Sony SRS XB41 Bluetooth Speakers

Introduction

The Sony SRS-XB41 Portable Bluetooth speaker, till nowadays, is the largest one in the company since the creation of the Extra Bass series in 2018. We can surely confirm that it has been designed for bass lovers. An instant mood-changer with high, clear, strong basses and a unique sound quality.

It’s the best mate for parties and with the RGB lighting effects, the party-mood is guaranteed!

Even the drivers inside the enclosures light up. Unlike its predecessor, the SRS-XB40, it comes with an IP67 Rating, making the speaker more resistant and robust to the energetic teens out there.

The Bluetooth speaker is easily portable and has an astonishing battery time. It can be highly customized with endless features. After testing every single functionality, we think that Sony crammed too much stuff inside the device.

Design

It has a gorgeous look and a cool design. Inside are placed 2 speakers 2.2″ (58 mm) big.

Both lit up by small lights that pulse to the music. A led strip that runs along the top and bottom and wraps around the sides completes the picture.

Sony and JBL seem to be the only ones that push these RGB lighting effects.

The first time we turned on the device, we were all enthralled by these flashing lights, but the hype didn’t last long and switched them off (quite glimmering).

The Sony SRS-XB41 Bluetooth speaker can be considered bulky (5 x 13 x 7-inch body), yet still fits comfortably in one hand. A well-designed built-in hand grip helps reducing the chances of accidental falls.

The front area is devoid of any buttons: only on the top and rear side are some.

About the color choice, the available colors are red, black and white.

Sound Quality

It’s undoubtedly impressing, considering the price tag and size. The Extra Bass protocol is responsible for the enhanced low-end tones, which are a big plus, indeed.

The device supports the highly acclaimed LDAC codec, which means that it can stream music at the highest bit-rate currently available.

The SRS-XB41 Portable Bluetooth speaker can implement 2 additional modes: the “Live Sound” and the “Party Booster”.

The first one simulates a 3D Audio environment, giving you a wider soundstage. To be honest, we were not really impressed. It made the songs sound hollow to us.

The second mode can be switched on in 3 ways: by using the buttons, by tapping/moving the speaker in special ways and via the app.

After testing all 3 of them, the latter one seemed to be the easiest method.

The sounds that can be added in the song are a multiple, including and drum kit and percussions.

We recently played some music in the car and the Party Booster turned on by itself, so it’s not very precise. Luckily enough, it can be easily disabled with the app.

There’s no speaker on the side or rear, so you won’t be able to experience a 360° sound environment. Nevertheless, the device integrates DSP Technology, which sends the music to a wider area.

What users have to say about Sony SRS-XB41:

So far so good! We’ve had it now for a few months and have used it inside and outside and quite often. We are pleased with the sound quality and clarity. Bass is just right. (which is important to us). Battery life is alright, seems like it dies a faster than normal but easy to charge up. Overall, great for the price!

Hardware

Hardware-wise, the build quality is top-notch. The newly added IP Rating to the Sony Extra Bass series is unquestionably a remarkable advantage in comparison to its competitors without IP Ratings.

It’s water- and dust-resistant. You can drop it into a salty ocean or your swimming pool and apparently no damage will occur. Just remember to wash it off with a hose. It’s also shock- and rustproof. Better it doesn’t get.

FYI: if you drop it into the water, it will flow and not sink.

Portability

The speaker comes with a hefty 3.3 lbs and is not that small, either. As mentioned before, it’s shockproof and withstands falls up to 3 feet.

Battery

Battery life is stellar. Sony claims a 24h battery life, which sadly, is far from the truth. But the numbers are still surprisingly good.

We performed different tests.

The first one was keeping the volume at the highest level and it lasted 3h 57 min. The second one consisted of playing the music for 3 days with a 50% volume for roughly 6 hours a day + RGB lighting on. The result? After 72 hours, the battery level was still at 50%.

The last test consisted of keeping music on without lighting effect and interruptions and it endured for exactly 17 hours and 11 minutes.

Standby-mode

The Standby-mode is on by default. After a certain amount of time, it switches off. It might become a slight nuisance because to turn it on again, you have to do it manually. To get rid of it, download the app and follow the instructions. You can turn it on again anytime.

Connectivity

The SRS-XB41 Bluetooth speaker connects seamlessly. It’s compatible with the AAC and LDAC protocols and supports Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. The pairing procedure is easy and intuitive.

Without the NFC protocol, data exchange would be 3x slower, so it’s a big hit.

To connect via NFC, you tap the NFC logo on your phone and notification with connection request will pop up.

The speaker can be used also for making phone calls. An interesting feature is the Wireless Party Chain (WPS), which allows connecting up to 99 speakers in daisy-chain.

Once done, Bluetooth music and lights sync-up. If you have an additional speaker, you can use the stereo functionality and use separately the L and R channels. Regarding the range distance, the audio starts to crackle approximately around 80 feet.

Apps

Sony provides 2 applications to manage the speaker: the Sony Music Centre and the Fesitable app.

Fesitable app lets you control the party features, like lighting, party booster, etc. With the Sony Music Centre, you can easily cue your favorite playlist and start the party straightaway.

The apps itself are not bad per se but are slightly finicky. The overall app experience is a bit disappointing, but at the end of the day, it does its job.

Buttons & Interfaces

Top Area

Along the top of the speaker is where you’ll get all of the playback controls that let you adjust volume, pause or play music, and skip between tracks depending on whether you double or triple tap the play button.

Moreover, you can spot the Bluetooth pairing button, which must be pressed for about 3-4 seconds. You will then hear a female voice saying “Bluetooth pairing”. The last button on the top area is the “Live Sound” mode, which we recommend avoid using since it’s useless.

Water-resistant flap

On the back of the Sony SRS-XB41 Portable Bluetooth speaker is a USB-Micro-B port to charge your phone and transforming the speaker, literally, into a power-bank.

There’s an additional USB port available (USB A-Type), to charge the speaker.

Due to the lower USB-provided voltage, the charging time is considerably higher than by using the DC Adapter.

In the upper area are located 3 buttons: the first from left is the BATT button, to check the battery status and to trigger the lights. The one in the middle enables the Wireless Party Chain and the last one is the ADD button, to use the speaker in stereo mode.

Pros vs Cons

Pros
  • IP67 Rating
  • Awesome Basses
  • Good Battery life
Cons
  • Membrane buttons hard to press
  • “Live Sound” mode is a joke

Conclusion

We could easily recommend the Sony SRS-XB41 Bluetooth speaker, even if coupled with some downsides, like hefty weight, quirky features, and a finicky app. The light effects are awesome, but you can quickly get tired of it. The speaker is perfect for energetic young people and last-minute parties. We liked the IP rating and were astonished by the clarity and strength of the sound.

About one thing we are sure: if you love basses, it’s an easy choice!