In our analysis, the Sony XB100 and XB13 are quite similar, with minor improvements in the XB100 model. We found that the Sony XB100 slightly edges out the Sony XB13 in the following:
- Microphone clarity
- Fast Pairing with Android devices
However, the similarities between the two speakers are more than their differences, which is somewhat unsatisfactory for users anticipating a major upgrade.
In most situations, both speakers would serve you equally well for casual music listening. The sub-$60 price makes either a reasonable choice, though neither is particularly exciting. The design, durability, and software capabilities remain virtually identical.
Now that the XB100 has been released, I would expect the XB13 to be available at a steep discount. If you can save $20 by finding the XB13 on sale, it probably beats out the XB100 for the price. If you are buying at full MSRP, the XB100 is a no-brainer.
Sony XB13 vs. XB100: Quick Comparison
- Reliable and tested by consumers for longer
- Often available on sale, offering better value
- Acceptable sound quality for the price
- Older Bluetooth technology (4.2)
- Sound quality, particularly the bass, might not impress audiophiles
- No significant sustainability effort in manufacturing
- Enhanced sound quality, with marginally better bass
- Improved microphone clarity and echo cancelling
- Features Bluetooth 5.3, offering potentially better connectivity
- Manufactured with some recycled materials, promoting sustainability
- Not significantly better than XB13, considering it’s a newer model
- May not be as readily available on sale
- No companion app support
Regarding sound, the Sony XB100 has slightly improved overall sound quality and a slightly more refined bass. Neither improvement is dramatic enough to justify upgrading from the XB13 to the XB100, but those sensitive to sound quality might appreciate the subtle changes.
When it comes to design, both speakers are almost identical. The compact and portable design makes both speakers an excellent companion for outdoor activities or simply moving from room to room.
You can easily hang them off your backpack, bike handle, or even your arm thanks to their carrying straps. There are no considerable design upgrades from the XB13 to the XB100 — just a couple of minor esthetic tweaks.
Both the XB100 and XB13 come with an IP67 waterproof rating, making them suitable for use near water or in dusty environments. Their sturdy builds can handle the usual knocks and bumps, providing confidence during your outdoor adventures or indoor shenanigans.
On the software front, the XB100 has the edge with Bluetooth 5.3 over the XB13’s Bluetooth 4.2. This minor update provides a more stable connection and greater range.
In addition, the XB100 has the ability to Fast Pair with compatible Android devices, a convenient feature that saves time and hassle. Unfortunately, neither the XB13 nor the XB100 offers a companion app to customize the listening experience.
Another noticeable improvement is in the XB100’s microphone. It now comes with echo cancellation, providing a clearer voice input for calls. This could be a key consideration if you often use your speaker for conference calls or chats.
When it comes to battery life, both the XB100 and XB13 boast up to 16 hours of playtime (according to Sony…), making them reliable companions for a full day’s worth of activities. They also share the same USB-C charging capability, maintaining the industry standard and ensuring convenience.
However, neither speaker’s battery life is impressive. We have seen longer battery life in other speakers in the same price range. That being said, for most users, a 16-hour battery life is more than sufficient for everyday use. The problem is that testing shows that battery life will fall far short of the full 16 hours.
Which One Should You Buy?
If you’re budget-conscious and value tried-and-true products, the Sony XB13 may be a better choice, especially considering it frequently goes on sale. Its sound quality is decent, and it offers solid functionality for its price.
However, if you’re more environmentally conscious, prefer slightly better sound quality, or need a speaker with a clear microphone, the Sony XB100 might be a better fit. Although the improvements are marginal, they might matter to specific users.
It’s important to remember that neither of these speakers will disappoint in terms of basic functionality and reliability. It’s really a matter of considering what specific features and improvements matter most to you.
Bottom line, of the five categories we discussed in the XB13 vs. XB100 debate, the Sony XB100 edges out the Sony XB13 in a few areas, but not by a significant margin.
The enhancements in the XB100 – slightly improved sound quality, clearer microphone, fast pairing, and the use of some recycled materials for sustainability – do not offer a compelling case for upgrading from the XB13.
Material differences between the two speakers are minimal, and the XB100 does not bring any revolutionary features to the table. It continues the tradition of its predecessor by offering a reliable and reasonably priced portable speaker.
But for those looking for a significant upgrade or something to get excited about, the XB100 may not meet those expectations.
Despite their limitations, both speakers are decent choices in the sub-$60 range. They deliver adequate performance for casual listeners and can handle a variety of situations thanks to their portability and waterproof design. So whether you choose the XB13 or the XB100, you are likely to get a satisfactory audio experience.