Bluetooth speakers from Sony and JBL are usually considered the most popular. These two manufacturers offer a wide variety of portable models for home, party, and outdoor use.
A few months ago, I was going through the dilemma of choosing between these two. I researched just about anything you can find online and eventually learned what I needed to learn.
Both JBL and Sony have pocket options and real acoustic “monsters” that can wake up neighbors.
In this article, I selected the most popular JBL and Sony portable speakers and compared them according to 6 main criteria: weight, sound quality, functionality, battery life, user reviews, and price. I also divided them into categories (starting from the lightest), so you can easily find what you want.
Pocket options: JBL Clip 4 vs. Sony SRS-XB13
|Battery life||10 hours||16 hours|
|Weight||238 g||240 g|
|User rating (Amazon)||4.8||4.5|
1. Both speakers are lightweight. The Sony SRS-XB13 weighs 240 g, and the JBL GO 3 weighs 238 g. So in this parameter, both models can be set to 5. The light weight allows you to take any of these devices for a walk.
2. The functionality of the models is similar. Both work autonomously. They’re controlled by physical buttons and connect to a sound source via Bluetooth.
JBL works on a more modern Bluetooth 5.1, while Sony works on version 4.2. Devices do not work with USB drives.
Clip 4 plays music exclusively via Bluetooth, but SRS-XB13 can be connected to smartphones and PCs via AUX. In addition, the Japanese device is equipped with a microphone: you can use it to answer calls.
3. The declared battery life of these two portable speakers is quite extensive. But the winner in terms of actual operating time is the model from Sony.
Judging by the reviews, it can easily withstand up to 15 hours of work on a single charge out of 16 hours indicated by the manufacturer. However, it takes quite a long time to charge – 4.5 hours.
JBL is not so long-lasting. It lasts only 3-5 hours at medium volume and 20-30% up to 8 hours. The charging time is 2 hours.
The SRS-XB13 has an input for connecting a micro-USB cable. Clip 4 is equipped with a more modern and durable USB Type-C connector.
4. The sound of both speakers is mono. But with the help of two identical devices from Sony, you can get real stereo sound. True, some users encounter problems when pairing speakers. JBL is devoid of such a feature.
SRS-XB13 is better in sound quality. The speaker owners talk about detailed sound:
- All frequencies are even.
- The volume is excellent, with no porridge.
- There are basses (EXTRA BASS ™ technology).
Clip 4 sounds good but clearly falls short of the Sony. Yes, it is suitable for listening to fairy tales and audiobooks, but nothing more than that.
It will not work to get a high-quality rich sound with good detail. There is not enough bass here, but otherwise, the frequency response is flat, and there are no serious shortcomings.
5. Regarding the number of positive reviews, JBL Clip 4 is ahead of Sony’s speaker. Users praise the model for its ergonomic form factor and affordable price.
As you can see, Sony SRS-XB13 is the best option among budget devices. It bypasses JBL Clip 4 in terms of sound quality, battery life, and functionality.
JBL is quite behind the Japanese device: this portable speaker may become an alternative to Sony’s more expensive pocket acoustics.
Mid-budget: JBL FLIP 5 vs. Sony SRS-XB23
|Battery life||12 hours||12 hours|
|Weight||540 g||580 g|
|User rating (Amazon)||4.8||4.6|
1. The JBL Flip 5 weighs 540g, while the Sony XB23 weighs 580g. The difference is subtle. But the form factor of the speakers, although similar, is still more practical due to the narrow case.
It fits easily into a bike bottle holder or cup holder. Plus, the column is stable both in the lying position and standing.
2. The functionality of mid-budget devices is the same. Neither Sony nor JBL supports USB drives; there is no connector for a wired connection.
But there is the possibility of fine-tuning using native applications. Sony XB23 has Sony Music Center, and JBL Flip 5 has JBL Connect.
The XB23 is also equipped with a microphone for hands-free calls.
3. The battery life of both JBL and Sony is solid. Both devices work up to 12 hours and are connected to the power supply via USB Type-C.
Only the volume of the battery and the charge rate of the speakers are different here.
The 4800 mAh Flip 5 battery charges in 2.5 hours. The Sony XB23 has a 2700 mAh battery capacity, and the charging speed is 4 hours. Significantly longer than JBL.
4. The sound is something for which both portable speakers are favorites among users.
The model from Sony has a cleaner and more harmonious sound, there are basses. Though, some Sony owners claim that it doesn’t have enough volume and saturation.
After tuning, Sony produces stereo sound and JBL – mono. Stereo can only be obtained by connecting to a second identical speaker.
Judging by the reviews, JBL still sounds better than Sony. With FLIP 5, people get both saturation and loudness.
5. The JBL Flip 5 has more positive reviews than the Sony speaker. And that portable speaker is sold five times better.
6. The cost of both Bluetooth speakers is almost identical, a bit below $100.
JBL Flip 5 is the best mid-budget portable speaker. High ratings and positive user reviews confirm this.
Best Under $200: JBL Charge 5 vs. Sony SRS-XB33
|Battery life||20 hours||24 hours|
|Weight||960 g||1100 g|
|User rating (Amazon)||4.8||4.7|
1. The JBL Charge 5 weighs 960 g, and the device from Sony is slightly heavier – 1.1 kg. You can’t put it in your pocket, and you can’t put it in a cup holder/bottle holder either.
Both speakers are equipped with a body with a similar form factor. There are no major differences except for the bright backlight on the Sony SRS-XB33 case, which the JBL Charge 5 does not have.
2. The functionality of the devices is similar: both models have support for the Power Bank mode, synchronization with other speakers, and push-button control.
The SRS-XB33 has one big advantage over the Charge 5: Hands-free. The device is equipped with a built-in microphone that allows you to talk on the phone, and there is also NFC support.
3. Regarding battery life, the Sony speaker beats the JBL Charge 5.
Altough the JBL claims 20 hours of portable speaker operation from a single charge, according to tests and reviews, JBL can withstand only 8-10 hours without connecting to the power source.
And this is with a battery capacity of 7500 mAh with a rather long charge of 4 hours.
Sony SRS-XB33 is equipped with a 2700 mAh battery, and, judging by the manufacturer’s statements, it can play without being connected to power for 24 hours.
In fact, it lives 11-14 hours, which is very good for such a large battery. However, it takes a long time to charge – as much as 5 hours.
4. Both speakers sound decent. JBL perfectly plays both modern compositions and music of the 90s and zero. The bass is pleasant, not booming, without rattling and buzzing. The mids and highs are clear, without distortion.
Sony is a little quiet. The basses are muffled and not saturated enough. Users complain about EXTRA BASS – it is because of this mode, that the speaker sounds muffled. In LIVE mode, the sound is good, but the bass is not as bright.
5. By the number of positive reviews, JBL occupies the top position in many ratings. This speaker is the choice of most users.
According to the comparison results, the Sony SRS-XB33 is the better portable speaker. It slightly beats JBL in terms of autonomy and functionality, and it’s cheaper.
Best Overall for Outdoor: JBL Xtreme 3 vs. Sony SRS-XB43
|Battery life||15 hours||24 hours|
|Weight||1970 g||2950 g|
|User rating (Amazon)||4.6||4.7|
1. We really can’t call these devices lightweight. The Sony speaker weighs 2950 grams, and JBL is almost a kilogram lighter – 1970 g.
The form factor is similar, except that the JBL is easier to carry. The model’s body has metal fasteners for the strap: it can be carried like a bag. Sony has no such feature. But there is a branded backlight.
2. Both models have advanced functionality. Both Sony and JBL can be connected via AUX cable. There is a pairing with other speakers and charging support for other devices.
Only Sony has the built-in microphone and speakerphone. Some retailers claim there’s such a feature in the JBL, but no one knows exactly how it is set up and whether it works.
3. The battery life of both portable speakers is solid. On average, each steadily works for 10-12 hours. However, the battery capacity of the devices is different.
JBL is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery with fast charging for 70 minutes. On the other hand, Sony works with a 4900 mAh battery with a very long and tedious recharge for 5 hours.
4. Both JBL and Sony sound almost like a full audio system.
JBL with stereo stands out with bright bass and good volume (enough for at least a 2-room apartment). The speaker also does a great job of delivering vocals. However, some users have problems with detailing and “muttering” of the speakers at maximum volume.
Sony gives a nice stereo sound, not over-saturated with bass. And this is what users do not like. In addition, the speaker loses to the JBL in volume level: Sony power is a little short of the JBL one.
5. The JBL has a higher number of positive reviews. The Xtreme 3 is a real user favorite. There are a lot of reviews about Sony’s operation, too, but it is inferior to JBL in terms of popularity.
The JBL Xtreme 3 is the absolute winner of the comparison. Yes, it is not perfect in terms of functionality and price, but in terms of sound quality and practicality, this speaker beats the Sony SRS-XB43.
Party Speakers: JBL PartyBox 300 vs. Sony SRS-XP 700
|Battery life||18 hours||24 hours|
|Weight||17.4 kg||16.9 kg|
|User rating (Amazon)||4.9||4.6|
1. Both PartyBox 300 and SRS-XP 700 weigh quite a lot. The JBL has 17.42 kg, and the Sony has 16.9 kg. It is lighter than the PartyBox, but not as mobile. You can only carry Sony by the handle, but dragging almost 17 kg on you is a doubtful pleasure.
The JBL is another matter. This massive but at the same time a portable speaker is equipped with a retractable handle and wheels. To move it is quite convenient.
2. The functionality of both speakers is amazing. Microphones, guitars, and USB drives with music can be connected to both Sony and JBL, as well as these speakers can be used as a portable battery. There are no particular differences in the functions of the speakers.
3. But the battery life of these two speakers is quite different.
JBL is equipped with a battery of 72 Watt-hour, able to work without recharging for up to 18 hours. In fact, the speaker lives up to 8 hours at 90-100% and up to 12-14 hours at medium volume.
There is no information about Sony’s battery capacity, but the speaker can withstand up to 25 hours of use on a single charge, according to the manufacturer.
However, the actual “longevity” of the device is lower: 7-15 hours in various modes. Just like JBL, the Sony also works perfectly from the mains. Plus, the speaker has a quick charge feature: 10 minutes = 3 hours of continuous operation.
4. Sound is the strong point of both portable speakers.
The SRS-XP700 does not sound as classically soft as the younger models. Here you can feel the bass, the middle without clutter, and the tops without mush and extraneous noise.
Also, Sony’s sound is omnidirectional – the speaker shows itself perfectly when installed in the center of the party.
There are problems only with the sound of the guitar: you will not be able to play and play music simultaneously. There will be a lot of noise.
The PartyBox 310 pleases with an abundance of bass. But the reach is not as wide as in Sony’s case. Yes, the bass is very elaborate, but it lacks a little bit in the treble.
The midrange sounds clean. When working offline at maximum volume, the sound distorts for some users. The problem is solved by connecting directly to the network: so the music plays cleaner.
5. Again, judging by the ton of good reviews, JBL is in the lead: Sony is not as popular as its American competitor. The model commanded users’ attention due to its rich functionality and stylish design.
The JBL PartyBox 310 is the best portable monster speaker. Yes, its sound is not much better than Sony’s, but it’s an excellent solution for a private home and sunny outdoor parties.