Sony SRS-HG1 Bluetooth Speaker – REVIEW

One of the first solutions to playing music in sync across the house – if that’s your goal, these are a great bet.

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Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom.  So I just reviewed the Sony XB3 which seriously focuses on bass and one of the unique features for Sony, it was water resistant.  For $150, it wasn’t bad considering how loud and how much bass it had.  But Sony just released another series in their speaker line, the H. Ear Go, or what I have here, the Sony SRS-HG1.  I personally paid the retail price of $199 at the time of this review, but I’ll place my personal links up above. Click on those and you get the most updated prices.

PHYSICAL DESIGN
Going over the physical features first, the HG1 is made for portability.  Measuring in at 8inches from left to right, a little over 2 and a quarter inches from front to back, and it stands almost 2 and a half inches tall.  The HG1 does weigh a little more than most other popular Bluetooth speakers on the market – more so than the Bose Soundlink Mini 2, the UE Boom 2, and almost identical in weight with the JBL Charge 3.  When you hold this, it’s not heavy but you get a sense of the speaker being a beefy.

BUILD QUALITY
Construction wise, the exterior feels to be built well with minimal and reasonable amounts of flexing on the front grill, and around the exterior, it’s a smooth plastic that didn’t provide a grippy texture.  Buttons are all very tactile and in general, the HG1 from my experience is a quality built speaker capable of being stowed and carried in a bag.

Now, what we don’t have on this speaker is water resistance unfortunately, there’s no charge out port to charge other devices, this isn’t rugged, sand, or dust proof.  However what this does have and going over the buttons and ports, this can work as a speakerphone for your phone calls.   There’s an extra bass function which I’ll demonstrate during the audio test, there’s of course your volume down and up with power button to the far right.  Directly in the middle, you have NFC, abbreviated for Near Field Communication to pair your NFC enabled phone just by tapping on the speaker.

BATTERY LIFE
Rotating to the back and this is where the HG1 becomes unique and why you might consider this speaker over the others.  This recharges by USB 2.0 which I am always fond of since phone chargers are everywhere these days. And since we’re touching base on battery performance, Sony claims this to have 12 hours of battery life which is okay, but for the price of the speaker, I was hoping for a bit more these days.  Like all my Bluetooth speakers, leaving this on at 50% volume and letting it play till it died, I was able to get 15 hours and 12 minutes worth of performance.

CONNECTIONS & SONGPAL
Up next, the USB port to the right of the charging port is used to plug the speaker directly into your PC and get audio that way.  The only issue I noticed, although audio is being pumped out, the speaker’s Charge light above the power button doesn’t light up…  Un like many speakers that offers USB audio, other speakers are charged at the same time… not here with the Sony.  But moving along, a 3.5mm port for physical connections to other devices…. And to the far right, if you had a second speaker, you can have them play left and right audio channels for improved audio separation.

But here, this is truly where it gets interesting.  If you have multiple Sony speakers compatible with the the SongPal app available for both Apple and Android, your Sony speakers can work like the Sonos brand where you can have multiple speakers throughout the house play at the same time, or have a group of speakers, say just your living room play audio or maybe just your bedroom, and it’s driven through your home wireless network.  And because the speaker is connected to your home wireless network, additional features makes the HG1 able to play iHeartRadio, Pandora, and audio from a home network if you have one setup.  The entire WiFi aspect is the biggest selling point of the speaker.

And as a side note, the first time attempting to set up Bluetooth was a pain.  I had to contact Sony support and they advised me to simply reset the speaker on the bottom, and now the speaker pairs via Bluetooth fine.  And speaking of Bluetooth, the range has been as good as its competitors in keeping a signal from one side of the house to the other, and having that signal go through several walls.

SOUND PERFORMANCE
Playing the HG1 at casual to moderate volume does really well.  Especially with the Extra Bass boost function on, you do get a deeper or better sense of immersion as you can tell from the sample.  It’s not as deep as the Sony XB3 which is heavily bass boosted and cheaper than this model, but again, the extra bass is a nice welcome.  On the other hand, when you do play the HG1 at high or max volume for entertaining purposes or maybe outdoors, the bass does go over into the mid-range and impacts the vocals a slight bit.  The audio quality in general at much higher volumes does become slightly distorted due to the drivers trying to push bass as much as it can.

The mid-range from my opinion is done good with some tuning, but out of the box, it does sound slightly recessed and it just doesn’t stand out as much to the average consumer. Once adjusted, you would achieve a mid-range that’s is much more acceptable and to compensate the bass, the speaker is more enjoyable and I would say is on par with other good performing Bluetooth speakers.  As for the high notes, there’s no ear ringing and minimal hearing fatigue at loud volumes.

Audio separation or the sound stage again isn’t apparent like most Bluetooth speakers, but again, the biggest selling point is the ability to pair not just two of these to help with audio separation, but the ability to pair multiple speakers to play at the same time.  In the end, the HG1’s audio is very good at normal listening levels,  but if you’re in need of something for entertaining or using this at higher volumes, for the price, there’s better out there.  The only reason why I would consider this model is if I do intend on pairing other Sony speakers to play around the house. SO that’s it for this review. I’m Jimmy with Jim’s Review Room, hopefully this video did help you out here. You guys take care; I’ll catch you on the next one.