A speaker with added lights isn t a new thing, but visual effects have usually been reserved for speakers on the more affordable end of the spectrum. Nonetheless, the appeal of fun visuals alongside your music is undeniable, and being able to watch a pattern in your music has a certain hypnotic charm to it that makes home listening that much more fun. Also Read - Xbox boss says Activision is not acquired to 'pull communities away' from PlayStationAlso Read - Best PlayStation 5 accessories you can get to enhance your gaming experience
Sony has been a key player in the Bluetooth speaker space, and the company has been building a diverse portfolio of products across various prices. The latest in the range is the Rs 16,990 SRS-XB40 speaker, which is significantly larger than a lot of the other products in the range. With two distinct drivers and a subwoofer, the speaker offers a true stereo sound, along with the added visual treat of the lighting effects. We ve reviewed the Sony SRS-XB40, and here s what we think. Also Read - God of War becomes Sony's biggest game on PC, surpasses Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone
Sony SRS-XB40 Design and Specifications
Significantly larger than most Bluetooth speakers in this price range, the Sony SRS-XB40 is a bit harder to carry around and store. While it is wireless and portable by definition and design, the size of the unit itself means that you re likely to use it at home. However, IPX5 water resistance and long battery life means that you can use it outdoors, and it would work well when used by a swimming pool or even while camping. The water resistance rating isn t enough to fully immerse the speaker in water, but it can take a few splashes without any significant risk of damage.
The controls are at the top, with power, volume, Bluetooth and call answer buttons in place. The speaker has a microphone for hands-free calling, as well as NFC for quick pairing. A flap at the back gives you access to the 3.5mm auxiliary port, USB port and charging port, with a powerful charger included in the box. The size of the speaker also means that there s a large battery inside, although the capacity hasn t been specified. Sony claims that battery life is good enough to keep the speaker going for up to 24 hours on a full charge, and while we can t specifically verify this, it does appear to be true.
What definitely stands out with the Sony SRS-XB40 is its lighting. The speaker has a series of lights along the front with multi-colored LEDs powering the system. There are lights along the edges at the front, as well as lining each speaker driver and within the drivers themselves. The lights are programmed to pulsate according to the rhythm of the track being played based on equalizer and frequency readings, and serve as visual cues to the audio itself. The light show can be fairly interesting to watch, and certainly adds a bit of excitement when you re using the speaker at parties or even among groups.
Sony SRS-XB40 Performance
We used the Sony SRS-XB40 with a paired OnePlus 5 (Review), streaming audio over Bluetooth. Focus tracks for the review were Los Muertos Vivos Estan from the Spectre Sountrack, State Of The Art by Gotye and Chase the Sun by Planet Funk.
Starting with the track from the last Bond movie, what was immediately evident is the bias towards the low end. There is a definite tendency to promote bass and sub-bass frequencies, and the frequency spike is audible in those ranges. While the frequency curve is definitely V-shaped, the high-end doesn t quite spike as much as it should. This is particularly noticeable when the main drum beat of Los Muertos Vivos Estan picks up, followed by the iconic main hook of the 007 theme song, which is powerful punchy and aggressive with its beat.
The mids, while certainly recessed, are good for a bass-favoring speaker, and vocals are clean and strong as compared to other portable speakers. This is particularly noteworthy when the vocals kick in when listening to State Of The Art, with the deep auto-tuned voice of Gotye sounding booming and precise. On the whole, the sound is clean, exciting, driven and powerful, which is excellent for a Bluetooth speaker priced under Rs 20,000.
The stereo arrangement of the drivers and the added sub-woofer help in achieving this level of quality. Listening to Chase The Sun, we found the sound to be beautiful and calculated, and despite the definite bias towards the low-end, the sound remains precise and clean for the most part without muddying the sonic signature too much. Not only that, the speaker is capable of loud volumes with very little distortion on account of volume. And of course, the gradual build up of the track and the final drop of the beat was made even better by the light effects.
Sony has been doing a great job with its affordable audio range, and the SRS-XB40 lives up to expectations in that department. With good, clean sound, a bass-friendly sonic signature that oozes excitement, and light effects that add to the party mood, the Sony SRS-XB40 is a great Bluetooth speaker for your home, and a viable alternative to a full-fledged stereo system.
There are alternatives available, such as the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 and Bose SoundLink Mini 2, but neither of these offer the sheer drive, attack and capability of the Sony SRS-XB40. Priced at Rs 16,990, the XB40 is available now and definitely worth an audition if you re looking to buy a new portable speaker system or even an audio setup for your home.