Lot of Wireless Bluetooth speakers has flooded the market. Sony has made it’s own place among all. The SRS XB-40 is another addition from Sony in it’s EXTRA BASS series. Sony SRS XB-40 is the biggest and loudest among the series as of now. Well, SRS XB-40 does have the lights as well, which make it stand in direct competition with JBL Pulse 3. The first speaker in EXTRA BASS series was Sony SRS XB-10, which has been doing quite well and giving tough competition to JBL GO, in small Bluetooth Wireless speakers segment.
Sony has priced this speaker on an higher side, will the features and sound justify the price tag? We will check out in the post today.
Before reviewing Sony SRS XB-40 in detail, let’s look at it’s technical specifications in a nutshell.
- Weight – 1.5 kg
- Size (WxHxD) -279 mm * 100 mm* 105 mm
- NFC – Yes
- Bluetooth Version – 4.2
- Waterproof – IPx5 Rating
- Battery Life – 15 hrs @50% Volume
What’s in the Box?
- Bluetooth Speaker
- AC Adapter
Talking about the design of this speaker. The first time you hold the speaker in your hand, you instantly get to know that this is a heavy speaker. With 1500 gms in weight, this is a portable speaker but not to an extent that you can carry it everywhere. So if you are looking for higher portability, this is not what you should be looking for. There are other speakers like Sony SRS XB-10 and JBL Go, that you can opt for higher portability. Sony SRS XB-40 is hefty in size,but on the other hand you get the extra bass, higher battery life and lights as well.
When it comes to design, it is one solid speaker though. The sides of the speaker are covered with the rubberized plastic, which not only makes it anti-slip but also gives a firm grip to the speaker. On the front is the metal mesh which is tough enough to protect the speakers inside. The exteriors is made up of good quality material. The speaker is quite rugged and is drop resistant as well.
IPX5 rating make it splash proof which means it cannot be submerged under water, but can withstand few drops of water here and there. Though given it’s price range, one would expect it to be waterproof and not splash proof as it’s direct competitors like JBL Pulse 3 is IPX7 rating and can be submerged underwater.
Features and Controls:
The control buttons are on the top of the speaker. Apart from the standard power ON/OFF, play/pause and volume controls, it has the the google assistant/Siri activation button and “ADD” button to pair other Sony speakers. You can pair multiple speakers and play them left and right for a pure stereo sound.
It can pair upto 10 Sony compatible speakers at the same time. Sony call this as the “party chain” to get the louder sound and brighten up the party.
Alongside these buttons, it also has “EXTRA BASS” button, so if you are in a mood to listen to heavy metal songs, you just need to press this button and add that thump to your music.
The Sony SRS XB-40 is NFC enabled, which is good thing, as you can easily connect your smartphones with just a tap on the speaker. Even if the speaker does not have the latest Bluetooth version(5.0), but still the Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity is quite impressive. The speaker easily connects with the music device upto 50 feets! There is absolutely no flaking or breaking in audio with Bluetooth connectivity.
The only thing you will be missing in the control button section is the battery life indicator. There is no Led light indicator that gives you an idea about the battery left. You can still access the battery life information by long press the call button and the speaker prompts the battery percentage left. Not sure if everyone would like to press the button to seek information every time. Some Led indicators would have been good though.
There is flap at the back of the speaker, opening which you will find places for 3.5 mm audio jack input, the power port and the USB Port which acts as port for charging your phones. So the speaker acts as a power bank as well.
Surprisingly the power port is not micro USB port,which means you will have to carry Sony charger along with you while travelling.
Given the size of the speaker and the glowing Led lights, one would not expect this speaker to have a good battery life. Sony has done a good job in this department. Sony claims to have a battery life of 24 hrs, but it seems that it is without the Led lights and volume levels kept on lower side. In out tests @50% volume and Led lights on, the speaker lasts fro 15 hrs, which in itself is quite impressive as well.
If you want to speaker to last long in terms of battery life, it is recommend to listen to music at 50% volume and Led lights Off. It would last around 20 hrs, if not more.
Not many Bluetooth speakers in the market, currently offers light show with good sound quality. JBL has launched Pulse 3, which has Led lights and now Sony came up with SRS XB-40. Unlike JBL Pulse 3 which offer many customization, Sony SRS XB-40 has only some preset options.
You can control the lights through Sony App, in which you will find options like – Rave, Chill, Hot, Cool, Strobe, Calm magenta, Calm lime, Random flash off, Calm cyan, Calm Cinnabar and Calm daylight. The Led lights beautifully respond to the music and enhances your music experience. If you play slow music, the lights slowly fades in and out. With fast music, the light sizzles and strobes to the beats. The colors are bright yet great. Definitely you will love the light show with the music.
In case you do not want the Led lights, you easily switch off them as well but that requires an app to do so. There is no button on the speaker itself to switch off the lights, but that’s not a big deal.
First of all, there is some serious improvement in sound quality by Sony when we compare to it’s previous versions. Even when the extra bass option is ON, there is no flakiness and droning in sound quality. There is drastic improvement in bass and you can clearly distinguish it in the bass focused music. The bass levels are lower and controlled. Adding lighting effects to bass music is just icing on the cake.
The mids are clear and stand out. It is not suppressed by the bass, but are in conjunction with each other. The vocals are given priority in the mid range and the music is slightly kept at the back end, which actually compliments each other.
The highs are clear as well and there is hardly any flakiness in the vocals. Bass is not pushed too much and but is quite balanced. And if you do not like extra bass, you can always turn it off.
The speakers are quite loud and can easily fill small to mid sized rooms. For a larger room, two of the speakers kept at both ends can easily fill up the room. Even you still want a louder sound and light up the party, you can connect upto 10 speakers, with an easy ‘ADD’ button on the speaker and enjoy the loud sound and the speakers lighting up your party hall.
No doubt Sony SRS XB-40 is one solid speaker and is improved drastically in the sound department from it’s previous generation. The rugged material makes it sturdy speaker and the lights just adds up to the music. The extra bass button is the show stopper here, giving an option to the consumer to add or remove the extra bass to the music.
Couple of improvement areas could be the the customization in the lights, which now restricts to the default options in the Sony app. Another lacking feature is the Led battery life indicator. Pressing the call button can still fetch the information about the battery, but a visual display on the speaker would have been much better.
With great battery life, NFC option, water resistant, speaker phone, good sound quality and those Led lights, this speaker has it all.