Sony SRS-XB41 Review
The Sony SRS-XB41 is a portable Bluetooth speaker. In addition to an excellent sound, it has an LED bar for light effects and charges the smartphone. The test report reveals who the all-rounder is worthwhile for.
In our theme world for outdoor speakers, we tested seven different devices. In comparison, we put the products against each other. The following detailed individual tests have also been published.
- Excellent sound and bass
- Long battery life
- Many extras (NFC, LEDs, power bank, and more)
- Big and heavy
- Party booster function is impractical
The SRS-XB41 is a premium-class outdoor loudspeaker, correspondingly high quality and well packaged for the customer. The scope of delivery includes the loudspeaker and a power supply unit with two attachments for EU (Type F) and Commonwealth sockets (Type G). There is also some reading material for the first use.
Sony SRS-XB41 Design and Finish
The Sony speaker comes in four colors, black, white, red, and blue. The processing is identical everywhere. The speaker’s surface is mainly covered with fabric, similar to all high-priced speakers in this segment. Plastic is used under the woven material. Nothing is visible except the rubber base and the user interface, which is also covered with soft plastic.
The SRS-XB41 features a LED light bar that flows around the body. It shines brightly in all colors. But that’s not all; the two drivers with a diameter of 58 mm also have their white lighting. It turns on automatically as soon as the speaker outputs bass. In addition, each side has a small strobe light that glows in white.
The light is not static but reacts dynamically to the music. Only the LED bar pulsates slowly with classic titles such as Rienzi by Richard Wagner. The other lights barely turn on. The speaker plays a completely different pattern with bass-heavy music like Kendrick Lamar’s Humble; everything flickers, blinks and is cranked up. If you don’t want to see the light but only want to hear the music, you can switch off all the lighting at the touch of a button. There is also an application for iPhone and Android. The user can configure the light himself or let it shine statically in just one color.
Sony’s party speaker is one of the few in our outdoor speaker test series that is completely dust and water-resistant. The SRS-XB41 is IP67 certified; coarse and fine dirt does not penetrate the interior of the housing and can be easily washed off with water on the surface. If the speaker falls into the pool, it’s not a tragic end; the certification guarantees survival to a depth of 1 m for a maximum duration of 30 minutes.
The SRS-XB41 is not a compact speaker that can be taken spontaneously, such as the Anker Motion Q (test report) or the Soundlink Color 2 from Bose (test report). The many functions that the speaker brings with it come at 1.5 kg. It measures 29 × ten × 10 cm – roughly the dimensions of a 1.5 liter PET bottle.
The processing of the Sony speaker is of high quality. The base is rubberized and helps prevent accidental slipping. Even when wet, it still holds its position and does not move without resistance.
The Sony speaker is operated either via the smartphone or connected via Bluetooth or directly on the housing. The user will find the controls on the upper side. The handset controls music playback and volume with five buttons. In addition to loud and quiet and play/pause and on/off switch, the speaker has a live mode button for a “three-dimensional” sound behavior. Pairing with a device works by pressing and holding the power button for three seconds. It works even faster with the contactless connection via NFC.
On the back are three more buttons behind a thick and waterproof flap. The ” Batt ” button announces the battery life; unfortunately, the voice only speaks English. The next two buttons have an LED, the “ADD” button couples another speaker from the Sony SRS XB series to achieve a true stereo effect.
Next, the user activates the so-called wireless party chain with the “WPC” button. Then connect another 99 (no typo; 100 total), SRS-XB speakers wirelessly and play the same song through a music source. As unique as the function is, in practice, you will hardly find friends or relatives who will support you with a compatible speaker at the party unless there are three, four, or more people buying a product from the SRS XB series.
The Sony speaker does not have a screen. The buttons aren’t backlit but are still easy to feel, especially with the speaker lighting, which throws some light back onto the user interface. But small LEDs indicate the operating status and whether any functions are active or not. For example, the play button resumes the music or pauses it with one press. Double pressing will skip to the next song in the playlist. Press three times to go to the previous track. Long-pressing the play button activates Apple Siri or Google Assistant.
The loudspeaker also has a hands-free function for incoming calls. Unfortunately, the microphone for this is placed somewhat unfavorably under the textile, which is why the quality of the voice recording leaves a lot to be desired. But who calls loudly over an outdoor speaker? Certainly the fewest users.
The Sony SRS-XB41 plays music wirelessly via Bluetooth with a range of up to 24 m or wired via Auxiliary. The four sockets for the power supply, micro-USB for the smartphone charger, 3.5 mm jack for the AUX, and USB Type-A for charging a smartphone are hidden behind the waterproof flap.
The manufacturer does not officially reveal the size of the integrated battery in the Sony speaker. However, according to the advertising information, the SRS-XB41 should offer a runtime of 24 hours. At a volume of 50 percent, we achieved a battery life of 22 hours and 13 minutes. Despite the deviation, this is an extraordinarily good value.
The Sony SRS-XB41 is a party speaker for indoors and outdoors, which reveals not only its appearance reveals its appearance and its sound characteristics. The bass is strong. The highs are duller to natural. The Soundlink 2 from Bose, on the other hand, offers a much clearer sound, but it cannot keep up with the bass.
The listener of the SRS-XB41 does not enjoy acoustic highlights; the quality is too vivid for that. The live mode brings more sense of space to the listening experience so that the direction of the sound disappears into the background. As a result, there is a significant difference in hearing. The sound in live mode is more pleasant, which is why we have enabled it throughout.
Therefore, Sony’s speaker offers many extras and is the perfect outdoor speaker. The SRS-XB41 connects to one additional speaker for stereo effect and 99 others so everyone in the group can have the same music and dance along. Charging a smartphone works well; charging an iPhone X is possible. The only thing missing is an integrated bottle opener, as with the speakers from JBL.
The SRS-XB41 has another additional function called Party Booster. There are five surfaces on the speaker, and also there is a sensor underneath each one. The loudspeaker plays other sounds if the user hits it with his hand, like on a percussion instrument. Sounds funny but is of little use in practice. First, the speaker isn’t exactly light, despite its integrated handle. And secondly, the tones don’t match the music. Also, you have to hit it pretty hard.