Sony SRS-BTX500 Review

Updated February 28, 2014
cs-product-header
Sony SRS-BTX500
Bottom Line

The Sony SRS-BTX500 gets more consistently positive reviews than any other Bluetooth speaker on the market. Reviewers praise its sound quality; its easy pairing; and its sleek, modern design. They also admire handy features like the speakerphone function and NFC technology, which can pair certain types of smartphones with a simple tap. Its battery life could be better, however, and it's a bit heavy for a portable speaker.

Performance

Impressive sound. Every review we've seen says that the SRS-BTX500 delivers impressive sound for its size. Both professional testers and users use words like "clean" and "crisp" to describe the sound quality, and they say it can easily fill up a good-sized room. Several reviewers also note that the bass lines stay together at high volume, avoiding distortion (though they do feel a trifle restrained). As a speakerphone, it's a great performer, translating voices with crystal clarity. Its only weak point is its six-hour battery life, which is pretty good but not great.

ProsVery good sound quality, Easy Bluetooth pairing, Speakerphone function, Clean, sleek designConsSo-so battery life, A bit heavy

Ease of use

Loads of useful features. The speakerphone is just one of the extras you'll find on this speaker. It also includes a USB charger, a carrying case and NFC (near field communication). NFC works only with a limited number of smartphones, but most reviewers say pairing with other devices in the traditional way is quick and easy. Only a few users at Amazon.com complain that the Bluetooth signal on their speakers tends to cut out without warning. The range for wireless use is about 30 feet, which is typical for Bluetooth speakers. Reviewers also say the controls are intuitive and well labeled, though there's no remote included.

Design

Sleek but hefty. The SRS-BTX500 presents a clean, simple appearance: just a black rectangle with the Sony logo in one corner. It has a built-in stand (which folds up for transportation) and a slot on the back that can serve as a carrying handle. The Wirecutter describes the design as "classy but not flashy": an understated look that will blend into most home interiors. For a portable speaker, though, it's a bit on the heavy side, at 4.5 pounds. CNET says it's "probably not something you want to be carrying around," but notes that its "executive styling" probably isn't much suited to a day at the beach anyway.

Our Sources

1. TheWirecutter.com

The Best Home Bluetooth Speaker, Alexander George, Aug. 12, 2013

The Wirecutter awards the Sony SRS-BTX500 the title of "best home Bluetooth speaker," based on extensive research and hands-on testing. Reviewer Alexander George describes it as "the best balance of exceptional high- and low-end sound, portability, aesthetics and battery life" in its price class ($300 and under).

2. CNET

Sony SRS-BTX500 Premium Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Review: Classy Wireless Speaker Excels, David Carnoy, April 26, 2013

CNET gives the Sony SRS-BTX500 a rating of 4 stars out of 5 (excellent). Editors say it delivers impressive sound for its size, and they praise the sleek design and handy features. Their only complaints: It's fairly expensive, and battery life is "OK but not great."

3. ConsumerReports.org

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Speaker Systems, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, January 2014

ConsumerReports.org tests over 40 wireless and Bluetooth speakers, including the Sony SRS-BTX500. Each speaker is evaluated for sound quality, ease of use and features. The editors classify the SRS-BTX500 as a portable wireless speaker, rather than one for home use.

4. Wired

Sony Bluetooth Wireless Speakers, John Brandon, June 11, 2013

John Brandon of Wired awards the Sony SRS-BTX500 8 points out of 10, which translates to "excellent, with room to kvetch." He says it offers good, versatile sound and a host of handy features, but it's "not quite as lush sounding" as some competitors.

5. Amazon.com

Sony SRSBTX500 Portable NFC Bluetooth Wireless Premium Speaker System, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014

We found more than 90 reviews for the Sony SRS-BTX500 at Amazon.com. Owners award it 4.5 stars out of 5 on average, with praise for its sound performance, portability, speakerphone capabilities and easy Bluetooth pairing. Their main complaint is that the battery life is too short.