Sony has a rather extensive lineup of audio and music devices, and the SRS-XB41 was recently launched along with a slew of other devices. The SRS-XB41 is Bluetooth portable speaker that has RGB lighting and an extended battery life. It is priced at Rs. 16,990 officially, but can be found online for a lower price.
I used the device for a couple of weeks and here is my review of the Sony SRS-XB41 Bluetooth portable speaker.
Design of the SRS-XB41
Out of the box the Sony SRS-XB41 may seem like a bit bulky a device to carry about, which is a reality. It weighs in at 1.5 kilograms which makes it a pretty heavy speaker to be called a portable one. But moving past that, the device has a textured cloth weave over it which is combined with the RGB lights on the edges and a top panel with a rubber texture. A panel on the lower left rear of the device hides the ports and few of the membrane buttons.
The device looks symmetrical and sophisticated, and it has a IP-67 rating which makes it dust and water resistant considering the back panel is closed. The membrane buttons on the top are effective and don’t seem like they would wear out in a hurry.
The top panel of the device houses the power, Bluetooth, LIVE, volume rocker and play/pause buttons. The LIVE buttons adds an audio effect to the audio being played that tries to imitate a live concert audio. This tends to hollow out the audio which is essentially not soothing to hear in small spaces, but might work better in open and wider spaces.
The rear panel has the Micro-USB port, a DC input, a 3.5mm socket and a USB-A port. The Micro-USB and the DC input can both be used to charge the device and evidently the DC port is much more efficient. Besides these there are three buttons labeled Batt, WPC and Add. The Batt button triggers battery status and controls the lights. The WPC lets you connect number of similar Sony devices to form a chain link. And finally the ADD button is used to connect another XB41 device to create a stereo audio effect.
The base of the device is made of rubber which makes it easy to place on any surface. The device is rather long, which might make it an issue when trying to fit it into smaller bags for travel.
Now once the device is turned on the lights turn out to be quite catchy. Gamers have traditionally been fans of RGB lights on devices, and this would seem ideal for them. But for those that enjoy a more demure appearance, this might feel a tad too much. You always have the option to turn it off, though. The LED and two speaker lights are configured to pulsate to the rhythm of the music. The way they react can be controlled from the Sony Music Center app.
It was a curious process to assess the performance off the Sony SRS-XB41 Bluetooth portable speaker. Out of the box, the speaker seems to produce audio that can be categorized best by the word muddled. The lows and highs are good but the mids seems to be lost somewhere. This meant that beats and high note instruments were being heard over the voice. And Adele’s Skyfall almost became a collection of beats and instruments with her voice in the background.
But this was easily fixed by downloading the Sony Music Center app and switching to one of the more appropriate music modes. Once this was done, the audio produced by the SRS-XB41 seemed impressive. With the mids, highs and lows balanced, the true nature of the speaker could be determined. The device has sharp highs and apt lows which are not too loud or thumping to shake the car of the speaker is placed inside. The mids seem crisp and clear as well and Adele’s voice received salvation.
One of the better features of the device is the availability of the LDAC codec which is a high end codec that is available on the newer Android devices. This seems to enhance the audio of the device to quite an extent, but as a feature it is limited to users with latest Android 8.0 smartphones.
But Sony has got a hit with the battery of the SRS-XB41 which is outstanding to say the least. I fully charged the device before starting to use it and tried hard to keep a count of the time it was used. Sony claims that the device can last up to 24 hours with the party lights turned on, and by my count the device lasted for about 19 hours with all the functions on.
Even though this is not what the company promises, it is still way ahead of what the competition is offering at the moment. And considering the device charges in about four hours using the DC cable, this feature itself makes the device stand out.
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The Sony SRS-XB41 Bluetooth portable speaker is a good option and one that lasts for a very long time on a single charge, apart from featuring RGB lighting. It is on the heavier side and could be considered a little bit bulky. And for this price there may be other speakers that might sound slightly better, but as a package this stands out and is a viable buy.