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9 Jan 2019

Sony, JBL announce latest portable Bluetooth speakers, soundbars and more

Sony has unveiled the successors to its popular Extra Bass range of wireless speakers and JBL reveals the trendy JBL Flip 5 amid a raft of CES-related audio product announcements

Manufacturers have already started announcing their latest audio tech to launch in 2019, with Sony revealing the latest models in its popular line of portable speakers with flashing lights and percussive sound effects, and JBL unveiling its latest model in its fan-favourite Flip portable speaker range, the JBL Flip 5.

Both manufacturers have also revealed their latest soundbars, and Sony has even announced its first new turntable launch in more than two years.

Get the lowdown on all the latest audio product announcements below.

Best Buy Bluetooth and wireless speakers - looking to buy a new speaker in the January sales? Head straight to our top picks from our expert lab tests.

Sony's latest Extra Bass portable speakers (£60-£300, coming April-May)

Sony made a big splash with its Extra Bass speakers range, coming in a range of sizes from ones you could attach to a keyring, to ones with some serious power behind them to get a party jumping.

The latest range includes the Sony SRS-XB12 (£60, available April), the successor to the Sony SRS-XB10, which aims to bring high-quality sound to a miniscule keyring-sized speaker.

And for those looking for sound to fill a room, the bar-shaped Sony SRS-XB22 (£100) and SRS-XB32 (£150, both available May) should do the trick. Or, for the largest parties, the all-new GTK-XB72 high power speaker (£300, available April). These three speakers also feature optional flashing lights that dance to the beat of your music, and optional percussion sounds when you tap them like a drum. Plus they have a 'live sound' mode which aims to make the music sound like you're at a live venue.

JBL Flip 5, £120, available late May 2019

JBL's popular cylindrical Flip speaker is now entering its fifth iteration, promising an all-new acoustic design with even sound that would impress the most dedicated audiophile. It will be a available in 11 colour options and is fully waterproof, with a built-in speakerphone for taking calls from your smartphone.

JBL JR POP kids' speaker, £30, available now

If your child has picked up your habit of enjoying music on the move, but you're worried about them breaking headphones or damaging their hearing, the JR POP kids' speaker could be worth a look. JBL aims to provide the perfect solution with its durable and waterproof Bluetooth speaker, which kids can strap to their backpack.

It also features a light mode and stickers to allow them to customise its look.

See whether JBL is a brand worth considering for speakers by heading over to ourJBL speaker reviews. If you're looking for kids' headphones, we've also had a first look at the JVC Tinyphones.

Jabra Elite 85h headphones, £280, coming April

Jabra is taking on the heavyweights with the launch of its high-end Elite 85h active noise cancelling headphones, which block out train or plane noise during your commute, and have a SmartSound feature which automatically optimises the sound to your surroundings - whether you're commuting, in a public place or listening in private.

Jabra has joined a crowded market, and we've reviewed all the Jabra Elite 85h's biggest rivals - check these reviews to see which are the best and which to avoid:

Sony PS-LX310BT turntable, £200, coming April

Those interested in turntables can hit the buffers when they realise they can't connect many of them easily to their wireless speakers or wireless headphones. Sony aims to solve this with the PS-LX310BT turntable - and at a tempting price as well.

It features Bluetooth so you can connect it to any Bluetooth wireless speakers, soundbars or headphones without the need for a separate pre-amp or transmitter. It also features a die-cast aluminium platter promising superior sound compared to plastic platter rivals in its price range.

JBL Link Bar soundbar, available spring

First announced in May 2018 and repeatedly delayed, JBL's Link Bar soundbar is finally launching in early 2019. It comes with Google Assistant so you can control it with your voice, as well as having Android TV built-in, so you don't need a separate Chromecast or Android TV box.

JBL is well known for its speakers and headphones, but is it a good choice for soundbars? See how the brand has performed at our expert lab by checking our JBL soundbar reviews.

Sony HT-X8500 and HT-S350 soundbar (£250-£350, coming March-May)

Sony promises powerful surround sound and rich bass from its new HT-S350 soundbar (£250, available beginning of May) and cinematic surround sound from the higher-end HT-X8500 soundbar. The latter is to come with a built-in subwoofer, along with featuring Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support.

Sony claims its Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technologies can produce up to 7.1 two-channel surround sound from the X8500 without the need for extra speakers.

Find out whether Sony is a good brand to choose for soundbars by reading our Sony soundbar reviews.