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CNET First Look
Sony SRS-X5 wireless speaker: The Bose Bluetooth competitorThe $200 SRS-X5 delivers excellent sound in a relatively small package and competes directly with the top-selling Bose SoundLink Mini.
[MUSIC] This is the Sony SRS-X5, a $200 portable Bluetooth speaker that sits somewhere in the middle of Sony's line up of wireless speakers. Well it doesn't have the built in WiFi streaming of the larger, more expensive SRS-X7. It's one of the best sounding speakers in its price class and a better value. Hi, I'm David Carnoy, here to give you a quick video tour of this speaker, which took me a little bit by surprise. After reviewing the good, but not great, X7, I wasn't expecting that much from its little brother. But as soon as I turned it on, I was impressed by the amount of bass it delivers for its small size, and its clean, relatively natural sound. From a design standpoint, this sports the same simple, minimalist design of its larger sibling. With the same glossy finish in a choice of red, black, and white for the speaker grill cover. On top of the unit, you'll find a few different buttons, some of which, including the volume and preset sound modes are touch sensitive. And yes, that glossy finish will attract some fingerprints so be prepared to wipe the speaker down from time to time. As far as extras go there's that aforementioned speaker phone functionality along with NFC tap to pair technology for smartphones that support it. There's also app deck support. An audio input for non-Bluetooth devices. And more importantly, a USB charging port on the back that will charge your smartphone. It can charge tablets too, but it's only 1.5 amps, so it would charge them very slowly. In many ways, this competes directly with Bose's $200 SoundLink Mini, and perhaps even Bose's SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III. It's a portable speaker, but due to its design it's more of an indoor speaker that at 2.5 pounds can easily be moved from room to room. Battery life is rated at eight hours which is slightly better than the Bose Mini seven hours. It's right there with the sound like Mini in the terms of sound quality, and has a similar sound profile with a lot of bass for its small size. As with all these compact Bluetooth speakers, it does have its limitations. But like the Bose products, it manages to eek out a lot of sound from its small frame without distorting. I also found that it didn't move around at higher volumes like its larger sibling, the X7 does. In the end there's a case to be made that this is a better buy than the BOSE SoundLink Mini. It may not have quite as sturdy a design, but it sounds as good and has speaker phone functionality. As I said, it's one of the best sounding compact wireless speakers in its sub $200 price class. And is definitely recommendable if you're looking for a portable, wireless speaker that you plan on using mainly indoors. I'm David Carnoy, thanks for watching. [MUSIC]