging that I can tell through all the genre’s I tried.  The high’s for a small Bluetooth speaker holds tight and rarely loses its quality.  The very top with the SSs’s on very few songs, normally found in high-pitched vocals with very fast beats, you’ll hear some distortion.  This song is somewhat old now, but if you listen to Sexy Chick from David Guetta featuring Akon, you’ll hear some of that minor distortion on the top end.

The X33 for sure fills up a small bedroom and all bathrooms with no questions.  Medium sized rooms like master bedrooms, sunrooms, again did perfectly fine. For large rooms like open floor plans or say your two-car garage, does great for personal listening, but if you are entertaining, even at full volume, you can still speak and hear other people’s conversations perfectly fine.  It does project across large areas, but it won’t fill a room you can say during entertainment.

And if you have seen my other review on the Sony X55 review, what I’m saying here sounds very similar to the more expensive speaker.  And it’s accurate, this small X33 might be very well enough for you.  At 50% volume, shockingly the cheaper X33 is louder, but at 100% volume, the X55 does push more sound, is it a dramatic difference, not really at all.   Compared to other Bluetooth speakers on the market, the Sony X33 is a great speaker for its price, design, and sound quality for a small Bluetooth speaker.  I wished the battery life was closer to the claimed amount, but the sound quality does overshadow some of the battery downfalls.  I would recommend looking into this one.

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