Design & Feel
The biggest improvement, when compared to the older XB40, is that the XB41 like its competitors is now IP67 certified which means it’s dustproof and waterproof so it can be fully submerged in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. It will also float and Sony claims the speaker is now rust proof so it won’t get damaged big salt water.
At the top, you’ll find all your playback controls along with a Live Sound Mode button which simulates 3D audio giving you a wider soundstage. Hidden behind the water-resistant flap at the back of the speaker you’ll find some additional buttons which will allow you to check your battery level and wirelessly pair over 100 Sony speakers together. You can also use this speaker to charge a smartphone or tablet should you need some juice.
Sony has now included a new Party Mode feature which gives you the ability to create your own beats just by simply tapping on the sides of the speaker. I think this feature is more of a gimmick and will not be used by most people.
Battery Life & Connectivity
You’ll get up to 24-hours of playtime with the LED lights off. This makes this speaker best in class beating out the UE MegaBlast and JBL Xtreme 2 in terms of battery life. With the LEDs on, you’ll get 18-hours of play time.
The XB41 sports Bluetooth 4.2 technology which might be a bit disappointing for some seeing that Bluetooth 5.0 technology is available. But Bluetooth 4.2 will be perfectly fine for most average users.
Using the XB41 with the latest smartphones you’ll get up to 80 linear feet on average before the audio starts to crackle and NFC connectivity makes connecting to your smartphone quicky and easy.
When it comes to RGB lighting Sony, JBL and LG seem to be the only two major brands that are pushing RGB lighting on speakers. The lighting on XB41 is pretty impressive, there are LED strips around the speaker, the dual 58mm drivers have lights that pulse to the music, and there are also 2 smaller lights on the sides of each driver that flashes rapidly. Sony provides two dedicated apps that will give you EQ options as well as control over your lighting display.
This powerful speaker is comfortably loud enough to enjoy a 50% volume. Pushing it up to 75% and high will fill large areas both indoors and out and when it comes to bass, the XB41 has the competition beat with a strong thumping bass line that’s sure to impress in any environment. At max volume, the bass will sometimes overpower the vocals and deliver a more muffled sound experience. The mids are bright but could be a bit richer in details but most people will still find it perfectly fine. The highs are sharp and crisp with plenty of details and won’t cause any listening fatigue from high frequencies.
Using Live Mode will give you more spatial audio experience but the vocals tend to lose some of its detail so the quality seems to drop off in this setting.
The newly updated design along with improved RGB lighting really takes the XB41 speaker a step above the X40. The IP67 rating was long overdue seeing that most of its rivals already boast this feature but it’s a welcomed improvement that we’ve all been crying for. The fact that this speaker is the loudest in its price range will make this one of the best and most powerful party speakers for both indoors and outdoors plus you can add a second XB41 speaker to get a more fuller sound experience. The sound quality is excellent with bass-rich audio that’s perfect for those who love bass heavy music. Despite the gimmicky Party Mode, the Sony SRS-XB41 is currently the best speaker in its price range when it comes to volume and portability. Read Now: Best Sony Bluetooth Speakers