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Sony SRS-XB41 Bluetooth speaker

So far as kind elements are involved, the Bluetooth speaker isn’t altering a lot today. At this level, producers know what folks need (a enjoyable characteristic, massive sound and a fair greater battery) and aren’t prepared to repair what seems to be a wonderfully good formulation.

With that in thoughts, we’ve got no downside saying the Sony SRS-XB41 is kind of the top of what Bluetooth can do. It’s massive. It’s highly effective. It packs extra bass than you’d imagine. And its battery lasts your entire day and might even cost your telephone or pill, too.

And but, whereas the speaker appears to tick each field, it’s inept in a single space that audio system had been designed to be good at: reproducing sound. 

Sadly, what meaning is that, except you’re adamant about bass-heavy sound and don’t care that it comes on the expense of most every part else, Sony’s newest speaker simply isn’t the moveable music field for you.

The XB41 (far proper) is the most important of the three audio system Sony introduced at CES


Ignoring the sound high quality for a second, Sony’s SRS-XB41 is actually well-built. Like, exceptionally so. 

It’s a bit on the massive facet at 11 half in x four 1/eight in x four 1/four " (291 mm x 104 mm x 105 mm) and weighing three lb 5 oz (1500 g), however its measurement and weight provides the XB41 a form of bulletproof construct that you simply’d be snug taking with you tenting or out to the seaside with out breaking.

To that finish, you’ll be happy to know that behind its all-mesh entrance grille, the XB41 is each dust- and waterproof (IP67-certified). Which means the speaker is waterproof as much as a sure depth and time restrict – immersion safety of as much as 1 meter (or about three ft) of freshwater for 30 minutes.

When you flip the speaker on, you’ll be handled to a little bit of visible panache because the speaker lights up in time to no matter music is enjoying … effectively, form of. 

Regardless of the coolness issue of a speaker with glowing multi-color LEDs round its ring, the one downside we had was that the lightshow didn’t all the time flash in time with the music. A cymbal crash would occur after which, a half-second later, lights would flash, making it really feel rather less than the epic coordinated lightshow we first pictured in our heads.

That mentioned, Sony does help you add visible and sound results of your individual via a brand new characteristic known as Occasion Mode. You activate it by urgent and holding the quantity up and quantity down buttons on the high of the speaker for 3 seconds. Watch for the ability button to begin blinking and now you possibly can slap the again of the speaker to create chimes, dings and synth beats in time with the music. 

Occasion Mode is without doubt one of the strangest options we’ve but to see on a Bluetooth speaker, however it’s comparatively innocent and never one thing we count on you’ll use fairly often.

Talking of buttons, you’ll discover the overwhelming majority of controls alongside the highest of the speaker. Right here you’ll discover a energy, quantity up/down and play/pause buttons in addition to the button for the controversial Reside Mode that we’ll cowl extra within the efficiency part. You’ll cost the speaker by opening up a rubber flap within the again and the speaker comes included with a 5v wall battery pack. 


Design is clearly essential – a speaker constructed out of a cardboard field with uncovered wiring and not possible to entry management buttons wouldn’t be a lot enjoyable to make use of – however so is audio efficiency. 

Whereas the previous is one among our favourite elements of the XB41, the latter actually was not. The explanation behind that, and understand that sound is, to some extent, subjective, was that this factor actually rocks the bass. Like, blows out the bass on the expense of every part else. To that finish, the recessed mids and less-than-shimmering highs weren’t solely exhausting to listen to, however nearly fully non-existent within the combine. The bass, with all of its mighty ferocity, fully threw the tonal steadiness out of whack. 

Right here’s the half the place we’d usually say that EDM or home followers would possibly get immense enjoyment of the bass-heavy sound – however, actually, even that appears like a little bit of a stretch. The bass is simply so overwhelming that every part else simply sounds muddy. 

The audio efficiency isn't so dangerous that your music will really feel international or completely mistaken per se, however the bass bump doesn’t come with out consequence to the remainder of the sound. (If you happen to’re feeling masochistic, although, you possibly can throw it into Reside Mode – a setting that makes an attempt to offer the sound an echo-y, concert-like expertise – and also you’ll actually wrestle to listen to any particulars.) 

To make issues worse, mic high quality is poor and, as a result of there’s no volume-matching software program operating within the background, audio typically goes from listenable throughout music one second to a blaring cacophony of sound the subsequent when an advert comes on. The transition is startling to say the least, and your finest safety is to maintain your telephone in hand or, for those who can, keep away from advertisements completely.

If there’s some silver lining right here by way of efficiency, it’s that the Sony SRS-XB41 has an enormous battery pack within it that, in keeping with Sony’s estimates places it round 24 hours of playback. We’ve had the speaker enjoying for days on finish and have but to listen to any indication that the battery is operating low – a promising signal for these of us who can by no means appear to maintain our devices charged.

Remaining verdict

The Sony SRS-XB41 will work for a really particular type of music listener – the type who could not essentially care about how balanced one thing sounds or has ever stopped to match what two audio system sound like side-by-side. 

If that’s you, there’s no disgrace in that – as Sony is providing a well-built, long-lasting Bluetooth speaker that rivals the perfect within the enterprise in these departments. 

However in order for you one thing that sounds higher – and also you don’t thoughts sacrificing a number of the further party-focused options to get there – there are many different waterproof Bluetooth audio system simply ready to be fished off the shelf. 

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