Sony XDRDS21BT Bluetooth Speaker
Lots of connectivity options
Sony’s heritage in the music business is legendary. It practically created the portable music category and still makes great headphones and other audio accessories, so we were really looking forward to seeing what it could bring to the DAB radio party.
The XDRDS21BT Bluetooth Speaker ticks a lot of boxes in terms of features but, compared to the other devices we looked at, was disappointing in the most important aspect – audio quality. Once we powered up the XDRDS21BT we auto-tuned it to access all the different DAB stations. It also allows you to listen to FM radio and can be used as a Bluetooth Speaker for your iPhone or other devices.
The controls did take a little getting used to. As well as the buttons on the top for accessing functions such as Bluetooth pairing and controlling the volume, there are also circular controls, not dissimilar to the early iPod clickwheel. While very functional, it’s not the most intuitive device to use.
If you make a Bluetooth connection between the XDRDS21BT and an iPhone, you’re prompted to install the SongPal app. This allows you to control inputs, volume and tuning without having to play with the many buttons on the device.
Sound quality was where the XDRDS21BT let us down. Even with the Mega Xpand bass boost enabled, we found the sound to be less clear than with the other units we looked at. In addition, there was more distortion at high volumes, through the pair of two-watt speakers, than with the other radios we used.
If you’re looking for a solid, jack-of-all-trades device, then the Sony XDRDS21BT Bluetooth Speaker will fit the bill. As an alarm clock, Bluetooth speaker and DAB/FM radio, it makes a great general purpose device. But the audio quality isn’t up to the high standard we expect from Sony.