The British weather may not have gotten the memo, but summer is nearly here and Sony, for one, is ready. The new Sony SRS-XV800 party speaker is here to light up gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, with music and even enhance your TV sound.
A 'smalller' version of the bigger, more expensive SRS-XV900 (£999), the new SRS-XV800 shares similar features and design, from the 360-degree "room-filling" sound to the multiple lighting effects.
Inside the SRS-XV800 are two forward-facing X-Balanced Speaker Units, whose "rectangular diaphragm not only maximises the area of the speaker diaphragm but also increases sound pressure for deeper and punchier bass" says Sony. Alongside is a bass reflex port at the bottom of the speaker and there's even a Mega Bass button – for when you just need more bass. To complete the driver count, five tweeters (two on top, two on the front, one at the bottom) are responsible for delivering clear and omni-directional sound.
Sony says the speaker can be placed anywhere in the room, with a built-in sensor recognising whether it's been placed horizontally or vertically and modifying the speakers' sound accordingly.
While it's not what we'd call portable (it's a small beast), it comes with caster wheels and a carry handle so you can wheel it around to the garden or the garage. If you're using the SRS-XV800 outdoors, take note that its water resistance rating is at IPX4 – so it's not fully waterproof against a torrential downpour, but it should withstand sprinkles of rain.
Battery life is a hefty 25 hours (ten minutes of fast charge gives you three hours), and there's a USB-A port for charging up your smartphone, too. That same USB port can play music files from a USB device, but your main port for streaming music is over Bluetooth 5.3/5.2. The standard SBC and AAC codecs are supported, but don't expect any hi-res output from LDAC compatibility here.
What's more, the SRS-XV800 can even be connected to any TV using an optical connection (chosen for its low latency properties). Sony says this "TV sound booster" feature will ensure the dialogue will still come from the TV's speaker, while the speaker will add oodles of bass and the rear tweeters will do their job in filling up the room.
And if a single speaker isn't ostentatious enough, you can create a stereo pair with two SRS-XV80 speakers. This only works for music, not for the TV connection.
Now to the fun bits: its party credentials include karaoke and guitar modes. There are two mic inputs and an accompanying Fiestable app that adds special voice effects to enhance your singing. Party Connect mode lets you daisy-chain up to 100 SRS-XV800 units to host your own Glastonbury (assuming you have a garden space big enough).
And of course, lights. No party speaker would be complete without a light show and there are eight LEDs in total here: four on top, four at bottom. You can use the Sony Music Centre app to change colours and customise the effects (or turn them off entirely).
Tempted by the Sony SRS-XV800 party speaker for the impending summer months? It's available from May 2023 and costs £599 / €699 (US and AU$ TBC). Time to start making friends with your neighbours...
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