Sony XB40 Bluetooth Speaker Review

For only $150 dollars, you get an extremely strong sound, awesome lighting, and an entire day’s worth of battery.

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[table id=2 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,f,l,r” /] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.

Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom.  I reviewed Sony’s Extra Bass Bluetooth speakers last year and although they were decent, the audio quality was a bit raspy and droning because of that extra bass.  This time, Sony makes a return and with the new generation, we get a refined audio signature, which I’ll test for you, but also some sick new LED lights.  I personally paid for this at the retail price of $200.  As always, I’ll leave my Affiliate links down up above.  Click on my links, and they’ll give you the most updated prices in real time…

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PHYSICAL DESIGN
Going over the physical build, this thing is quite hefty and if you’re looking for portability, this is not what you should be looking at.  There are many other others out there. On the flip side, you get extra bass, you get a huge battery, and again, you get those led lights that not many other speakers on the market offer.  If size is not an issue, the XB40 looks and feels good with rubberized plastic all around, the front metal grill is tough enough to protect your speaker, and the same water resistance is back , protecting it from splashes and spills.  Unfortunately, you can’t submerge this under water.  One thing I do wish for, although it has great build quality, having drop resistance, making this more rugged would have been great.

PARTY CHAIN
Looking at the tactile buttons up top, you have the standard pause, play, on and off, etcetera.  But unique features include Google Assistant and Siri activation with one quick press of the Speakerphone button.  I tested the speakerphone and it sounded very good with no echoes, and standing further away, for a speakerphone, it was still very much audio.  Going back to the buttons, with the “Add” feature, you can pair another compatible Sony speaker and have Left and Right audio separation for true stereo sound, or, you can sync up to 10 compatible speakers and enable what Sony calls “Party Chain”, and have all of those speakers play at the same time.  UE and JBL on the other hand allow you to sync 100 speakers or more if you’d like, but giving Sony credit, I don’t think most people would pair more than 100 speakers, let alone 10.

NFC or Near Field Communication makes a return, and last to the left is the Extra Bass option which I’ll discuss further in my sound review. One thing I wish Sony would include is some sort of visual battery indicator.  You do have the ability to walk up to the speaker and hold the call button for a prompt, but something more intuitive, again, something more visual,  would have worked much better.

BATTERY LIFE AND BLUETOOTH RANGE
Rotating the speaker to it’s rear, you have some additional bass being pushed when against the wall, on the right, the flap is water resistant, which I felt could have been a bit heftier for peace of mind, but it does work blocking out liquids.  Behind here, we have a 3.5mm audio input, the power port which is not a micro-USB connection, you have to carry Sony’s Power Brick if you’re going on extended vacations.  And to the far right is Charge out, which allows the speaker to work as a Power Bank, and it’s able to charge your phones or other random devices with a USB cord.

Talking about all of this battery life, Sony is claiming an impressive up to 24 hours of use.  Like all my Bluetooth speakers, I left this at 50% volume, let it play over night, and  I’m averaging 15 hours and 5 minutes worth of use after several attempts.

Bluetooth 4.2 is offered and although it’s not the latest Bluetooth 5.0, range is still phenomenal.  I tested on both my Samsung S8+ and Pixel XL, got 50 linear feet with no issues.

THE LIGHT SHOW
So, right before I demo the audio test, the newest and coolest feature are of course the lights.  If you don’t like them, you can always turn them off with the compatible Sony app.  You get rave like, club scene hues of color. In addition, you get pulsating strobe lights, and all of this responds to your music.  Have slow music, the lights fade in and out, with fast music, you might actually give some folks seizures. But all seriousness, they are bright, but the strobes are not to the point it’s blinding people to death.  Within the app, unlike the JBL Pulse products where it offers you tons of customization options, you are stuck with some of Sony’s presets.  The colors do look great nonetheless, and as an example, switching to “calm magenta” gives a nice lounge effect, while “hot” gives a warmth to the room.  Overall, if you’re in the dorm room, like to have a  “fun speaker”, even value accent lighting for your place, the Sony XB40 won’t disappoint.

SOUND QUALITY
So, to the moment you have been waiting for, the audio review. Hands down, this is a great improvement over last years.  Even with Extra Bass on, that droning and raspiness is gone.  The quality of bass has improved and I very much enjoyed the listening experience for a bass-focused Bluetooth speaker.  Because of it’s lower bass levels plus the lighting, this speaker hits its target audience right on the head.  I personally like EDM, hip-hop, and pop music myself, and the speaker accentuates the beat, and those colors again, make the room pop.  The speaker really gets you in the mood to jam.

As for the mid-range, it stands out and it’s not recessed whatsoever – it’s not muddy.  It actually compliments the bass very well.  It’s clear and detailed, but I think something I was shocked to notice, the soundstage is very apparent.  You can hear vocalists in the mid-range standout in the forefront while music is slightly recessed in the back.  We’re still limited on left and right audio channels, but for a Bluetooth speaker, the XB40 does it better than most.  As for the highs, no raspiness, no tinging, no listening fatigue whatsoever.  If you were to get this speaker, it’s perfect for small to medium-sized rooms.  It does push large room territory, I’m talking about 40 linear feet of open space, but I would get two of these speakers and have them play in sync for an audio filled room.

Overall, considering how balanced the XB40 is, for a bass focused speaker, I can confidently say this speaker will be enjoyable for most people.  Even if you don’t like the extra bass, you can always turn it off. In the end, I highly recommend this speaker, I think it nails quality all around.  I am certain this will be in my Best Bluetooth Speaker Roundup coming down the road.

So that’s it for this review.  Be sure to follow me on my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  You guys take care, and I will see you on the next one.