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First Look: Sony's SRS-X3 takes aim at Bose's SoundLink Mini

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First Look: Sony's SRS-X3 takes aim at Bose's SoundLink Mini

2:24 /

Sony's compact Bluetooth speaker offers strong sound for its size and costs much less than the Bose.

[MUSIC] This is the Sony SRS X3, one of the smaller models in Sony's 2014 line up of portable bluetooth speakers and a very likeable wireless speaker for it's compact size and $150 price point. I'm David Carnoy and welcome to another CNet video review of a portable bluetooth speaker. I'm a fan of the step-up SRS-X5, which retails for about $50 more, and I like this one a lot, too. It seems designed to compete with the Bose Soundlink Mini and delivers big sound for a small size. It basically plays as loud as the Bose and sounds arguably as good, or better, though can distort a little at higher volumes. In hand it feels sturdy and has some heft to it, weighing in at about 1.75 pounds with 2 10 watt 1.3 inch drivers and dual passive base radiators. And you can see it's design is straight forward and elegant nd the speaker itself has a nice smooth to the touch finish. It comes in a few different colors including black, red, and the white you see here. As far as extra features go, you get speakerphone capabilities, along with NFC tap-to-pair technology for smartphones that support it. There's an audio imput, and battery life is rated at around seven hours, which is good but not great. The speaker charges via micro USB, which is better than having a charge with a separate AC adaptor. The speaker has a couple of different sound modes, one of which is designed to widen the sound stage a bit, because speakers like this with their drivers so close together offer minimal stereo separation. Aside from the design, what I like about the speaker and the [UNKNOWN] X5 is that they sound relatively natural for Bluetooth speakers. The sound is relatively clean, with good detail in the treble and clear mid-range. The base doesn't go quite as deep as the Bose Mini. But it does seem a bit tighter. While the base isn't huge, this little guy managed to have some kick to it. And it does well in smaller rooms and makes for an excellent little background music generator. The sound does have its limitations. And as I said you can get some distortion when you crank the volume. Aside from that caveat this is one of the stronger mini Bluetooth speakers I've tested, both in terms of sound and design. And it's a worthy contender to the BOSE SoundLink Mini, particularly since it costs $50 less. I'm David Carnoy, thanks for watching. [MUSIC]

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