We’ve been testing the new Sony GTK-XB7 aka your dance party in a box. It’s a rather large speaker with enough weight that you wont be carrying it on your shoulder. The XB7 (for short) can be stood upright or laid sideways.
The XB7 has controls on the “top” (when upright) and allows you a great deal of control around your music and the lights. The music can be delivered via USB, bluetooth or direct input. Bluetooth setup is made easy with the addition of NFC or around 30 seconds work with the non NFC capable iPhone. The lights on the front are rather intense. They can be programmed to suit your style of music too, with Rave being an option.
The lights surround the XB7 and illuminate the speakers themselves too. Two small strobe lights will also do well for those with epilepsy but thankfully you can select for the lights to be turned off entirely. It is actually rather mesmerising to watch the LED strips light up and change to the beat of your music. The sound itself out of the XB7 is really something. With the sound turned up and the Extra Bass button pressed, you can really rely on the XB7 to run your entire party, dance party even. It’s LOUD.
For a single unit it really does blow the roof off and light up the room in colour. It’s clear and vivid. If the sound from one isn’t enough, you can pair it to a second, or third and really upset the town. The key thing about the XB7 we don’t like is the fact it isn’t a Wi-Fi connected speaker. The XB7 is not portable, requires mains power and is heavy. So it isn’t leaving the house. For this reason it shouldn’t be in the same category as the UE Boom which makes sense to be bluetooth.
We highlight this because when your phone is being used to stream music to your speaker, you can’t use your phone for calls, or taking photos or walking more than 10m from the speaker. These limitations have a strong impact on how you use this speaker. If it were Wi-Fi enabled then an app could manage your music without disruption. All in all though, the GTK-XB7 is likely something that people under the age of 21 will want for listening to music in their bedroom, it’ll delight their friends to have slumber/dance parties in their room. At less than $550 it won’t break the bank either, just expect calls from the neighbours.