Sony SRS-XB41 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review – Prepping for Party Mode

Lights & Lyrics

Here in New York City we might finally be getting that Spring weather we been craving and course that leads into Summer which equals good old backyard parties and BBQs and such. With parties in mind Sony is releasing the next “party speaker” in their line which is the XB41. It provides a vibrant light show mixed with some bassy music to keep those party nights going into the wee hours. How does the XB41 fare for daily use and will it have you set for the summer?

Style

Sony SRS XB41 Speaker Front

The SRS-XB41 is the largest in its new lineup of speakers with the XB21 and XB31 right behind it in a relatively less expensive and smaller profile. Speaking of weight the XB41 comes in a little over 3 lbs so you can expect it to be sturdy and standstill while playing music vertical or horizontal. Like most portable speakers its cylinder sized with a curve that goes comes from the back to the forth. Is outfitted with this nylon mesh material which i grew to love from the UE series of speakers. This material helps out from getting gritty and dirty and also bounce back some of the water it can withstand as its rated IP67 for water resistance. Design wise it feels sturdy and well put together showing the value of its price tag.

 

There is a line of light that goes around the entire speaker showcasing the front and curving around the sides. Besides that there is also two strobe lights and two speaker lights. It can equal a bevy of lights and flashes which are prepared to catch your eyes and ears.

Sony SRS XB41 Speaker PortsThe SRS XB41 can be used wirelessly via Bluetooth or wired with its included AC adapter. On the back is a silicone enclosure which pops off which reveals this and also ports for USB and microUSB charging. There is also buttons to tell you battery life, turn off the lights and setup party modes.

The top of the speaker has your usual play/pause buttons, volume controls, power, bluetooth and LIVE button the latter which I’ll get to later. This also wouldn’t be a Sony product unless there is NFC. Everytime I get a Sony product I’m also geared up to use NFC.

Features

One of your main reasons you may be attracted to the SRS-XB41 is the light show it puts on. Lights are set to sync with the music and change accordingly. I found this to not be 100% all the time but it also depends on what you are playing. The Light Mode default is “RAVE” but there is 10+ additional presets you can change it too. This all has to be done from the Sony Music Center app.

Sony SRS XB41 Speaker Lights 4

Party Booster allows you to use the XB41 as a sort of instrument and hit it certain places to get different sound out of it. You have to hold the volume buttons down for three seconds to activate and deactivate. Once activated you can go through the Sony app and change to a couple different sound options. The party mode is okay but nothing I could see messing with but may be a crowd favorite for others.

Unfortunately as I have encountered with Sony’s apps they just don’t work the best. I find myself resetting the app or toggling BT to get it to fully recognize it at times. This can be crucial if you have a bunch of folks around and trying to set up something on the fly.

You can also daisy chain various XB speakers together which Sony states can up to 100 of these light flashers. Might need to gather up some friends and see how that turn out.

Battery life is slated to be 24 hours on the SRS-XB41 and using it for a while the battery seems to be holding out. Upon my usage I haven’t plugged it up yet and been playing it for a vast amount of hours with the lights flashing.

Sound

For the audio if you couldn’t see from the flashing speaker lights you are getting dual full range 2.28 speakers firing out at you. Sound wise the XB41 have quite the clarity playing tracks such as Drake’s “0-100” giving just the amount of bass without it being overpowering. Same can be said playing Nicki Minaj “Chun Li”. As mentioned earlier there is a “LIVE SOUND” button when pressed it’s supposed to give you a more 3D or surround experience as it manages to push the tunes all around you. It doesn’t sound bad but just sounds a little muffled to my ears diminishing the clarity. For a large group of people that aren’t sitting right in front of the speaker it could help alleviate missing some of that audio. I prefer it off personally though.

Verdict

If you are on the go and like to put on a light show with a group of friends the XB41 can be a good idea. It has a nice size and sound is pretty good minus the LIVE SOUND feature. Its long battery life and waterproof capabilities means you don’t have to worry about it much. Only gripe with me is the app. If you want to dig more into the XB41 you have to hop the app is working which isn’t always 100%.

Sony SRS-XB41 is available now for $249.99 in three colors of Red, Blue or Black.