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Sony SRS-X11 review: A tiny cube Bluetooth speaker with some pop

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At $70 (UK£54, AU$99), Sony's SRS-X11 is at the higher end of the micro wireless speaker market, which is rather crowded these days.

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7.2

Sony SRS-X11

The Good

The Sony SRS-X11 is a very compact, attractively designed Bluetooth speaker that plays pretty loud and sounds pretty decent for its tiny size. It has an integrated speakerphone, can be paired wirelessly with another X11, and offers 12 hours of battery life.

The Bad

Should cost about one-third less.

The Bottom Line

While you can get even cheaper Bluetooth models, the SRS-X11 is one of the better-sounding micro wireless speakers and offers 12 hours of battery life.

While you can certainly get better-sounding speakers for that price, you'll be hard-pressed to find a tiny wireless speaker that sounds as good as the SRS-X11. So, by good I mean good in the relative sense.

Weighing 7.6 ounces or 215 grams and measuring 2.4 inches (6.1 cm) by 2.4 inches (6.1 cm), the X11 is smaller than a Rubik's Cube and seems well built, with enough heft to it to make you think it's got some substance. Available in multiple color options, the speaker has a soft-to-touch finish on both the back and top of the speaker, where you'll find the power button, volume controls and an answer/end button for the built-in speakerphone, which works OK (in other words, don't expect this to perform like a business-grade speakerphone).

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The SRS-X11 comes in multiple color options and has a built-in speakerphone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Additional features include and an audio input, NFC tap-to-pair technology for smartphones that support it, and the ability to join two speakers together wirelessly and create a left/right stereo pair or just double up the sound.

Performance

As I said, there are a lot tiny Bluetooth speakers out there. I like the JBL Clip Plus , Logitech X100 and Sol Republic Punk , to name a couple. From a sound standpoint, this little Sony competes well with those models and delivers better battery life -- a full 12 hours at moderate volume levels.

The speaker rates 10 watts of power, which is about double that of what these micro speakers typically claim. Like the Clip Plus and the Punk, there's enough bass to keep the speaker from sounding too thin, although you'll want to stick to more moderate volumes to prevent distortion (virtually all small Bluetooth speakers distort to some degree).

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The speaker has dual passive radiators that help produce enough bass to keep the speaker from sounding too thin.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Not surprisingly, the speaker does best with acoustical material and is strongest in the midrange, producing clean sounding vocals. It did well with Laura Marling's "Strange" and Dave Matthews Band's "You & Me" and other mellower tunes. Particularly at higher volumes, it had a harder time with rock and more complicated tracks -- or anything with a lot of bass.

If you plan on cranking techno or hip-hop, this isn't the speaker for you. But for a little background music or movie watching on your tablet or laptop, the X11 makes for a decent little audio accessory, delivering louder and fuller sound than the internal speakers of most portable devices.

Conclusion

For a significant bump up in volume and sound quality, you're better off with Sony's larger SRS-X33 . But if portability is what you're after, this cute little cube speaker is worth considering. I like it; I just wish it cost a little closer to $50 USD.

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7.2

Sony SRS-X11

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Sound 7Value 6